The reputation of Oklahoma City as a world-class venue for rowing, canoeing and kayaking is spreading across the globe.

Two weeks ago, Michelle Sechser of Oklahoma City was in Italy to train with one of the best sculling coaches in the world when she was approached by members of the Italian rowing team.

They wanted to know more about the Devon Boathouse and World Rowing Challenge this fall on the Oklahoma River.

"International athletes know about the Devon Boathouse and Oklahoma City," Sechser said. "That's awesome."

Sechser showed the Italians some photos of the $10 million Devon Boathouse. Then they understood why there is so much buzz around Oklahoma City in the world of rowing.

The Devon Boathouse on the Oklahoma River is home to the Oklahoma City National High Performance Center and is considered to have the finest facilities in the world for rowing.

It contains a 10,000 square-foot strength and conditioning facility, the world's first dynamic propulsion indoor rowing tank, a pool for training and rehabilitation and state-of-the-art equipment.

The Oklahoma River in the Boathouse District was designated in July 2009 as a U.S. Olympic and Paralympic training site.

Sechser, a native Californian who rowed for the University of Tulsa, was one of the first athletes to make Oklahoma City her permanent home because of the Boathouse District on the Oklahoma River.

She is now one of 55 athletes who have moved to Oklahoma City in the last two years to pursue their Olympic dreams in rowing, canoeing or kayaking.

"There has yet to be a person who has come here that hasn't been amazed by the boathouse and the facilities and the support of the community," Sechser said. "This place could not disappoint anyone."