Writer: Erika Vidal Holmes
Photography: Gabriel Burgos
Local rowing clubs welcome experienced rowers and newbies alike.
Tampa Bay’s local waterways offer its residents a variety of ways to stay fit. Kayaking. Stand-up paddle boarding. Even water bikes. Every so often, you might see rowers making their way along the Hillsborough River near the University of Tampa, oars sweeping in perfect unison. You might think you need to be enrolled at one of the nation’s most prestigious universities or a local high school to take up the sport of rowing. But Tampa Athletic Club, a local master’s rowing group founded in 2011, offers seasoned rowers and newcomers alike the opportunity to get their feet — or their oars — wet.
Kathy Fountain, the club’s membership chairman, says it all began when a group of local parents whose kids rowed in high school were “left adrift” on Saturday mornings once the kids graduated.
“We got a coach and started learning to do it ourselves,” says Kathy. Eventually, they formed an official club, began recruiting members and started competing in local races. They’re now up to about 45 members ranging in age from 19 to 90. Some club members are die-hard rowers who don’t miss a practice, while others come more sporadically for fun or to supplement their existing workout routine with a low-impact, full-body cardio workout. They hold practices seven days a week and Learn to Row clinics every couple of months. These weekend clinics are designed to teach newbies to row in a single weekend.
“It looks intimidating,” says Kathy, who had never rowed before joining the club, “But once you come out and see our programs, you’ll see anyone can do it.”
Tampa Athletic Club
Membership: Pay a monthly fee or pay-per-row
Where: Tampa Bypass Canal in Harney Park
Learn to Row Clinic
May 14 and 15, 2016 | 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: $200 (includes weekend clinic and a month of free rowing with weekday mornings, evenings, and weekend row times available)
Learn more: www.RowTAC.org
ROWTAMPA Master’s Program
The Spring program is already underway. Call for upcoming programs and availability and upcoming Learn to Row clinics. Private lessons also available. Email Director Steve White at email@example.com.
Where: Julian B. Lane RiverFront Park
Learn more: www.rowtampa.com/masters-program/