CBC is a nonprofit rowing club. We provide the opportunity to row for anyone interested in rowing from grade 7 on up. Our programs include youth and adult learn to row, scholastic competitive teams, and masters memberships. In addition, members can pay a rack fee to keep their boat in the sculling bay. All fees are used to provide safe facilities, quality rowing equipment, and excellent coaching.
2. What is rowing?
Rowing is one of the original Olympic sports of the modern games. Crews of between one and eight rowers compete in a variety of events, with the large eight boats drawing the largest crowds.
3. Who can row?
Anyone can row! Rowing is a lifelong sport and can be learned at any age. Any member of the community is welcome to sign up for one of our sessions. Scholastic age rowers typically don’t begin rowing until 9th grade. Adults can begin rowing (and competing) at any age. Our masters range from former competitive high school/collegiate rowers to parents of former CBC scholastic rowers.
● For juniors, we offer learn to row camps, middle school (modified) recreational teams, high school novice (first year) and varsity competitive teams. Our scholastic rowers look forward to racing and enjoy competing. Competition helps provide structure and focus to training. CBC has a no cut policy, and all junior rowers can participate in some capacity.
● For adults (masters), we offer learn to row and coached recreational rowing. Many of our members compete, have competed, or train daily as if they were planning on competing. Others row in singles for fitness. Club boats are available at no cost for adult members who qualify to sign out and row on their own.
4. Is rowing a team sport?
Rowing is a regarded by many as the ultimate team sport. While there are individual events, the vast majority of rowers, especially at the junior level, row in large team boats.
Teamwork is critical for a large boat’s success. Rowers must row together with the same timing and power to each stroke. A rower who stands out will make the boat slower and more difficult to steer. A crew is composed of individuals who sacrifice their personal goals for the team. Winning teammates successfully match their desire, talent and blade work with one another. It’s no accident that inspirational posters for teamwork often feature images of rowers.
5. Can I try rowing sometime?
Absolutely! We offer opportunities on National Learn to Row Day (first Saturday in June) for any member of the community to stop by, take a tour, and row a boat. Adult and youth interested in learning more can sign up for one of our many learn to row classes. CBC is committed to advancing the sport of rowing in Ithaca.
6. Why do rowers work out so much?
Rowing is one of the the most physically demanding sports as it requires a unique combination of power and endurance. Training plans must incorporate a wide variety of exercises ranging from short intense strength building to long low intensity steady state workouts that can last upwards of 90 minutes. Due to the high physical demands of the sport, competitive rowers train year round to build stamina, strength and flexibility. CBC offers scholastic teams programs year round, including off water winter conditioning sessions.
7. Do adults have to buy boats to row?
No. CBC has club boats that qualified members can row. Part of our membership and rack fees go to maintaining a modest fleet of boats for our masters members. For beginners, we offer coached sessions on club boats.
8. What else does rowing foster?
Character. Rowing builds endurance, courage, strength, and fosters an appreciation for the value of teamwork. On the individual level, rowing builds character, not only through the physical demands of the sport, but through off-water responsibilities for themselves, their equipment and their team. They learn to love and appreciate being out on the water and come to care deeply about the environment.
Parents frequently describe their child’s experience rowing as transformational. It’s not uncommon for rowers to start as typical teenagers and after a year or two become focused, dedicated and responsible. Rowing teaches a lot about discipline, goal setting and our ability to push through perceived physical and mental barriers.
Scholastic rowers learn to manage their time. With 6:00 a.m. practices, rowers cannot sleep in. If a rower is late or absent, it impacts the entire team. Boats need everyone on the team to be there or they can’t go out.
Finally, rowers have many off water responsibilities. They disassemble the boats, load them on the boat trailer, and reassemble them when the team travels to and from regattas. Loading the trailer is labor intensive and time consuming, and it takes everyone on the team. No matter how exhausted the rowers are from racing, they know that they have to take care of the equipment.
9. Does CBC win races?
Yes! Three Olympians have rowed with CBC as junior rowers. The junior teams typically do well. Some have medaled at prestigious races like the Head of the Charles in Boston and the Royal Canadian Henley in St. Catherine's, Ontario, and qualified for the National Championships. At the masters level, several of our adult rowers are top ranked and win medals at national and international championships. Ithaca has a strong tradition of rowing dating back to the 1800’s, and we are fortunate to have a good deal of expertise in our boat club.
