FAQ’s

Who are you guys?

RMRC is the oldest, largest, best-equipped volunteer-run non-profit rowing organization in the Rockies. We offer recreational, competitive and instructional programs to over a hundred members. Our inventory of club boats covers every configuration except coxed four, and our competitive record in regional, national and international events is admirable. The only requirement for membership is experience as a rower.

Can I row with you if I already know how?

As a visiting experienced rower, active membership in another recognized club entitles you to temporary, supervised use of RMRC equipment. For more information, contact our Visiting Rower Coordinator.

How many days on the water does that entitle me to, as a visitor?

After seven days of (supervised) use, visitors’ privileges expire and to continue rowing here, you are expected to join the club if you want to continue rowing here.

What’s the next step?

Contact the Visiting Rower Coordinator to be linked to a club host and for briefings on safety and procedure.

Can you teach me to row?

We can teach almost anyone. Our Learn To Row programs start in the spring, but have a wait list over a year long. We offer Novice, Intermediate, Advanced and Competitive programs to memberhip throughout the summer. Club Members who have registered at RegattaCentral can enroll in programs starting at midnight on Monday, April 30 by going to the RegattaCentral enrollment page. Our goal is the safe, fast use of boats.

Whom do I talk to?

Our Membership director can be reached at membership@rockymountainrowing.org, and the Programs director is programs@rockymountainrowing.org. Enroll in a program online at RegattaCentral.

Where are you?

Our boathouse is on the shores of the 880-acre reservoir at Cherry Creek Site Park, southeast of downtown Denver, near I-25 and I-225. Map

Who can join?

For safety and equipment protection purposes, membership is limited to experienced rowers. For gaining experience, visit our Coaching page. To apply for membership, contact our Membership Coordinator.

Is it free?

Nothing good is free except sunshine and the public library.

What does membership include?

As a member you are entitled, once you are certified, to row any club boat in the boathouse, according to the safety rules. As a member, you agree to abide by whatever safety protocols are in place for whatever global pandemic is in effect. As a member, you are also expected to volunteer your time and services where needed.

Where do you row in winter?

Indoors. The reservoir freezes harder than a hockey puck every winter. Plenty of health clubs have ergometers, and a few (Colorado Athletic Club/Monaco, on Monaco Pkwy. at Yale ) have supervised classes. Plus, we have an inside line on the sale of very slightly used ergometers.

Can’t I just row?

It’s not as easy as it looks. These boats start at 10” wide and your center of gravity is about 2’ above the surface of the water. Add chop, wakes, crosswinds, boat traffic, oars the length of vaulting poles and the fact you’re facing backwards, and you might imagine how instruction would be helpful.

Rowing shells look a lot like the ergometers at my health club? Which came first?

Rowing shells came first. Ergometers were developed to replicate the rowing motion and momentum of a boat on water for off-season training. The exceptional metrics on them made them an accurate training, and later, competition device.

When can I start racing?

As soon as you feel like it. Most regattas offer novice class races, which are open to anyone who is still in their first year of competition. Within a few months of supervised coaching, you will be concentrating on making a stable boat move faster. The club often stages Friday Friendlies, good-natured scrimmages open to anyone who shows up.

How do I get instruction?

Contact the Programs Coordinator at programs@rockymountainrowing.org.

Do you use one oar or two?

Either. “Sweep” boats (pair, fours and eights) put one oar in each seat. “Sculling” boats (singles, doubles and quads) give each rower a pair of oars. The sweep format proved unpopular for singles.

Can I leave the shell in the water and come back tomorrow?

Highly fragile shells are removed from the water after each use and stored on racks inside the boathouse. Only heavy, bulletproof training barges are left in the water.

Why do they call them shells?

In the interest of speed, they are almost as thin and fragile as eggshells. A 29’ competitive single that supports a 200 lb-athlete can weigh as little as 30 pounds. There is only one, highly reinforced place in the shell where you can place a foot and step on it. Step anywhere else and your foot will go straight through the hull and become mired in the soft mud off our dock.

Who are the Cave Men?

In all societies, there are an esteemed few who, by virtue of their wisdom, poise, technique, seniority and hardened attitude, are revered above all others. We don’t have any of these, but we do have some masters level guys who like to row together and cast dispersions on all others.

Has anyone thought about putting women in the same boat as men?

Rowing was one of the early drivers behind the implementation of Title IX and one of only two Olympic level sports where both genders can compete effectively together. Mixed boats are a part of most Masters level regattas, and there is no compromise in training effectiveness for either gender in mixed boats.

Does a boat have to be fully occupied to row?

A sweep boat with one or more seats empty will have an asymmetrical application of power, and maneuverability in windy or choppy conditions is severely impaired. Any boat missing rowers will sit higher in the water, move more slowly and feel heavier and more susceptible to the wind .

Why do you guys get up so early?

The water is often flatter in the transition from night to day, and getting on the water by 5:30AM enables most rowers to be off the water and in their cars by 7:00AM, for a minimal disruption on the day.

How do you guys get up so early?

After the first few days it becomes easy, as long as you compensate by getting to bed earlier.

Where is the best place to watch a race?

From your seat in a boat. Second best place: in an official’s launch.

How come none of the boats have algae on them?

All boats are removed from the water and returned to the boathouse once they are done being used.

What kind of anchor is best for a shell?

A boathouse.

How long are races?

Most Masters level races are held on 1,000 meter straight courses, which can be covered in about four minutes for smaller boats, three and change in larger ones. Later in the season, straight course lengths may extend to two kilometers, and towards season’s end, Head

What safety provisions do you take?

We follow USRowing protocols for rowing safety. All rowers must take a mandatory safety briefing from the club Safety Coordinator (info@rockymountainrowing.org) and pass a flip test proving they are comfortable in the water and can get back into a capsized boat. All boats on Cherry Creek reservoir must be equipped with one personal flotation device for each rower and cox. When water temperatures drop below 45° F no boat with less than four oars is allowed on the water. Shells with 4 or more oars must be accompanied by and remain within 500 meters of a motor launch, and must remain in the Marina Cove.  Novices at that water temperature must be in a quad or larger, and occupy no more than half of the seats. Below 55°, singles or pairs must be accompanied by, and remain within 100 meters of, a motor launch. In addition, we maintain Covid protection procedures.

What is so cool about rowing?

Rowing offers a rare combination of camaraderie, conditioning, accessibility, natural access, competitive accomplishment, social connection, coffee addiction support and personal satisfaction. Even though it started as a form of corporal punishment, it offers a chance to train and compete in highly advanced equipment, in a largely supportive environment, in a natural setting, where most of the interface with others is focused not on impedance but on growth. As a repetitive, non-impact sport, much technique becomes ingrained in muscle memory and injuries are relatively infrequent. Competitive rowers are among the best conditioned athletes in sport.