What Our Rowers Say About Us & About ROWING!
“Huge thanks to you and all the others who showed up to make sure we got boats in and out of the water, and generally cheered us on. I have never seen an organization that is so supportive of newbies. You could teach a lot of other organizations a thing or two.”
–Beverly Brown, Ph.D., HTR
- an entirely new set of friends and support
- the opportunity to improve my physical condition — build strength, tone muscles
- a chance to use my entire body without damaging my knees or other body parts
- motivation and excitement — something to look forward to and to share with my family and friends
- a great reason to spend time on the water, connecting with nature
- a fun way to improve my ability to focus
- a better night’s sleep.
–Beverly Brown, Ph.D., HTR
“I’m writing this email to highlight the enormous difference RBC has made in my life. The club is in equal parts fun and inspiring. It has significantly enriched my life by introducing me to a hobby (rowing) that I’m now passionate about. My teammates, and the coaching staff at RBC, have inspired me to improve my fitness and get into the best physical shape I’ve been in since I was sixteen. I treasure every minute I spend with my teammates on the water, and off it. I congratulate the board and the coaching staff at RBC for creating an organization with a wonderful sense of community, a shared passion, and a commitment towards continuous improvement.” –Ravi Mantena
“In late December of 2017, I received an email from a colleague about “Learn to Row”. Since I’d watched both my children row while they were in high school, I thought I’d give it a try. After my first class, I was hooked. While I imagine there are many opportunities in our community for adults to start a new sport, this has been life-changing! And it is not only the rowing experience, but the teaching and support that RBC has provided. I have learned so much and grown so much. The coaches are enthusiastic, available and they know their stuff! The coxswains support us on the water and are there to answer any questions. The entire operation is very professional and organized. We have opportunities to come together as a group and engage in community events such as regattas and fund raisers. I am so proud to be part of RBC!” –Amy Lyons
“Rowing in a word is strength.
Strength in my character as an individual rower
Strength of foundation and building a better boat
Strength in relationships: with the boat and the people in it
Strength of focus and commitment to each row
Strength of celebrating one another
Strength of movement: to achieve synchronicity in our bodies
Strength in numbers as we row all 8
Strength of support: especially during times of stress
In all aspects of rowing, I seek and find strength.”
“No one – EVER – in my life called me an athlete, or described me as athletic. Lazy – yes, a klutz – yes, but never “sporty” or fit.
In October of 2017, a work friend asked me to accompany her to an Introduction to Rowing session hosted by the Rochester Boat Club (“RBC”) through the Perinton Recreation Center. I begrudgingly agreed to go. I never played sports in school, and up until then, the only “hobby” I had was napping, which warranted me the nickname of “Koala.” As a result of my sustained inactivity, I was overweight and very out of shape, so I fully expected to be carted out of the rowing class by ambulance. Instead, and to my sheer amazement, I was swept away by the sport!
I immediately signed up for indoor lessons twice a week, and have been hooked ever since. As of the date of this letter, I have lost 24 pounds, and more importantly feel strong and energetic. Now that the canal is open, I row on the water 3 times a week, and even get up early on the weekend for a morning lesson instead of opting to sleep more in bed. My old unhealthy habits are gone.
Besides my own personal physical achievements, I feel equally as lucky to now be acquainted with the great people at RBC. First, the RBC coaches are wonderful, and their passion for the sport is evident in their teachings. Their instruction helped an uncoordinated person like me understand and execute this highly technical sport. The coaches motivate you to push past your self-imposed limits and see your full potential. For example, I started the lessons with only a recreational rowing objective in mind, and then switched to training to make the novice race team. Second, I adore my fellow RBC rowers. The RBC membership is highly collegial and supportive. I have made some meaningful new friendships, which just make the rowing lessons all the more enjoyable. Third, the RBC Board has been welcoming and inclusive, and strives to make sure that the rowing experience fits each person’s individualized needs. There is no pressure to race, and the recreational rowers are afforded equal attention and consideration. I think that the wide spectrum of RBC participants, as well as its overall culture, makes it a unique club deserving of support in its improvement/expansion plans.
