Recovery on Water always welcomes new members. No one on our team rowed previous to joining ROW. Everyone comes to our team as a beginner!

To join us for a practice, contact us! Let us know you’re interested and we can fill you in on practices, tell you what to bring and answer any questions you may have.

We have two people you can reach out to:  Sue Ann, co-founder of ROW, breast cancer survivor and our Membership Coordinator: 847.332.2519 or Coach Sheena at

To learn more about ROW before your first practice, thumb through our member packet found here:

Recovery on WaterMembershipPacket2015

We have recently updated our programs to include three different squads to meet the varying needs and interests of our members. 

All new members are required to start out in ROW 1:

  • ROW 1 is dedicated to new members and to current ROW members who wish to improve their basic skills. (They will have the option to compete in 1 or more regattas if they choose)
  • ROW 2 is for veteran members who wish to row for general fitness and to occasionally compete in regattas, focusing on exercise.
  • ROW 3 is made up of ROW veterans and/or individuals with previous rowing experience who wish to practice and compete at a more competitive level, focusing on training and racing.

*Please note: members may have the ability to move in or out of these groups, based on desire/skill and assessment by coaches.

While ROW offers several practices a week year round.  Each squad is unique and fits a variety of fitness levels and interests.


  • Sunday mornings, 9:30 am @ROW Headquarters with Coach Barb and Devlin
  • Monday nights, 6 pm @ROW Headquarters with Coach Erin
  • Tuesday nights, 6 pm @ Northshore Fitness with Coach Donna
  • Wednesday nights, 6 pm @ROW Headquarters with Coach Erin
  • Thursday nights, 6 pm @ROW Headquarters with Coach Sheena
  • Saturday mornings 8 am @Northshore fitness with Coach Amy
ROW Headquarters is located at inside the Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 West 35th Street, Chicago IL. There is a large and free parking lot available for you. Please enter the building through the Racine Street entrance and go up to the third floor. If you get lost, give us a call at 312.505.3568.
Northshore Fitness is located at 905 Ridge Road, Wilmette, IL.


Frequently Asked Questions and Answers What do I wear for rowing? It is important that you wear snug clothing so that nothing gets caught in the sliding seat. When outdoors, dress in layers to provide enough warmth while getting boats ready for launching and then remove layers as you warm up. Wear socks and easily removable footwear. You will leave your shoes on the dock and use the shoes that are attached to the boat. Most of our rowers wear spandex shorts or pants and bring a cover-up for when we’re not on the water.

Are there different types of rowing?

There are two types of rowing – sweep rowing and sculling.  In sweep rowing, each rower uses only one oar.  The most commonly used boats are fours and eights, with a coxswain on board to help steer the boat. In sculling, the rower uses two smaller oars.  The boats are referred to as a “single” (one rower), a double (two rowers) or a quad (4 rowers). Sculling boats do not have a coxswain but sweep rowing boats do utilize a coxswain. ROW offers both of these kinds of rowing to its members, but we primarily practice sweep rowing.

What parts of the body are most stressed in rowing?

One of the beauties of rowing is that it exercises most muscle groups of the body—the legs, back and core, arms, shoulders, and hands. Although there is no hard impact on the body, such as in running or contact sports, the lower back is vulnerable in rowing. Proper warm up and stretching can prevent most back injuries, as well as building and maintaining a strong core.

What if I don’t have a lot of body strength?

Rowing can be enjoyed at a wide range of strength levels. Since the main power comes from your legs, not your arms, and since most people have more strength in their legs and upper body, you will do just fine. Many current ROW members started without an athletic background.

How long will it take until I “get it” ?

It will take some time, and that is more than okay! No one on our team knew how to row before joining, and everyone learns at different speeds. Working out on the erg will build the muscles and skill you’ll need for water practices. It takes a few water practices to grow confident, but you’ll get there! Be patient. What if I can’t lift the boat or have weight on my shoulders? That is not a problem. We have volunteers who are here to help carry boats and make practice run smoother. You are not required to do anything you aren’t comfortable with.

Do I have to race?

ROW team members do not have to compete. We encourage members to participate in races or cheer on their teammates—but it is not mandatory to compete or attend regattas.

What if I tip the boat over?

This is almost impossible to do! The long oars act as outriggers and stabilize the boat. Even though the boat may feel wobbly, you will soon get used to it and learn how to “set” the boat evenly in the water. There is always a coaching launch following the boat carrying flotation, first aid and other safety equipment.

How long are the boats and what are they made of?

The longest boat (or “shell”) is an “eight” and is around 59 feet long. Shells are made out of fiberglass and carbon to reduce weight, maintain stiffness, and handle stress.The heaviest shell weighs around 250 lbs. and is carried by eight people. The lightest shell- a single- weighs around 35 lbs. and can be carried by one person. Like automobiles, shells are manufactured by many companies with varying methods of construction and materials.