News and Blog

UAH Rower and RCRC Assistant Coach wins Collegiate Rowing National Championship

We have amazing nationally competitive collegiate rowers here in Huntsville! UAH rowers Kevin Cardno and Irene Thorpe won gold and silver medals Memorial Day weekend at at the American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA) National Championships at Lake Lanier Olympic Park in Gainesville, GA on Sunday. This is the national championship regatta for collegiate club rowers. Over 300 entries from sixty eight colleges from New England to California rraced 2,000 meters down the course. UAH senior and RCRC junior assistant coach won the gold medal in the Mens single by 13 seconds. Irene Thorpe, UAH junior and junior assistant coach at Huntsville/Madison County Rowing and Watersports finished second more than 17 seconds ahead of the third place boat from the College of William and Mary.

Kevin’s outstanding performance in the single over the past two years has been noticed by the developmenl coaches for the U.S. Senior National Team. He has accepted an invitation to row for the summer with the New York Athletic Club (NYAC) sculling program where this largely self-coached athlete will  experience NYAC’s nationally recognized coaching staff, and the opportunity to train and race with a highly competitive group of dedicated athletes.

Congratulations Kevin, Irene, and Coach Chuck Eadon,

Go Chargers!

National Learn-to-Row Day is Saturday, June 3

Come join us on National Learn-to-Row Day on Saturday, June 3, 2017. This national event, co-sponsored by USRowing and Concept2 is a chance for the community to be introduced to the sport of rowing. Visitors can:

    – Tour the boathouse;
    – Get a crash course in indoor rowing (erging) to learn basic
        stroke mechanics;
    – Get a close look at rowing shells, oars and other support equipment;
    – Learn about programs offered by Rocket City Rowing.

The introductory rowing experience culminates in an in-the-boat rowing experience in an “eight” with an experienced coach to guide you (weather permitting).


The Rocket City Rowing youth program closed out their spring season this past weekend at the Dogwood Junior Championships at Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Drawing from 32 clubs from Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois , 2,000 junior rowers raced a schedule similar to the USRowing Youth Regional Championships that will take place in mid-May. The rowers experienced fast racing, close finishes, and lots of mud!

Saturday started out strong with men’s and women’s varsity singles making it to the Grand Finals, the Women’s Novice Double racing to a Second Place finish in their heat, and the Second Varsity quad (with a novice in bow!) racing to a close 4th to just miss out on the Final. Because afternoon racing was cancelled due to violent weather, final race results were calculated by heat times. Tinsley Copeland and Maya Van Houten (Women’s 2V 2x) were awarded silver medals in their first ever sprint race.

Sunday brought sun, mud, and even more great racing. Starting out the day with Jesse Cowart in the 2v women’s single (1x) placing second in her heats and silver medal finish in the Grand Final. The Novice Women’s quad (4x) had a heart-breaking finish, missing out on a medal by 1.1 second right at the line. The women’s lightweight double (2x) also made it to the Grand Final, the fourth race of the day for two exhausted young rowers!

At the end of the weekend RCRC Youth exceeded the expectations of their coaches After six months of hard work on and off the water, Rocket City Rowers raced against some of the fastest boats in the district region and were able to hang with them!

The Rocket City Rowing Youth Program is looking forward to a summer at the boathouse and on the river improving upon their fantastic racing skills learned this weekend!


The RCRC Youth Program participated in our first sprint regatta ot 2016 on Saturday, April 2 at Lake Hartwell in Clemson, SC at the Clemson Sprints. It was a gorgeous, breezy spring day in a beautiful venue; however, races that were pushed back to after 1:00 p.m were cancelled due to the wind. Only 2 Rocket City Juniors and Assistant Coach Kevin Cardno were able to actually compete in their races. Coach Kevin won his Men’s Open 1x race handily for a gold medal. Our guys fought hard races in tricky conditions in Open category races against collegiate-level opponents. All other Rocket City Rowers got out on the water where their races were cancelled at the start line. It was a challenging row back in the gusty winds. It was far from a fruitless trip since it provided the opportunity to take in the regatta environment, practice our rigging and loading skills and experience a new venue for Rocket City Rowing!

Our next racing opportunities are in Oak Ridge, TN at the end of April. Go Rocket City!


George Wheeler and James Robinson kicked off spring racing for Rocket City Rowing this past weekend at the Sarasota Invitational at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida. The regatta drew a large group of masters rowers from Florida and as far afield as Coeur d’Alene Idaho, Boston Massachusetts and Berlin, Germany.

Their experience and winter training paid off. Despite extremely limited water time because the Tennessee River has been at or near flood stage since mid-November, our intrepid rowers finished the regatta with 3 gold medals (Mens Masters 2x, Mixed Masters 2x, Mixed Masters 4x), a silver medal (James – Mens Masters 1x), and a bronze medal (George – Men’s Masters 1x). The mixed boat race victories were secured with strong rowing from Nashville Rowing Club masters women Lizabeth Theiss (Mixed 2x and Mixed 4x) and Kren Teren (Mixed 4x).

In a special race for military veterans, George (USMC Retired) finished 3rd but was honored with a gold medal as were all the participating veterans.

