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

“Learning to row has given me:
  • 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.
In short, rowing with RBC builds a community of rowers who treat each other with respect, appreciation and support. It improves individual health by reducing stress hormones, improving cardiovascular functioning, increasing stamina — all of which can lead to improved mental function. Finally, connecting with nature in the context of rowing provides an opportunity to further reduce stress and anxiety, support a healthy appreciation of nature and potentially an understanding of our connection to natural systems.
At the age of 62 I don’t feel old, but my body is beginning to have other ideas. That I can do so much toward having a healthy and productive life as I age, simply by rowing, is the best possible return on the time and money invested. Furthermore, this is a sport I can participate in and benefit from, until I can no longer creak my bones into a boat. Rowing, with RBC in particular with its emphasis on rowing AND creating community is a godsend.” 

–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.”
–Nicky Harding

“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.”

–Tanya Baker

“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.”