This past Memorial Day weekend my race team boat competed in a regatta – my first formal competitive endeavor. This is a feat that never before entered my mind. My transformation is so shocking that at times I do not recognize myself. What I am now is proud to call myself an RBC Rower!”
-Leslie E. Swift
“Rochester Boat Club has changed my life physically, mentally, emotionally, and has given me the confidence I have always wanted.
Fifteen years ago I became a single mother. Feeling lonely and defeated, I got involved with a gentleman who abused me for the next 8 years. During this time, any confidence I had (which wasn’t much) was decimated by him. Once I came to the realization that I was better than the situation I was in, I decided to make changes. I spent a year single and then met my current husband, who is the first person who helped me feel good about myself and the love of my life.
A year after we met, I began having pain in my right hip, later to find out that I needed a full replacement. Soon after having the surgery, I began having pain in my left hip. Needless to say, within a 3 year period I went from pain free to having both hips replaced. During that time I did my best to stay active, but that was not always possible. I put on over 35 pounds by the end of the second surgery and felt awful about myself. I felt fat and old.
Meanwhile, my daughter was on her high school crew team. I absolutely loved watching her and crew in general. It is one of the most beautiful sports I had ever seen. At one of her regattas, as I was “walking” around (with my cane), I saw some ladies my age rowing and wondered where they had gotten involved. After inquiring, I told my husband, with great excitement, “I will do that someday”…
And I did. For the first time ever, I signed up, walked into a practice, 35 pounds overweight, unathletic, knowing no one, and began a brand new sport.
It has been a full year since that first practice and I can’t begin to express my complete passion for this sport. You see, it is not only a passion for rowing in general, but a passion for the people, the coaches, the togetherness, the exercise, the racing, and the team that I now belong to. I feel like I am a part of something and it’s something great!
In this year of rowing, I have lost 30 pounds. Losing that weight was the final step that gave me the self-confidence I had always been striving for in life. It helped me become healthy along with making me strong, both physically, mentally and emotionally. My cholesterol and blood pressure both went down, I lost inches and gained muscle, and for the first time ever, I can say that I am an athlete.”
“Rowing is the combination of team cohesiveness, precision, and athleticism.”
“It is emotionally calming while deeply invigorating.”
“I love being outdoors, leaving my phone behind, and not feeling guilty about it.”
“You don’t have to begin young. Rowing can be enjoyed for a lifetime.”
“Physically I am healthier, my head has cleared, and my engagement in life has deepened.”
“Rowing provided a place to go, a community where people cared about what I did and what I achieved.”
Rochester Boat Club is delighted to have the following coaches on staff:
The following volunteers are dedicated to the Mission and Vision of Rochester Boat Club, serving on the Board of Directors—each in multiple capacities as shown below:
- Anita Kealey
- Coxswain Co-Coordinator, Intake Coordinator, DRC
- Frances Grossman
- Intake Coordinator
- Jean Lourette
- Co-founder, Co-president, Newsletter
- Rich Lourette
- Co-founder, Website/Registration/Boathouse support
- Alix Quinn
- Treasurer, Scholarship Coordinator, Head DRC
- Michael Raith
- Club Secretary, Chair of Events & Hospitality, C2 Captain, DRC
- Andy Roberts
- Chair of Website
- Harry Stanton
- Chair of Boathouse and Equipment, Chair of Boathouse Usage
- Leslie Swift
- Chair of Grants and Fundraising, Interim Chair of Promo, DRC
- Jenn Turney
- Co-president, Chair of Registration, Chair of Rowing Program Support, DRC
- Lisa Wiborg
- Vice President, Regatta Chair, Special Events Chair, Rower Liaison, DRC
Our Code of Conduct
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- is how the boat is outfitted, including all of the apparatuses (oars, outriggers, oarlocks, sliding seats, etcetera) attached to a boat that allow the rower to propel the boat through the water. The term comes from an Old English wrigan or wrihan, which means “to clothe.” It literally means to outfit or clothe a boat. Rigging also refers to the configuration of the boat and settings of the apparatuses. The following terms are often associated with a boat’s rigging, along with other often used terms for equipment used in rowing.
