SportsEvents Magazine

JUN 2017

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Page 30 of 67 June 2017 31 t SPORT Report USRowing, the national governing body for the sport of rowing in the U.S., saw a 22 percent increase in its Championship members in 2016 over 2015, according to its annual report. Total membership is up to 85,000 members who participate within its 1,300 member organizations. Growth at the junior levels also increased by more than 2,000 athletes in 2016 over 2015. Junior rowers make up more than 38,000 of USRowing members and 53 percent of its total membership. Scholarship opportunities may be the driving force of growth at the high school and college levels. Since Title IX passed in 1972, women's rowing has surged at the college level, creating more scholarships. In fact, the number of college scholarships offered is as high as 1 in 2 for female high school rowers. Boys benefit, too. About 18 percent of boys who participate in youth rowing get some form of university scholarship funding, according to Sports Facilities Advisory (SFA) and Sports Facilities Management. Last year, SFA, USRowing and RowAmerica formed an alliance to expand the sport. SFA has overseen planning and financing of more than $5 billion in sporting centers around the world. USRowing and RowAmerica provide expertise to ensure new centers are developed to meet competitive standards. CrossFit participation may also be fueling growth. As CrossFit athletes use the erg [ergometer] rowing machine in the gym, non-rowers are discovering the sport. Each time Kevin Spacey's Frank Underwood on Netflix's "House of Cards" is shown on his rowing machine, sales of the WaterRower go up. "Erg is becoming more and more a known thing," said Adam Reist, director of the "Dare to Be" documentary on women's rowing. "If you even quasi- enjoy it, it's way more fun to do it out in the water." Building a venue While half of the USRowing membership comes from the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, the sport is taking off in other regions as well. Anywhere there is a body of water – ideally a sheltered body – rowing events can take place. "As more people do it and enjoy it and find it's a really cool sport, they can try, too," Reist said. USRowing looks for two things ► rowing growing is Nathan Benderson Park will be the site of the FISA World Rowing Championships Sept. 23 through Oct. 1. in the U.S. BY TAMMY LEYTHAM Photos courtesy of Nathan Benderson Park

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