What is Rocket City Rowing Crew (RCRC)?

RCRC is a non-profit rowing club. We provide the opportunity to row for anyone interested in rowing from grade 6 on up. Our programs include youth and adult learn to row, youth competitive teams, and masters memberships. In addition, members can pay a rack fee to keep their boat in the community bay. All fees are used to provide safe facilities, quality rowing equipment, and excellent coaching.

What is rowing?

Rowing is one of the original Olympic sports of the modern games. Crews of between one and eight rowers compete in a variety of events, with the large eight boats drawing the largest crowds.

Who can row?

Anyone can row! Rowing is a lifelong sport and can be learned at any age. Any member of the community is welcome to sign up for one of our sessions. Scholastic age rowers typically don’t begin rowing until 9th grade. Adults can begin rowing (and competing) at any age. Our masters range from former competitive high school/collegiate rowers to parents of former RCRC junior rowers.

  • For juniors, we offer learn to row camps, middle school teams, high school novice (first year) and varsity competitive teams. Our young rowers look forward to racing and enjoy competing. Competition helps provide structure and focus to training. RCRC has a no cut policy, and all junior rowers can participate in some capacity.
  • For adults (masters), we offer learn to row, coached recreational and competitive rowing. Many of our members compete, have competed, or train daily as if they were planning on competing. Others row in singles for fitness. Club boats are available at no cost for adult members who qualify to sign out and row on their own.
Is rowing a team sport?

Rowing is a regarded by many as the ultimate team sport. While there are individual events, the vast majority of rowers, especially at the junior level, row in large team boats. Teamwork is critical for a large boat’s success. Rowers must row together with the same timing and power to each stroke. A rower who stands out will make the boat slower and more difficult to steer. A crew is composed of individuals who sacrifice their personal goals for the team. Winning teammates successfully match their desire, talent and bladework with one another. It’s no accident that inspirational posters for teamwork often feature images of rowers.

Can I try rowing sometime?

Sure, check the Learn-to-Row page on this website for more information about learning to row.

Is rowing expensive?

Somewhat. Rowing is an expensive sport with costs similar to those of horseback riding, skiing, and ice hockey. Equipment and coaching costs are high. For example, the large eight boats, which are the most common boat for juniors, cost upwards of $30,000. Given the high interest in rowing at RCRC, we need a lot of boats and launches to get as many people on the water as possible. Costs are incurred for regattas with fees charged for rowers that include: hotel, food, transportation, entrance fees, and coaching. RCRC offers financial assistance for the youth programs to make the sport as accessible as possible.

Is RCRC a for-profit organization?

We are a non-profit organization. As a rowing club, we incur a lot of expenses, particularly for our juniors programs. Our program fees do not cover costs fully. We conduct fundraising throughout the year to cover additional costs such as scholarships, coaching, insurance, and equipment.

What does RCRC bring to the North Alabama community?

RCRC promotes the sport of rowing in the North Alabama community. Rowing provides many benefits to the community beyond outreach including

  • Opportunity: CBC provides many opportunities for community members of all ages and skill levels to learn a new sport. We are not simply a youth sports league. In 2016, we had more than 50 members of the public show up to row at National Learn to Row Day. For adult learn to row, we had 57 registrations. For our youth camps, we had 30. Our middle school or modified program is extremely popular and frequently sells out. ●

College: Rowing is an intercollegiate sport. At a minimum, colleges look favorably on rowing as an extracurricular activity. RCRC youth rowers have gone on to row for many fine universities including the Massachussetts Institute of Technology, Brown University, University of Tennessee, University of Alabama, the University of Rhode Island and the Florida Institute of Technology among others.

● Intergenerational: Rowing is one of the few sports that is intergenerational. Masters members range from high school graduates to well into their eighties. Masters are excellent role models and mentor youth rowers and coaches, helping on and off the water. The club would not exist without our dedicated masters, some of whom learned to row after witnessing their children row. This represents a unique benefit to the community. It keeps older people involved and active with a scholastic program long after their kids are grown.

Someone told me that rowing was dangerous, is that true?

No. Rowing is very safe compared to most other sports. However, like all sports, rowing has some inherent risks. Due to the high physical demands of the sport, overuse injuries are the main concern with rowing. Through the use of proper technique and treating injuries promptly, these injuries can be either avoided or overcome with no lasting impact in most cases.

US Rowing, the sport’s governing body in this country, has extensive guidelines that all member clubs, including RCRC, must follow to ensure that rowing is a safe and enjoyable sport. Guidelines include swim test requirements, coaching training, minimum equipment requirements, and much more. US Rowing does not have any instance where a youth rower anywhere in the United States has died rowing. Rowing is enjoyed on waterways throughout the United States. We run background checks on our coaches