Annapolis Junior Rowing

Local high schoolers practice the water sport out of Annapolis Junior Rowing club.


Maddy Fangio

The varsity women’s four row in their 2021 Head of the Charles race. The women placed 53rd out of 84 boats with a time of 20 minutes 57 seconds. ¨It’s one of the biggest regattas in the world, people come from all over the place to race,¨ Broadneck senior Hannah Klein said,¨We were lucky enough to get a four.¨

Ruby Ondatje, Guest Writer

Anne Arundel students grades eight through twelve row crew out of Camp Woodlands in Annapolis, participating with non-school sponsored sports and competing during their fall season. Rowing is a historical sport that was first practiced as a sport in the 18th century in England. The objective of rowing is to push a boat with leg power through multiple large oars at the same time being led by a smaller person, the coxswain, who will steer and direct the boat. The sport of crew is a less popular sport amongst kids and teenagers but a large collegiate sport. 

¨Rowing is the absolute optimy of a team sport because you have nine or five bodies inside a boat that all have to be insync and rhythm to make the boat go forward as fast as possible,¨ Head Coach Bridget Fitzpatrick said,¨When you think about what a rowing shell looks like, it’s a really long skinny boat with these long eight foot oars hanging off of it and your seat slides up and down and you get to race¨ Fitzpatrick explained. 

Annapolis Junior Rowing is a rowing club for high school aged students in Annapolis Maryland on the South River off of the Chesapeake Bay. Because there are no school sponsored crew teams in the Anne Arundel area, AJR attracts students from many different schools, public and private.

“I’ve made so many friends on the team that I otherwise wouldn’t have met, like all the kids from the private schools,” Team Captain Hannah Klein said, ”There are so many people I wouldn’t have met and I just love the community around rowing too.”

The team typically has practice five days a week with regattas on the weekends. Regattas are large races including many different types such as fours, eights and sculling singles or doubles. During their fall season the team has longer races and a sprint season in the spring.

“Fall races are called head races, usually five to six thousand meters. It’s on a twisting course through a river against usually five to twenty boats would be a normal sized regatta,” Annapolis high school senior Ryan Fennelly said, ”I like to explain it like cross country, where fall is long distance and spring is track and more straight shot, two thousand meters.” 

When asked about the highlight of the sport, many rowers will tell you about teamwork, companionships gained but most importantly the racing.

”Racing. It makes it all worth it. If you go through a bad week of practice or just a bad time frame of rowing and you race, even if you don’t win, just that feeling of accomplishment; the endorphins, the high you get from it, it’s amazing” Fennelly said.

The rowing community contains people of all ages, some as young as middle school and others competing in grand master races of 85+ year olds. Crew brings teammates together in such a heavily teamwork focused environment.

“Something I have gained from rowing is my ability to work in a team. Without this sport you’re not doing much teamwork but in this sport that’s all you do. It’s a very huge sense of community” Severna Park freshman Sammy Madarang said.