Learn to Row Day

Learn to Row - Rivanna RowingLooking for exercise? Love the outdoors? Want to go fast?

Please come to our FREE open house (coffee & refreshments provided)!

  • 2018 Learn to Row Day (FREE) Saturday May 12, 2018, (now scheduled for 9am and 11am)

Come see our fleet of boats – from sculling boats for a single rower to sweep boats for eight. Club members will show you the boathouse, teach the stroke (on rowing machines), then give you the chance to row our stable, 16-person training barge. We practice and race on the beautiful South Fork Rivanna Reservoir.

No experience is necessary; open to anyone 13 and older.

Here are a list of directions to the boathouse at 276 Woodlands Road, or click here for directions from your current location.

Ready, row!

For more than 25 years, the Rivanna Rowing Club has offered summer rowing programs for people of all ages and skill-levels. Some do it as an activity, some for fitness, and others for the sport (check out photos from 2017 competitions). 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can anyone learn to row?

Yup, pretty much anyone who is in decent physical shape and who wants to get in better shape. Rowing is a great total-body cardiovascular and strength exercise: it is low-impact (easier on your knees), is anti-gravity (strengthens bones, joints, muscles of your legs, core, and arms), and can be done indoors or outdoors. That’s why rowing is for life!

What should I wear to your open house?

Bike shorts are great, but any garment that is not too loose or baggy (you sit on a sliding seat, baggy shorts can get caught in the wheels or track). Tee shirts are fine. Layers are best.

Can I bring my younger kids?

Yes, but an extra adult would need to keep an eye on them while you are on the barge.

Should I bring water?

We will have plenty to drink – and plenty to row on. We’ll have some goodies to eat as well.

How much time will we be out on the reservoir?

About 20–25 minutes. And we need about 75 minutes of your time for the land-based bits – touring the boat house, learning about the club, teaching you the stroke on rowing ergometers (rowing machines).

Are there rapids or rough water?

We row on the best flat water around – a placid reservoir that is over five miles long.

Is this rain or shine?

Yup – rowers like the water.

Does it matter if I come at 9 or at 11 am?

Either time is fine, just try to arrive about 5-10 minutes early, since we have a full schedule for you and want to start promptly. Normally we get more visitors at the 9 am time slot.

I am into other sports/I’ve never done any sports; is rowing right for me?

Absolutely. You will get a full-body aerobic workout without pounding your joints. Rowing will help tone your muscles and strengthen your core.

I have some physical issues with my back, shoulder, etc, is rowing OK for me?

Maybe, maybe not. Part of rowing is that each rower in a boat helps carry the shell down to the water and back up the hill at the end of practice. Everyone must do their part. If you are concerned, check with a coach or your doctor.

Can I bring a friend?

What a great idea! And when you both sign up for our coached programs (the first programs of the summer start in May, more start in June and July), your friend will encourage you onward – ever faster.

I rowed in high school/college, is the open house worthwhile for me?

Yes, because you will want to see our really great equipment and learn about our programs.

I have no rowing experience, but plan to come to your LTR day open house. If I like it, what happens next?

You can sign up for our Learn to Row (LTR) classes. These four-week classes start in June, in mornings or evenings, three times a week. By the halfway point in the class, you will be rowing in regular collegiate 8 person rowing shells. After LTR class, you graduate into our regular sweep rowing programs – for fitness or competition.

What do you mean by “sweep rowing”?

This is easier to show than tell, but here we go: College rowers typically do sweep rowing. Each rower has one oar, about 12 feet long. A rower holds that “sweep” with both hands. This contrasts with “sculling” – a kind of rowing where each rower has two oars, about 9 feet long. Nearly all our newcomers start out in sweep rowing, but the club has equipment and coached programs for sculling and sweep rowing.

I’d really like to learn how to scull rather than sweep  – can I do that? 

Yes you can; however we require you take the LTR course first so you become familiar with all aspects of the sport before you climb into a scull. New in 2018: the LTR course will also introduce sculling principles too! Afterwards, participants may continue on to the dedicated Learn to Scull class

I can’t swim, should I row?

In short, no. It is quite rare that rowers end up in the water, but wisdom says rowers must be swimmers.

Where can I find more program information and sign up?

Head over to our Programs web pages.