Rocket City Rowing’s next regatta will be the Clemson Sprints at Lake Hartwell, South Carolina on Saturday, April 2. Go Rocket City (and Nashville Rowing too!)


This weekend Rocket City Rowing Middle School, Junior, and Masters Program competed in the Tennessee Indoor Rowing Championships at UT-Chattanooga.

This event traditionally marks the end of winter training season and there were many, many personal best times in 2000m, 1000m, and 500m events. And there were medals! James Robinson and Mary D’Agostino both received bronze medals in the Veteran Masters 2000m event, Claire Mosely captured silver in the Women’s 14 year old 2000m, and our middle school rowers raced 1000m for a gold and 2 bronze medals for Anna White (gold), Marlie Thompson (bronze), and Thomas Riley (bronze).

With the end of winter training comes spring Rowing. The first spring practice is Saturday, Feb 13 preparing for the Clemson Sprints April 2.


Several RCRC rowers and assistant coaches had a little lagniappe of fall rowing at Head of the South Regatta on the Savannah River in Augusta, GA this past weekend bringing home 2 gold medals, a silver medal and 2 bronze medals. Assistant Coach Kevin Cardnorowing for UAH rowed for gold in the championship 1x and had the fastest time of the day on the course for all boat classes. Assistant coach Logan McEwan joined Kevin in the Championship 2x to best the field again. Jessie Cowart and Claire Mosely placed 2nd and 3rd respectively in the Womens Junior Novice 1x and Titus Thompson placed 3rd in the Men’s Junior Novice 1x.


Rocket City Rowing sent 19 of the 2,009 boats that participated in the 2015 Head of the Hooch Regatta, the second largest regatta in the United States November 7-8 in Chattanooga TN. Competing in large fields with nationally competitive crews from around the United States, Diane Winters received a silver medal in the Women’s Lightweight Masters 1x and assistant coaches Logan McEwen andKevin Cardno received a bronze in a composite Men’s Open 4x. Other top 5 finishes include the mixed masters 2x crew of James Robinson and Elizabeth Theiss (Nashville Rowing Club) and the Women’s Masters 4+ with top half finishing boats in the Women’s Masters 4x and, Men’s Masters 2x.

Our youth crews gained much needed racing experience in sometimes challenging conditions. Novice rowers stepped up to row in varsity races in the Women’s Youth 4x and Mixed Youth 8+. The Mixed 8+ had an especially fierce finish.

Seven Rocket City rowers including 2 of our most recent adult Learn-to-Row graduates, had the once-in-a-lifetime experience of rowing in a 24-person sculling boat, the Stampfli Express which is touring major regattas in the eastern United States this fall. On Saturday and Sunday what was expected to be leisurely cruise up and down the Tennessee River turned into an actual race down the course with ratings up to 32 strokes per minute, truly astonishing considering that no one in the boat had trained together as a crew.

With the conclusion of fall 2015 team racing, masters, youth, and middle school rowers will retire to the boathouse for winter training to lay in the fitness and mental discipline needed for the spring sprint race season that starts in March 2016.


RCRC youth programs competed in 10 events at the Secret City Head Race in Oak Ridge, TN this weekend and put in respectable performances. Since competitors have to row up to the start from the finish line, the 10,000 meters of rowing to complete the 5,000 meter race was the longest single stretch of rowing the novice rowers have done since they started rowing this summer. Some of them did it more than once! This regatta also was the debut race for the RCRC Middle School program. They rowed a competitive race on shortened course against boats from Atomic Rowing (Oak Ridge, TN) and Asheville Youth Rowing (Asheville, NC), demonstrating a lot of promise for the future. Congratulations to our rowers and coaches!


It was medals all around for Rocket City Rowing Masters at our inaugural head race of the fall season, 2 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze medal which gave Rocket City Rowing 3rd place in club team points for the regatta.

George Wheeler started off racing for RCRC in the mens veterans 1x with a silver medal. The women’s 4+ crew of Elysa Jones, Peggy Collins, Diane Winters, and Betsy Bock with coxswain Carla Bossard had a solid row on an optimal course to win the Masters Women 4+ on the fastest scratch (un-handicapped) time over boats with much younger crews and promptly hot-seated the entire crew for the Master’s Womens 4x. In a test of competitive technique and fitness, the RCRC boat placed third with a scratch time 1 minutes 15 seconds off the winning time. That is over 20,000 meters of rowing inside of three hours

James Robinson with his Nashville Rowing partner Elizabeth Theiss had the fastest scratch time in the mixed masters 2x, winning silver. To round out the medals for RCRC, RCRC masters men won gold and silver in the Mens 2x. George Wheeler and James Robinson rowed to gold in a strong performance followed by the newly formed men’s 2x crew of Joe Della Silva and Alex Rutberg with silver. Both RCRC crews triumphed over much, much younger teams from the University of Georgia, University of the South and East Tennessee Rowing.

Kevin Cardno, RCRC assistant junior coach, rowing for UAH won gold in the Championship 1x with a margin of 11 seconds over an Atlanta Rowing Club boat.

It looks like “Go Rocket City” paid off!