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National Learn to Row Day Set for June 4, 2016

20 Apr, 2016


After a record-setting 2015 that saw more than 100 clubs participating, USRowing and Concept2’s 15th annual National Learn to Row Day looks to grow in size this Olympic year.

On June 4, 2016, boathouses across the country will hold free  events open to the public, that will increase rowing’s visibility and bring athletes of all ages to the sport. Each club puts its own spin on the event, but common elements include taking visitors for a row on the water, teaching them rowing technique on ergs (stationary rowing machines) and giving tours of boathouses.

“The National Learn to Row Day serves as the ideal opportunity for clubs to grow and reach new members of the community,” said Director of Member Services Susan Smith. “Rowing offers so many different benefits and this is a perfect opportunity to introduce new fans into the sport. After setting a new record for club participation in 2015, USRowing’s goal is to engage even more clubs than in years past.”

In addition, clubs will pair National Learn to Row Day with other activities like opportunities to clean up local waterways, programs designed for breast cancer survivors and meet-and-greets with Olympic legends.

Recovery on Water (ROW®) is a rowing team that gives patients and survivors of breast cancer the unique opportunity to interact, become active in their recovery and gain support from fellow survivors. From outreach like National Learn to Row Day, the program has seen so much growth that they look to expand to a more permanent boathouse on the Chicago River.

“We are thrilled for National Learn to Row Day,” said Executive Director of ROW, Jenn Gibbons. “Especially as we look to move into a boathouse this fall. This home is on Chicago's south side, and the communities we aim to serve usually haven’t been exposed to rowing before. National Learn to Row Day is a great way to introduce people to the sport.”

Henrik Rummel, a bronze medalist in the men’s four at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, started out at a Learn to Row Day program after his mother signed him up during his summer vacation. Rummel is currently training for an opportunity to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as his rowing career with the U.S. national team now spans to almost a decade.

“I had no idea what I was signing up for,” said Rummel. “I ended up having way more fun that I could've imagined. Rowing has taken me to athletic heights I would've never dreamed of, and without the opportunity to try it in that setting I don't think it would've happened. Signing up for learn to row was one of the best decisions of my life!”

Rummel isn’t the only Rio Hopeful that got their start at a Learn to Row Day Program. Coming off of a gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, Molly Bruggeman, a 2016 Olympic hopeful, also started her rowing career in southern Ohio at a Learn to Row Day event.

“My earliest memory of rowing was a learn to row camp I did when I was 13 years old,” said Bruggeman. “I remember one practice that was miserably hot and I was getting terrible blisters on my hands. 

“The first time I picked up an oar I never thought about where it would take me in life. I was gangly, uncoordinated and little did I know much a part of my life rowing would become. Learning to embrace challenges and hard work were lessons taught in my first moments on the water and have carried me through today. I've learned and grown so much since that day and am lucky to have been given the opportunity to continue to do so through rowing.”

For more information on how you can host your own National Learn to Row Day, or to find out if there is a Learn to Row Day event in your hometown, visit the USRowing website at http://usrow.us/nltrd. Participating clubs will receive a National Learn to Row Day banner, posters, brochures, Concept2 technique poster and stickers to help promote their event.

About USRowing: USRowing is a nonprofit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee as the governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States. USRowing has 85,000 individual members and 1,300 member organizations, offering rowing programs for all. USRowing receives generous support from the National Rowing Foundation and its corporate sponsors and partners.

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