ROW YOUR BOAT
By Mitch Hurst
By Mitch Hurst
Step into any modern gym these days and you’ll likely find rowing machines. The popular exercise equipment works muscles throughout the body, including biceps, triceps, hamstrings, and calves. Many personal trainers say using a rowing machine is one of the most well-rounded workouts to have.
But there’s also the real thing, boats gliding across the water powered by human beings, and that’s where North Suburban Crew (NSC) comes in.
NSC was established in 1995 by Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest and was one of two founding members of the Dammrich Rowing Center in Skokie, where its teams train. The group utilizes a boathouse located on The North Shore Channel in Skokie.
A nonprofit rowing club for high school girls and adult women, NSC celebrates the competitive and collaborative aspects of women’s athletics. NSC has expanded its roots over the decades to include Juniors and Masters competitive teams comprised of rowers from across the Chicago area.
The Juniors Team has rowers from high schools in Chicago and the North Shore suburbs, including Evanston Township High School and Roycemore School in Evanston, Regina Dominican High School in Wilmette, Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Glenbrook South High School in Glenview, Vernon Hills High School, and Von Steuben High School in Chicago.
“The mission at NSC is to promote national and international amateur rowing programs for women athletes of all ages and identities,” says NSC President Heather LaVigne. “Master and Junior rowers are provided the opportunity and are coached to participate at the highest levels of competitive rowing.”
North Suburban Crew provides rowing instruction for all ability levels through positive coaching—supporting teamwork and personal growth, all while improving overall health and fitness. Teammates gain confidence and build trust with one another in a safe and fun environment.
“As an all-female rowing club, we offer young and adult women the opportunity to cultivate self-confidence, leadership, and healthy lifestyles through competitive rowing while developing long-lasting friendships,” says LaVigne. “Both Juniors and Masters teams compete at local, regional, and national levels, and our Masters team will also compete in international races this year.”
There are two primary forms of rowing. Sculling involves rowers with an oar in each hand. Sweep rowers compete with just one oar. NSC is a sweep-rowing organization and offers two competitions— a Junior team that competes during the fall and spring seasons, and a Masters team that competes spring, summer, and fall.
At the Juniors level, NSC offers “Learn-to-Row” sessions in the summer for athletes in grades 8 through 12, during which they learn rowing fundamentals, including the basic stroke, water safety, familiarity with the boathouse and facilities, and equipment handling. The class includes land-based training in tanks and on rowing machines.
The Masters program focuses on technical proficiency, fitness levels, strength, and flexibility. While there are opportunities to race according to all skill levels represented on the team, NSC attempts to enter the most competitive boat line-ups in varying age groups.
“We enthusiastically support all our racing boats,” LaVigne says. “We also strive to have fun, which is an essential aspect of racing and team health.”
For further information on the Juniors program, contact Bill Schaudt at [email protected]. For the Masters program, contact Jackson Lifford at [email protected]. For general information about NSC, visit northsuburbancrew.com.