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New to Rowing?

This sport is probably something you've only ever seen during the Summer Olympics. However, rowing has a predominant presence in the United States. Many universities offer rowing as one of their varsity sport options, and even more provide rowing as a club activity. There are a variety of opportunities to row competitively or recreationally in many places that have a rowable body of water. Additionally, for parents and students, one primary reason to row is for improved college admissions, especially for females. Rowing is one of the fastest-growing NCAA sports with many recruiting athletes and providing some form of scholarship.

The modern wave of women’s rowing programs getting scattered across the country began in 1972 with the passing of Title IX. The legislation requires schools to offer women equal opportunities to participate in sports. The law also mandated that schools keep statistics on scholarships, spending, and the number of athletes in each sport, parsed by gender. 

Athletic departments needed to balance the numbers because football teams were becoming so big and rich that they risked violating the new law. This situation led to the rapid addition of women’s rowing programs across the country, which offset (and saved) college football and allowed schools to comply with Title IX. A codependent relationship between the two was developed. Women got a new sport and eagerly welcomed the opportunity. 

Title IX has other benefits; it also led to other women’s teams developing at each school. Title IX has made a significant impact on female participation in sports at the college level, and to a certain extent, that right will always be protected. At least one would hope. 

Title IX was created to level the playing field and create equal opportunity for both men and women. Though we have come a long way from 1972, collegiate women’s rowing programs represent a way in which we are still so far behind in the quest for equality. 

Rowing is an incredible cardiovascular and strength-oriented exercise, and eliminates the dangers that come with traditional contact sports. Parents and athletes will not have to worry about lasting effects from concussions, broken bones, dislocated limbs, or missing teeth (Talkin' about you, hockey). 

Much like other sports, rowing is good for general health and well-being, but also from a character-building perspective. Participating in rowing can shape a person's ability to interact with others, develop better time management skills and begin to understand the importance of placing trust in their teammates, and feeling that trust in return. There are no star athletes when it comes to this sport. If boats want to win, it takes every member of that crew to get the job done. Boats that excel with explosiveness, endurance and synchronicity will find success. 

So what do I need to row?

  • Running shoes*

  • Bottle of water*

  • Tight fitting bottoms* (the seat in the boat moves and loose fitting bottoms will get stuck)

  • Layers depending on the weather

  • The ability to swim* (we can provide assistance to anyone who may not currently know how to swim)

  • A hat (helpful, but not necessary)

Why row at BSRA?

Buffalo Scholastic Rowing Association began rowing operations in the Old First Ward in 2009. The original vision of the organization was to expand scholastic rowing throughout the Western New York region. Over the past 11 years, BSRA has grown to become so much more than that. 

We serve:

  • Youth from ages 12-18 (learn to row, competitive to high performance)

  • Young adults from ages 19-26 (learn to row, competitive and high performance)

  • Adults/Masters ages 21+ (learn to row & competitive)


We value ALL of our members, and recognize that rowing options are often pricey. BSRA has made keeping dues for our rowers low, and providing all of our programs with equal time and attention. 

Notice: our rowing programs have set costs, but we have many scholarship opportunities for those who want to row.

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