10. Is rowing expensive?
Yes. Rowing is an expensive sport with costs similar to those of horseback riding, skiing, and ice hockey. Equipment and coaching costs are high. For example, the large eight boats, which are the most common boat for juniors, cost upwards of $30,000. Given the high interest in rowing at CBC, we need a lot of boats and launches to get as many people on the water as possible. Costs are incurred for regattas with fees charged for rowers that include: hotel, food, transportation, entrance fees, and coaching. CBC offers scholarships for the scholastic programs to make the sport as accessible as possible, but it is an expensive sport.
11. Does CBC make money?
We are a non-profit organization. As a rowing club, we incur a lot of expenses, particularly for our juniors programs. Our program fees do not cover costs fully. We conduct fundraising throughout the year to cover additional costs such as scholarships, coaching, insurance, and equipment.
12. The Boathouse looks so old, is it historic? Yes! The Boathouse was built as a boathouse by Cascadilla School in 1896. It’s one of the few buildings that is being used for its original purpose. The City of Ithaca owns the boathouse, which is on the National Register of Historic Buildings. CBC has a licensing agreement with the city and has been housed in the Boathouse for the last 38 years.
Rowing has a long history in Ithaca with Cornell being one of the first schools to offer rowing as an interscholastic sport. In fact, rowing was the first interscholastic sport in the United States.
We love sharing our passion for rowing and welcome the public to visit the Boathouse during one of our learn to row days.
13. Are your juniors programs part of Ithaca City School District?
No. As members of the Ithaca community, the Ithaca City School District allows us to use their multipurpose room for meetings and recognizes IHS students who win the New York State Rowing Association’s Athlete Scholar Award. We have no affiliation with the district and are open to any high school athlete who can make our practices. Rowers come from as far away as Corning and Whitney Point.
Rowing competitions are divided into scholastic teams, which are wholly part of a school district, and club teams, which welcome rowers from a variety of school districts. CBC is a club team and can not compete as a club at Scholastic National Championships.
14. What does CBC bring to the Ithaca community?
CBC promotes the sport of rowing in the Ithaca community. Rowing provides many benefits to the community beyond outreach . In part, below are some benefits to Ithaca.
● Opportunity: CBC provides many opportunities for community members of all ages and skill levels to learn a new sport. We are not simply a youth sports league. In 2014, we had more than 80 members of the public show up to row at National Learn to Row Day. For adult learn to row, we had 57 registrations. For our youth camps, we had 80. Our middle school or modified program is extremely popular and frequently sells out.
Rowing is an intercollegiate sport. At a minimum, colleges look favorably on rowing as an extracurricular activity. CBC rowers often are recruited for rowing.
Rowing is one of the few sports that is inter-generational. Masters members range from high school graduates to well into their eighties. Masters are excellent role models and mentor scholastic rowers and scholastic coaches, helping on and off the water. The club would not exist without our dedicated masters, some of whom learned to row after witnessing their teens row. This represents a unique benefit to the community. It keeps older people involved and active with a scholastic program long after their kids are grown.
CBC provides a presence in a relatively isolated area of Stewart Park. During the summer months, there is almost always someone at the boathouse making the area feel safer and more secure.
CBC brings revenue and tourists to the city of Ithaca. Our spring regatta brings 204 rowers and their families from all over central New York to Cass Park to watch the races on the Inlet. These families shop in Ithaca, eat in Ithaca, and often stay overnight in Ithaca. Invariably, these families talk about how Ithaca is their favorite place for a regatta because they can make a weekend of it.
15. Someone told me that rowing was dangerous, is that true?
No. Rowing is very safe compared to most other sports. However, like all sports, rowing has some inherent risks. Due to the high physical demands of the sport, overuse injuries are the main concern with rowing. Through the use of proper technique and treating injuries promptly, these injuries can be either avoided or overcome with no lasting impact in most cases.
US Rowing, the sport’s governing body in this country, has extensive guidelines that all member clubs, including CBC, must follow to ensure that rowing is a safe and enjoyable sport. Guidelines include swim test requirements, coaching training, minimum equipment requirements, and much more. US Rowing does not have any instance where a junior rower anywhere in the United States has died rowing. Rowing is enjoyed on waterways throughout the United States.
Our safety plans were designed by well-known collegiate coaches and approved by CBC’s Board. Our board includes collegiate coaches and experienced and competitive masters with many years experience at a variety of boat clubs internationally. We run background checks on our coaches before we hire them, and they receive CPR and First Aid training at the club’s expense. In addition, they are trained each season by Dan Robinson, former Head Men’s Coach at Ithaca College, who has been on the Inlet for 40 years and understands the unique challenges it presents.