- The inside of a double scull. Shows the seat, slides, backstops, footplate, shoes and riggers.
- A brace which is part of the rigger of sweep rowing boats, which extends toward the bow from the top of the pin.
- The stop mechanism on the seat slides which prevents the rower’s seat from falling off the sliding tracks at the back end (towards the boat’s bow) of the slide tracks. Also, in the UK, the sliding seat position closest to the boat’s bow. As a command, it instructs the crew to adopt this position. (The US calls this seat position the “back end”).
- The spoon or hatchet/cleaver shaped end of the oar. Also used to refer to the entire oar.
- Bowloader/ bowcox / bow steered
- A shell in which the coxswain seat is near the bow of the boat rather than its stern. The seat in a bow loader partially enclosed and is designed so that the coxswain is virtually lying down, in order to reduce wind resistance and distribute coxswains weight so as to create a lower center of gravity.
- The front section of a shell; the first section of the shell to cross the finish line.
- Bow ball
- A small, soft ball no smaller than 4 cm diameter securely attached to a rowing or sculling boat’s bow. Primarily intended for safety, but also used in deciding which boat crossed the finish line first in very close races.
- Bow number
- A card displaying the lane number assigned to the boat for a race.
- Bow/Starboard rigged
- The person stroking the boat has their oar on the Bowside (Starboard or right side) rather than the typical Strokeside of the boat. (ex: “The Barge” is starboard rigged)
- The deck of the bow and stern of the boat, which were traditionally covered with canvas.
- Cleaver blade
- Modern oar blades that have a more rectangular hatchet-shape. (also hatchet blade)
- Collar / Button
- A wide plastic ring placed around the sleeve of an oar. The button stops the oar from slipping through the oarlock.
- Cox Box
- Portable voice amplifier; may also optionally incorporate digital readouts displaying stroke rate, boat speed and times.
- A portable amplification device, similar to a coxbox, incorporating a digital readout. Higher models may also have a built in radio and speed sensor.
- Ergometer (also ergo or erg)
- An indoor rowing machine.
- Foot stretcher
- An adjustable footplate, to which a pair of shoes is typically attached, which allows the rower to easily adjust his or her physical position relative to the slide and the oarlock. The footplate can be moved (or “stretched”) either closer to or farther away from the slide frontstops. (also “Footplate”, “Footchock”, or “Footstop”)
- The stop mechanism on the seat slides which prevents the rower’s seat from falling off the sliding tracks at the front end (towards the boat’s stern) of the slide tracks. Also, in the UK, the sliding seat position closest to the boat’s stern. As a command, it instructs the crew to adopt this position. (The US calls this seat position the “front end”)
- Bar across the top of oarlock, secured with a nut, which prevents the oar from coming out of the oarlock. Also historically used to refer to the oarlock or rowlock.
- (pronounced: gunnels) The top rail of the shell (also called Saxboard)
- The part of the oar that the rowers hold and pull with during the stroke.
- Hatchet blade
- Modern oar blades that have a more rectangular hatchet-shape and which are not symmetrical. (also cleaver blade)
- “Ahead” or “Look Ahead”
- Command shouted by a crew about to be overtaken by another crew, telling the overtaking crew of their presence.
- “(#) tap it” or “(#) row on”
- Tells the rowers to row until told to stop –e.g. “Two, hit it…”
- “Back it”
- To have the rowers place their blades at the release position, squared, and push the oar handle towards the stern of the boat. This motion causes the shell to move backwards.
- “Blades Down”
- Used to tell the rowers to place their blades back on the water after performing an easy-all.
- “Blades in (side)”
- Tell the rowers on one side to pull their blades in, in order to prevent hitting an object or another boat in the water, or to let another crew pass on a narrow river.
- “Check it/her down”
- Square the oars in the water to stop the boat.
