Students from more than 25 different high schools and middle schools learn how to row, improve their rowing and race. We offer Beginning and Intermediate and Experienced classes, Competitive Racing Teams, and Clinics coached by college coaches.

Youth Rowing Program

Riverfront’s Youth Rowing Program is a unique blend of urban and suburban participants who practice and race together, giving both groups the opportunity to learn from one another in our own version of a magnet school for rowers. We offer both recreational programs and competitive racing teams.  Past rowers have earned rowing scholarships to college, participated on US Junior National Development Teams, and earned invitations to the prestigious USRowing Youth Nationals.  Any high school student who attends public schools in Hartford or East Hartford can row at no charge, thanks to our partnerships with the city and town, corporate and foundation grants, as well as civic support.

Types of Rowing

There are two types of rowing: sweep and sculling. Both take place on a sliding seat, which allows the knees to bend and flatten, and makes rowing primarily an aerobic activity that relies more on the legs than the arms.

Sweep Rowing

Sweep rowing takes place in 58’ or 42’ long rowing shells with eight or four rowers, each of whom uses one 12’ oar; oars alternate on opposite sides of the boat. Sweep shells are most often steered, via a rudder, by a fifth or ninth person called a coxswain. 


Sculling is a type of rowing where each person uses two 10’ oars in 17’ – 42’ rowing shells.  Unlike sweep rowing, scullers must steer themselves by looking over their shoulder. While sculling is most often associated with one-person rowing shells, it also takes place in four- and two-person shells. 

Praise for the Rowing Program

“I have been really impressed with the growth of the Riverfront program. The kids are rowing well and competing against more established programs.  What’s great to see is the camaraderie and confidence they have, and the support they give each other regardless of the differences in skill level.  The Riverfront Recapture program does a great job instilling those qualities in their kids.” --  Steve Hargis, United States Junior Men’s National Team Head Coach, United States Junior National Team Development Head Coach, and 2008 United State’s Olympic Committee’s Developmental Coach of the Year

Youth Rowing Sponsors:

The generosity of sponsors enables young people at Hartford and East Hartford high schools to row at no cost to them or their families. If you, or your corporation or organization, is interested in health, well-being, and confidence-building programs like Riverfront’s Youth Rowing program, contact Deborah Baker, Director of Development, via email or call 860.713.3131 ext. 326.

United Technologies

Ahearn Family Foundation Berkshire Bank Bracewell LLP
Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation The Ensworth Charitable Foundation, Bank of America, NA, Trustee The Lily Palmer Fry Memorial Trust, Bank of America, NA Trustee
The Fund for Greater Hartford The Charles Nelson Robinson Fund, Bank of America, NA, Trustee SBM Charitable Foundation
United Bank XL Catlin  


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