30for30: Stewardship in Action

That grassy strip that you park next to and that you carry your boats across is a small area that does big work. The bioswale—the buffer between the boathouse and the river—is a first line of defense, soaking up stormwater runoff and filtering pollution before it enters the Anacostia.

This Earth Day, 260 volunteers from across the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association (ACBA) and Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) participated in cleanup efforts along the bioswale, collecting trash, removing invasive plants, and planting native, flood-resistant species like shadbush, red-twig dogwood, and blue flag iris.


In particular, as part of a nationwide effort and the theme of this year’s Earth Day—“No Plastic Straw Please”—volunteers picked up and counted plastic straws, one of the major contributors to ocean plastic. More than 320 plastics straws were collected from 33 sites during Saturday’s AWS-led cleanup. Destined to accumulate in the oceans, most of these straws were brought in by the river over the winter.   

This year also marks the “Year of the Anacostia,” celebrating the cleaner, healthier river that the Anacostia is becoming. Earth Day wasn’t the end of Capital rowers’ stewardship of the river. Bioswale work sessions, led by the indefatigable Mary Ellsworth and Jim Smailes, take place on the last Sunday of each month from 9:30 am to noon. So if you missed Earth Day—or want to continue contributing to the health of our river—sign up for a work session!

Learn more about our river—and how you can help protect it—at the Anacostia Watershed Society, the Year of the Anacostia,  and the ACBA Bioswale websites.

Announcing Military Learn to Row!

Are you in the military and interested in rowing? Come check out Capital Rowing Club’s new military Learn to Row program, and learn alongside other service members.

Read more about the Learn to Row program, and register here.

This Learn to Row class is for Active Duty US Military ONLY. 
Session 1 class dates: May 12, 19, 20, June 2, 9, 10, 17, 23, 24, 30, July 1
Classes meet on Saturday and Sundays from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. For all ages 18 and up

Novices will learn:

  1. Basics of the rowing stroke
  2. Fundamental rowing topics such as ratio and timing
  3. Practice rowing together as a “crew”
  4. Gain familiarity with challenging rowing-based workouts and physiology
  5. Introduction to training and racing
  6. Boat safety in addition to learning the parts of rowing boats and oars and how to handle them.
  7. Introduction to equipment terminology and care

Class attire should be close fitting workout clothing and have socks (e.g. spandex bottoms and close fitting tops). No loose-leg material as it may catch in the rolling seats when rowing. Please wear caps or visors and wear sunscreen. For cooler days please make sure you layer.

30for30: Leon’s Story

To celebrate our 30th anniversary year, we are running stories about Capital’s past, present, and future. In our inaugural post, Juniors rower and Captain Leon Bi reflects on the difference Capital has made to him.

Splash. Gulp. Splash. My body ached as I ungracefully pushed myself through the water.

At age seven, I started swimming at a competitive swim club. Despite practicing hours every day, I made little progress. Each practice was a reminder that others, who started even earlier, were physically more developed and received extra encouragement from coaches. After three years of feeling insignificant and insecure, I quit.

At age twelve, my life changed when I joined Capital Rowing Club. I was a scrawny kid with a history of feeling inadequate. Yet the team welcomed me to be a part of something greater. Capital’s mission is to offer the sport of rowing to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities, and fitness levels. Although our team initially appeared to be a hodgepodge of students from across the DC area, we bonded closely. Our differences were vast, but on the water we were equals who believed in each other, striving to row together in perfect unison. Through Capital, I gained the confidence I needed to shape myself into the person I wanted to be.

Capital took me in and believed in me when I had little faith in myself. In crew, the team is only as strong as the weakest link. I started as the weakest link, but my team always encouraged me. Looking back as Captain now, I am grateful for the chance Capital took on me years ago and hope to inspire others to reimagine the way they see themselves.

Juniors Summer Learn-to-Row Camp

Learn rowing at Capital Rowing Club in a free one week summer camp! No previous experience is needed. The camp will run for a half-day Monday – Friday, with the option of doing additional weeks during the summer. You can sign up for any of the weeks.
For best consideration, please fill out the interest form by May 1, 2018.
Camp Dates: 
– Session 1: Monday, July 9 – Friday, July 13
– Session 2: Monday, July 16 – Friday, July 20
– Session 3: Monday, July 23 – Friday, July 27
– Session 4: Monday, July 30 – Friday, August 3
Time: 9am-12pm
Location: Anacostia Community Boathouse, 1900 M Street SE
Ages: Rising 7th through 10th graders (or 12 – 16 years olds)
Cost: Free

Capital Rowing Club’s Summer Learn-to-Row camp is offered free to participants and comprises four week-long sessions and meets Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Anacostia Community Boathouse. Summer Learn-to-Row offers boys and girls, ages 12–17, the chance to learn rowing for the first time, to explore the Anacostia riverfront, and to build teamwork and friendships with students from across all eight DC wards.

The program is taught in a fun and supportive environment, with a goal of developing a solid foundation of rowing skills. Over the course of the week, students:

  • are introduced to basic measures of fitness and strength on the rowing machine (i.e., erg),
  • learn rowing terminology and how to handle equipment, and
  • develop a basic set of rowing skills.

Training takes place on CRC ergs and on CRC barges (i.e., eight-person training boats). The daily schedule includes warm-ups, on-the-water instruction and practice, and land-based team- and strength-building activities. On the last day of camp, students have an opportunity to race in a friendly, intramural environment. Afterward, we celebrate our achievements with an outdoor pizza party at the boathouse.

For more information, please email juniors_rep@capitalrowing.org

RaceRoundUp: 2018 San Diego Crew Classic


The Capital Men’s Competitive Program participated for the first time in the renowned San Diego Crew Classic on March 24th and 25th.   The Crew Classic could be considered the Sprint edition of the Head of the Charles Regatta with 123 High School, College and Masters teams participating over two days.  Ten men from the Comp Program trained over the winter, both indoor and on the water, to prepare for two events:  The Men’s Masters Club Championship Event (Heats and Finals); and the Men’s Masters E Event (Final only).

A unique aspect of this regatta is the length and venue.  The course is 2000 meters in Mission Bay with tides and consistent West winds typically between 8 and 12 mph proving to be an exceptionally challenging race.  Most of the men had not raced 2000 meters since college, if ever.

The men in the Masters Club Championship Eight finished third in their heat on Saturday advancing them to the eight boat final on Sunday morning where they finished a strong 7th.   Cambridge Boat Club stroked by 1968 Olympic Medalist Charlie Hamlin won the event.

The men finished a close fifth in the Men’s Master E event Sunday afternoon again with Cambridge winning the event but this time stroked by 1984/1988 Olympic medalist, Tom Darling.  This was an open event with several “rolodex” crews made up on former elite/national rowers.

Coach Guennadi was proud of the men watching them row extremely well in the challenging conditions at a stroke rate (35 spm) typically not seen until June.  To be the best, you have to row with the best, and that is indeed what they did.  The men are looking forward to the Masters National Championships in Oakland, CA where they will see many of the same very competitive West coast crews.