- “Count Down” (or “number off”)
- Tells the crew to call out their seat number, starting at the bow, when ready to row.
- In a crew, the coxswain /ˈkɒksən/ (or simply the cox) is the member who sits in the stern (except in bowloaders) facing the bow, steers the boat, and coordinates the power and rhythm of the rowers.
- “Down on port/starboard”
- Means that the boat is leaning to one side or the other. Rowers on the side that is down must raise their hands, and the other side must lower their hands.
- “Easy” (or “ease up”)
- To stop rowing hard.
- “Even pressure”
- This command tells the rowers to pull with even pressure on both sides. This is the complement to ease-up.
- “Firm up”
- Tells the rowers to apply more pressure as needed.
- “power ten”
- Commands the crew to row 10 strokes of special effort. It is frequently given when a crew is attempting to pass another boat.
- “Gunnel it!”
- A command by the coxswain, where the rowers all hit the gunwhales (sides) of the boat with their oar handles. Used in set exercises occasionally.
- “Hands in”
- Tells the rowers to grab the ribs on the inside of the boat so that the boat can be rolled from heads. The coach or cox uses this command when the crew is putting the shell in the water.
- “Hands on”
- Tells the rowers to grab the boat next to their seats, so that the boat can be moved.
- “Hands on the dock” (or “ready to shove”)
- Tells the rowers to grab the dock in preparation for shoving off.
- “Hard on port/starboard” (or “port/starboard pressure”)
- The rowers on that side of the boat must row harder (and the opposite side must row slightly easier) in order to facilitate a sharper turn.
- “Heads” or “Heads Up”
- Off the water, a shout to alert others to watch out for a boat being carried.
- “Up and over heads, and up”
- Tells the rowers to press the boat above their heads.
- “Hold Water”
- Emergency stop, also used after the command way enough. It instructs the rowers to square their blades in the water to stop the boat.
- “In 2…”
- Most water commands are appended prior to the command to take place after two strokes. For example “In 2, Power 10” or “In 2, Weigh-enough.”
- “Inside Grip”
- A command used when lifting the boat. Grab the boat so that you can lift it over your head. Grab only the gunwale or hull structure – do not lift by the footstop assembly.
- “Hands on”
- Command given telling the athletes to go to their stations and grab a hold of the boat.
- “Let it/her run”
- To stop rowing after a given piece of on the water rowing length, but to put the handles of the oars either to the gunwales or out in front of the rower, in such a manner that the oar paddles are parallel to the water yet not touching it. This allows the boat to glide for a distance leaving no paddle wake in the water. Similar, but not exactly the same is the command “Gunnel”, where rowers push the oars until the handle touches the boat’s gunwale.
- Tells a crew to row with just enough pressure to move the boat. The paddle command is also used to bring a crew down from full pressure at the end of a workout piece or race.
- “Pick it / Picking”
- A rapid stroke where rowers use only their arms and use minimal pressure. An effective and impressive way to turn a boat when done right.
- “Power 10”
- The command to take 10 strokes at more than full pressure. Used for passing and gaining water in a race. (sometimes “Power 5”, “Power 20”, or “Power 30”)
- “Ready all, Row”
- Begin rowing.
- “Roll it”
- Tells the crew to flip the boat over, in unison, from above their heads.
- “Set it up”
- Reminds the rowers to keep the boat on keel.
- “Set ready”
- Commands the crew to move to the catch blades buried, and be ready to start the race.
- A command and a part of the race. This tells the rowers that the crew is going to bring the stroke rate down for the body of the race, but still maintain the pressure. This usually occurs in the middle of the race.
- “Shoulders, ready, up”
- Tells the crew to lift the boat from any position below their shoulders, up to shoulder height. Can be reversed to lower the boat from heads to shoulders, i.e., “Shoulders, ready, down!” This is the best position for carrying a shell.
- “Sit in”
- Tells the crew to get into the boat.
