Rowing is the single oldest intercollegiate sport, the first Harvard-Yale regatta being contested in 1852, the Crimson besting the Bulldogs by two lengths in as many miles.
Rowing is one of the most physically taxing sports around. Kiwi Pair all-star Eric Murray was ranked by Men’s Health as the #7 most fit athlete in the world, ahead of such modern legends as LeBron James, JJ Watt, Rafael Nadal, Blake Griffin, and Michael Phelps.
Rowing is one of the original sports in the modern Olympics, and the organizer of the very first, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, was a rower himself. The USA Olympic Rowing Team has training centers in Princeton, NJ, Oklahoma City, OK, and Chula Vista, CA as they select the third-highest Olympic delegation of any sport (48 athletes). The US Women haven’t lost a world title 8+ race since 2006, including 2 Olympic titles.
Rowing captures five key traits, among others: Harmony, Balance, Rhythm, Power, and Endurance.
While rowing may look effortless and almost weightless, those who know the sport well know that the rower is working all that much harder to keep the appearance as such. Rowing builds character unlike any other sport. In rowing, ego must be put aside for the greater good of the boat. In rowing, discipline and mental toughness are at a premium, preparing rowers for disproportionately successful academic and professional lives beyond the water. In rowing, strength is just as necessary as endurance, and vice-versa.
Rowing is the panacea for “I quit”. Racing is the difference between “casual” and “I play to win”. CYRA is the difference between “good enough” and “I can do better”. CYRA is the difference between “I came to race” and “I play for keeps”.
Rowing is an Incredible Physical Activity
1. Rowing combines a full-body fitness sport with a recreational activity, offering a complete physical and mental conditioning program all in one.
2. Rowing requires a minimum of skills to achieve, (you can learn to row in one afternoon), yet will remain a challenge throughout the years as you continue to improve.
3. People of all ages, sizes, and physical limitations can learn to row and achieve a level of accomplishment that is both physically beneficial and personally rewarding. Rowing puts you in a unique and refreshing atmosphere – far from the madding crowd – one that stimulates your senses while challenging your efforts.
4. You’ll come to find that rowing never encourages boredom; that you’ll actually look forward to your next row, whether it’s to workout or work less. The fascinating sport of rowing, simply put, is a fun way to stay fit.
5. Athletes injured in other sports can find a home where they can continue to compete or work out safely. More than one football player, jogger, or tennis player has found a happy home in a boat. Rowers can continue to participate – including in competition – well into their 90′s, and among women over 50, rowing is one of the fastest growing sports.
Values, Role Models, and the Bigger Picture
Many people like the fact that rowing strengthens a sense of duty and obligation to the team that is not as fully developed in other activities. An eight-oared crew can only go out if all eight rowers and the coxswain show up on time. Rowing reinforces the value of teamwork over an extended period for a common objective and teaches the values of deferred gratification, and mental toughness. It teaches people (young and old) to go beyond self imposed limits.
Competitive rowing demands the ultimate level of discipline, focus and teamwork from each individual. An endurance-based sport, rowing does more than improve your body, it enhances your spirit. In his speech at the annual Yale-Harvard regatta luncheon in June 2008, Tom Weil had this to say about the nature of rowing and why we row: “rowing is, in its essence, pure work . . . . if what you enjoy about a sport is the work that it takes to excel in it, and the disciplines and virtues that attach to that sort of activity, and how it is, more than almost any other sport, the ideal training for life, you cannot beat rowing."
Rowing is a rapidly growing sport in the United States.
Most evident in high school and collegiate women’s rowing. NCAA rules allow for 20 scholarships within Division I or II varsity women’s program. This is the highest scholarship count per women’s sport. There are over 180 university rowing programs in the United States. Masters, club and junior rowing is expanding across the country. Over 80 high school/junior programs exist in the Midwest alone.