Starting Up


So perhaps you were blown away by rowing scenes in The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. Maybe you live near a river or a lake, and you see rowers on your morning commute. You might have watched rowing during the London Olympics (the US Women’s 8+ is a serial gold medal winner). Does your high school, college, or university offer rowing? Or, could it be that this sport is just something that “you’ve always wanted to do”? Get to it!

If you are a student, your road to rowing could be pretty smooth. Many schools on the East and West coasts have rowing clubs, and nearly all colleges have at least club--if not, varsity--rowing. For high school rowers, there are also some regional or city-wide youth teams out there that bring together students from local high schools.

If you are out of school, there are more than 1,300 clubs in the United States. Finding a USRowing member clubs is a good start. These clubs adhere to standards that keep the sport fair, safe, and fun. (If you are looking outside of the U.S., your national rowing organization might have a similar list.) Many rowing clubs have “learn to row” classes in the summertime to teach you the basics.

No club near you? Don’t despair! A rowing camp might be a good way to start until you find local options. Camps are located around the U.S., are taught by rowers and coaches with amazing credentials, and can get you comfortable in a rowing shell after 3-7 (very intense) days on the water. This can be a great start for high school students as well as non-student rowers. While there are a lot camps for high school students, there are also a few that well-known for teaching "masters rowers" (ages 27+). A few of my favs:

Craftsbury Outdoor Center sculling camps: Located in Vermont’s Northern Kingdom (read: stunning beauty everywhere), Craftsbury is the granddaddy of sculling camps.

The Florida Rowing Center: Here’s where most of my Minneapolis teammates go in winter—with good reason. While the rest of us are trying to make due with cross-country skiing or indoor rowing, happy campers at this camp are out on water that’s not frozen!

Calm Waters Rowing: Located in beautiful northern Virginia within striking distance of D.C., Williamsburg, and Richmond, the owners have more than 70 years of combined experience. ‘Nuff said.

So get started! Head on out and find your rowing tribe!