Rose City Rowing Club rents 4,400 square feet of the Portland Boathouse for equipment storage and showers, but that’s not where the heart of its business takes place. On the Willamette River, middle- and high-school rowers soak in the sights and move in synchronicity, timing each catch and drive as their narrow boats glide across the water.
Team manager Lynn Walton emphasizes that the focus is on the team, not just an array of star players. “If you sign up to row with us, you row as many days as you want, and you race in every event you go to. We don’t have cuts.” Throughout the season, athletes’ participation in the low-impact, high-intensity aerobic sport helps to boost strength, endurance, balance, and coordination. Oarsmen and oarswomen broaden their social networks by befriending their teammates, who may be from different schools, districts, or positions on the paper v. plastic debate.
Walton says rowing is a great way to boost admission potential in high school; college teams are growing and continuing to expand their athletic rosters, scouting and offering scholarships that can especially benefit female candidates who show interest and potential. One of the best parts of rowing is it can build healthy habits to last a lifetime. “When we go to regattas, there are people who are 85 years old who are rowing and racing still, and they started rowing in college, back in the 1940s,” she says.