- A command used if the stern is held by a stake boat. “Port scull” usually means Two seat takes Bow’s oar in front of him/her and rows lightly with it. Likewise, “Starboard scull” means Three seat takes Two seat’s oar and does the same. This is easier than having one seat take a stroke since it can move the boat in a more parallel direction.
- “Swing it”
- A command used when carrying a boat to start turning either bow or stern.
- “Take the run off”
- To stop rowing and hold the blades at a 45 degree angle in the water to slow the boat down.
- “Touch it / Touching”
- A stroke where rowers use only their arms and back. Used mostly for warm-up or to turn a boat.
- “One foot up & out”
- The command for exiting a team boat.
- “On the square”
- To row without feathering the blades on the recovery.
- “Waist, ready, up”
- Tells the crew to lift the shell to their waist.
- “Watch your blades (side)”
- Tells one side to look out at their blades, and take action to prevent them possibly hitting something.
- “Way enough”
- The command to stop rowing or, in some cases, whatever the rower is doing, whether it be walking with the boat overhead or rowing. (“Way” is a nautical term for the movement of a boat through water (as in headway and right-of-way). So the command “way enough”, literally means to enough moving the boat). Often pronounced way-nuf, wane-up or wane-off in the United States.
A full water bottle. There’s a place for your car keys in the boathouse, which will be locked while we are on the water.
Once you are assigned a seat, you are committed to row. We understand that things come up, however, so if you see yourself “boated” (assigned to a seat) but can’t make it, get in touch ASAP with the coach of the day or the DRC (Daily Row Coordinator)–both are listed on the Google doc. The Google doc’s Roster tab gives contact info. Texting is best.
Your coach will assign seats before the row, so that everyone can see the line-ups. If you feel more confident rowing port or starboard, please indicate your preference on the Google doc in the “P/S” column. But don’t get too attached – the best rowers are equally comfortable on either side, so the coach will encourage you to try both sides.
Plan to row, but check the Google doc before you head out. In the event of a torrential downpour, high winds, or thunderstorm, practice may be canceled or moved to the indoor rowing center (coach’s call).
Dress for the weather, in breathable layers (but nothing baggy). There will be frequent breaks to shed clothing. Wear socks (wool socks are great in the cold/wet weather); your shoes will be removed and placed in the boat in front of your seat. Sunscreen is always a good idea, along with a hat or sunglasses.
It is up to the coach to determine the appropriate level for each rower. Please feel free to contact your coach directly or check at the end of the session. He or she will gladly let you know, and explain what is needed to advance, if necessary.
A make-up may be possible. Will try our best to fit you in. Simply add your name to the Make-up/SRows column on the day on which you wish to make up your row. After your name, list “sw” if you are a sweep rower, “sc” if you’re a sculler, or “*” if you’re happy to sweep or scull–wherever there’s room. Also, please list the date of the missed row you are attempting to make up.
If there is room for you, you’ll be boated (if it’s the On-the-Water season), and if it’s the indoor season, your name will be shaded in green to indicate that.
If you’re unable to make up your missed row by the end of session, you can request a receipt for the value of your missed rows, which become a charitable contribution (tax-deductible), as RBC is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
NOTE: For any rows RBC cancels (such as for inclement weather)–if you’re unable to make them up–we will issue a rowing credit that extends past the current session.
You can purchase a “Single Row” online on our Programs page. Scroll down past the class offerings for the current session. Once you’ve registered, you’ll need to sign up on the Google doc, to request that row on a particular day, and if space allows, you’ll be able to attend the extra class. Contact the Registration Team with any questions. Registrations@rochesterboatclub.org.
In the on-the-water season, you may also be able to sub (and subbing is free)!
In the off season we row indoors at the Pittsford Indoor Rowing Center (the PIRC) at 2800 Clover Street, Pittsford, near Lock 32. When leaving, please make sure only one car is waiting at the top of the hill to exit. Please make only a right turn onto Clover Street.
Dress in layers (but nothing baggy). There will be frequent breaks to shed clothing. Wear comfortable sneakers. The PIRC can be cold at first, but once you’re rowing you will probably want to have a light shirt/t-shirt on.