Middle School Rowing Introduction

WRC Fall 2014-2Rowing’s enormous potential to have a positive impact on young athletes has made it one of the fastest growing high school sports in the country. At WRC, one of our primary goals is to extend the opportunities for involvement and development in this incredible sport to middle school students as well.

Our Middle School Learn to Row classes serve as an introduction that allows students to try out rowing and begin learning the basics of the sport. Rowers who complete a Learn to Row class then have the opportunity to develop their skills and progress in the sport as part of our Middle School Development Team.

WRC Fall 2014-11Rowing

Rowing is among the fastest growing youth and collegiate sports in the country, a testament to the sport’s captivating challenges and incredible rewards. Teaching and repaying work ethic, commitment, and teamwork like no other athletic pursuit, rowing offers tremendous opportunities for young athletes to grow and develop, both on and off the water.

Above all though, rowing is simply a lot of fun. And while we can’t really describe that unique satisfaction rowers have after a great row (there’s only one way you’ll really get that), we’ve created a video and a short list that at least lay out a few reasons to consider getting involved in this amazing sport.

Reason to Row

• Most people are not introduced to rowing at a very early age, giving those who start rowing in middle school a completely level playing field to learn, excel, and try out something new without having to compete against others with far more experience.

• Often considered the consummate team sport, rowing is fundamentally built around a commitment to teamwork. Members of a crew learn to trust and work with one another on a very deep level, often forging strong and meaningful friendships in the process.

• As a sport centered around fitness development and involving both sprint and endurance aspects, rowing has a training regimen that is challenging, invigorating, and will get you in the best shape of your life.

• With more light being cast upon the threat of head injuries and other dangers associated with contact sports, rowing presents an incredible athletic challenge with minimal physical risk.

• The current growth of rowing at the collegiate level means that scholarship opportunities for talented rowers abound at Div I, Div II and Div III schools (with many athletes from the Ann Arbor area having earned scholarships for rowing in recent years).

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Below are descriptions and overviews of the programs we offer, if you want to go straight to the program dates, times and pricing, please click on one of the links below:

FALL Middle School Programs

WINTER Fitness Middle School Program

SPRING Middle School Programs

SUMMER Middle School Programs

Fall/Spring Middle School Learn to Row

Middle School Learn to Row offers young athletes a chance to experience rowing on a scenic stretch of the Huron River. 

In the fall and spring, Learn to Row is taught in a class format, with classes meeting 3 times/week. It is run in two parts, Level 1 and Level 2, which together cover our entire introductory curriculum. It is strongly recommended that students take both Level 1 and 2 back-to-back, and WRC offers a discount when you sign up for both classes together.

During Level 1, participants become familiar with basic terminology and learn to fundamentals of the rowing stroke. Level 2 focuses on refining skills learned in Level I and introduces more advanced concepts that allow crews to really get boats up and moving

Every Learn to Row class has a coach to boat ratio of 1:1, ensuring students receive high quality instruction and finish the program with a love for the sport!

If you have any questions about Middle School Learn to Row, feel free to contact Program Director Kit Bennett by email at admin@washtenawrowingcenter.com or by phone at (810) 610-7463.

Fall / Spring Learn to Row Classes, Overview

  • Open to all students grades 6­–8
  • Three 75-minute practices per week
  • No prior rowing knowledge or experience necessary (students must complete Level I before starting Level II)

Summer Learn to Row 2016

In the summer, Learn to Row is taught in a camp format, with classes meeting 5 times/week. It is run in two parts, Level I and Level II, which together cover our entire introductory curriculum. It is strongly recommended that students take both Level I and II back-to-back, and WRC offers a discount when you sign up for both classes together.

Summer Middle School Learn to Row Camps, Overview

  • Open to all students grades 6­–8 (includes rising 6th graders and rising high school freshmen)
  • Level I and II each run 2 weeks, Monday – Friday
  • No prior rowing knowledge or experience necessary (students must complete Level I before starting Level II)

Middle School Development Team


After completing Learn to Row, rowers get to really discover what rowing is all about as part of WRC’s Middle School Development Team.

The focus is on long-term skill development and preparation for rowing at the high school level. Participants get lots of experience in both sweep and sculling boats and become part of a close-knit group of rowers that work together to improve their fitness, technique and racing skills while gaining a strong understanding of the work ethic and camaraderie that lies at the heart of the sport.

The Development Team runs year-round and registration is by season (except summer season, which is run in shorter sessions to accommodate vacations). Each season has a slightly different focus–  just like athletes see at the high school level.

The Development Team enables rowers to gain a strong foundation in all aspects of rowing and prepares them to become leaders on their high school teams.

 Middle School Development Overview

  • Open to students grades 6­–8* who have completed Learn to Row (Levels 1 and 2)
  • Runs year-round: on-the-water seasons in fall, spring, summer, plus indoor winter fitness program,  registration is completed on a per-season basis
  • 3 practice sessions per week (5-day schedule during summer)

* For summer sessions, rising 9th graders are also welcome.

Winter Fitness Program

For those looking to prepare for spring rowing, or anyone who just wants a fun way to stay active over the winter, WRC offers an 8-week Winter Fitness Program that starts just after the holidays. Rowing is one of the best all-around fitness activities there is, combining both cardio and strength work that involves every major muscle group. We do a variety of activities on the rowing machine (aka the erg), which allow rowers to improve rowing technique while also getting a truly consummate fitness experience. We also do a good mix of cross-training, core work, and stretching, all of which are very important for rowing in particular and personal fitness in general.In addition to regularly held classes, rowers also have the opportunity to participate in a great indoor rowing event. The Hungry Eagle Indoor Sprints, an ergatta hosted by Skyline High School, which brings together middle school and high school rowers from Ann Arbor and the surrounding rowing communities.

More details can be found here