What boosts strength, teamwork and community spirit? What’s a fabulous way to improve your fitness, and your bond with nature? It’s rowing - and this could be your year to finally make it to the Connecticut River in Hartford! Join the more than 350 adults and 240 high-school students who rowed with Riverfront Recapture’s Community Rowing Program in 2012.
Current Program Participants - Visit our News and Other Info page for class cancellations, calendar, articles, rowers' blogs and more!
One of the largest and most successful community programs in the region, Riverfront Recapture Rowing has been featured in the Hartford Courant and in the Independent Rowing News.
Click here to view the Hartford Courant article on our BEGINNER’S LEARN TO ROW program.
Click here to view the Independent Rowing News article on our SCULLING program.
Watch WTNH’s Riverfront Recapture Rowing segment:
Adult Rowing and Youth Rowing classes teach brand new and experienced rowers alike; Adult and High School Racing Teams compete (and medal!) at national regattas; individuals with physical disabilities participate in our Adaptive Program run in partnership with Mt. Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital; high-school aged students can learn from college coaches in our 2-day or 4-day College Coaches’ Camp; and our rowers help run one of the 10 largest rowing regattas in the United States, the Head of the Riverfront Regatta.
Hundreds of people of all ages and backgrounds have learned to row through this unique program on the Connecticut River and anyone who is at least 14 years old and knows how to swim is invited!
Rowing classes are conveniently offered just north of downtown Hartford at the Greater Hartford Jaycees Community Boathouse in Riverside Park
Diane Smith talks about Riverfront Recapture’s Learn To Row Rowing Program on her show, Positively Connecticut.
A RIVERFRONT STORY - Skills on the Water Relate to Skills on the Job
Re-connecting to the water is therapeutic…
Evan Johnson grew up on a marshy section of river in Tidewater, Virginia. After studying Art History and Urban Planning at the University of Virginia, a position as a re-employment counselor brought him to Hartford. In his second year, in a new position at the Greater Hartford Arts Council, prompted by a grant application he was reviewing, Evan explored the Riverfront Recapture website and discovered the rowing program. With one season of high school rowing under his belt, he thought he’d give it a try.
Introverted by nature, Evan had encouragement from his crew of eight masters rowers (masters are post-college adults). He has gained confidence during his first year as a coxswain, familiarly known as a “cox.” The cox’s job is to direct the rowers, letting them know how hard to pull on their oars on each side to navigate the water and its turns around buoys. Evan comments, “Soon after joining the crew as a cox, I realized how much I benefited from the experience. I gained discipline, improved my communication skills, and have reduced my procrastination tendencies.”
Evan added, “I learned on the boat that silence brought the worst result, and I have learned to think and speak more quickly and accurately. This has resulted in greater confidence and willingness to share my point of view in business meetings.”
On the water, focus – on what he is doing right then and there – is key. On the job, Evan finds himself less distracted by what is going on around him.
Evan finds being on the water therapeutic, and enjoys being part of the natural world while others are on the highway stressing about work. After his early morning on the water, Evan is relaxed and ready to take on the day. Having done some problem-solving with his crew, he finds the decisions of the remainder of the day are easier.
A RIVERFRONT STORY - Learn a New Skill – Enjoy a New Passion
Newcomer to the area finds a new passion and new friends on the Riverfront…
Johanna Zuber grew up in the Berkshires, playing field hockey, tennis and softball through high school, and participating in varsity skiing and sailing at the University of Massachusetts. After graduating in 2011 with a degree in operations management, she was hired by Pratt & Whitney, in its rotational materials management program. A newcomer to Connecticut, and looking for things to do, she Googled river activities, and found Riverfront Recapture’s rowing program. Johanna signed up for beginners sessions, and found a good workout with friendly and supportive coaches and fellow rowers.
Within a few months, she had a new morning schedule, meeting a friend at 6 am at Riverside Park’s boathouse, for an hour or so of sculling. Johanna finds it a calming yet invigorating way to start the day. She enjoys the quiet of the river in the early mornings, with sightings of herons, eagles, and other birds. The twice weekly experience brings her back to nature, and is a social opportunity as well.
Her first Ham and Egger as a novice women’s sculler was met with encouragement and congratulations from long-time rowers. What is a Ham and Egger? A friendly, but competitive outing to race against fellow scullers and rowers, followed by food and socializing.
What’s next for Johanna? She is considering joining a crew of eight (known as sweep rowing) as another option. During the winter months, she is back to yoga and spinning. Her words of advice to someone who is considering rowing: “Go, try it. Once there, you will find it very welcoming. An added benefit is weight loss without even trying.”
A RIVERFRONT STORY - Rowing Runs in the Family
Jerry Fiske has been rowing on the Connecticut River for 25 years, and, at age 77, is the oldest sweep rower in the Riverfront Recapture program. His skills are still strong, and his eight-passenger shell (boat) won in the Ham and Egger in summer 2012. Typical of a Ham and Egger, the crew was “scrambled,” or made up of rowers of all ages, to create their crew for the friendly competition.
How did Jerry get involved in rowing? His family history of rowing dates back to the 1850s when his great-grandfather, Frank Cheney, rowed as a member of the Undine (club) crew on the Connecticut River.
Many years later, three of Jerry’s cousins, also Harvard students, influenced him to give it a try. Jerry enjoyed the activity and exercise and loved the camaraderie. Jerry worked in banking after Harvard, and came back to Connecticut. He began rowing as a member of the Hartford Barge Club, which was founded in 1927. The club disbanded after the 1940s dike construction cut off public access to the Connecticut River.
Year later, the club was reinstated, operating initially out of the 1960s-built Trinity boathouse in East Hartford. HBC moved to Riverfront Recapture’s new boathouse in Hartford in 2002, and in 2009, disbanded for the final time. Some members, like Jerry, joined Riverfront Recapture teams. Although Jerry no longer races competitively due to the time commitment, he greatly enjoys the experience of being on the water, working as part of a team, and socializing. And, clearly, he also still enjoys winning!