We serve between one and two dozen youth aged 12-18 (8th grade – 12th grade) with one volunteer coach and two assistants.  We practice 4-5 times per week, mostly at 5:30pm, at one of three locations discussed below. Our year is divided into four seasons, with the spring and the fall being the busiest competitively. We participate in competitions approximately 8 times per year. Our program is geared for youth of all ages and abilities, and everyone learns both types of rowing: sweep and sculling. A swim test is required, and 45-90 minutes of vigorous exercise is part of every session.  Beginners (novices) are brought on typically at the start of each season. There is always a coach in a nearby safety launch when youth are on the water (except in rare small-group rowing sessions when the coach rows near or with expert youth athletes). Some of the land training is conducted by the youth captains.

Coaching Philosophy
The top priorities of this program are safety, fun, exposure to all aspects of the sport of rowing and skill development. Some participants go on to row in college, but it is not the expectation. We do our best to accommodate various schedules and maintain flexibility around other youth activities, as nearly all of the youth are very busy outside of rowing. As a growing competitive team, it is also our objective to reward dedication, hard work, and attendance. Who gets to row in which boat for practices and races is a balance of these factors along with other constraints including boat availability, skill levels, regatta event schedules, fairness, and competitive aspirations.  Coaches will do their best to place each youth in at least two events at each regatta unless there are unique circumstances which would be discussed with the youth prior to the regatta. 

Signing Up
Sign up for a Youth Learn to Row day is through Event Brite (March 30 sign-up; or April 7 sign-up)

The registration platform for Des Moines Rowing is iCrew. To sign up to be on the youth rowing team, all youth members and their parents/guardians must create iCrew accounts for payment and organization. Novice Youth registration is here. New Parent/Guardian registration is here. If you have already signed up on iCrew, please use your account to login, go to the Club Home tab and scroll down to the Registration Profiles to register. Contact [email protected] for assistance.

We use three main channels of communication. Most importantly is GroupMe. After registering, please download the app and you will be invited into the chats (there is one for youth only, and a second for youth, parents/guardians, and coaches.) The second channel is email, using the addresses registered in iCrew. The third channel is within a shared Google sign-up calendar (you will receive this link once you’ve registered), which is where athletes let coaches & captains know the practices and regattas they will attend.


Seasons and Fees

  • Sessions: Spring session runs from April 1 – June 15. Summer session begins on June 16 – August 31. Fall session is September 1 – the weekend of the Frost Bite regatta in Wichita (typically the first Sunday in November). Winter session runs from December 1 through the end of March. 
  • Fees: For 2024, the spring, summer, and fall sessions each cost $390 (except Novices pay $300 for their first season). The 2024-2025 winter session will likely cost $175 and may require an optional YMCA membership (roughly one third of workouts will be held at the Wellmark Y).
  • Regattas and Traveling: in addition to the fees listed above, participants are expected to attend regattas with associated travel costs. Entry fees are included as part of club dues.  Questions about these costs can be directed to the parent organizer listed below.
  • Scholarships: families for whom these costs present a hardship may apply to the Board for scholarships. Questions about eligibility should be directed to the parent organizer listed below.

Key Upcoming Dates in 2024

  • March 30 – Saturday: Youth Learn to Row – spring session 1, 8am-11am. Sign-up here.
  • April 7 – Sunday: Youth Learn to Row – spring session 2, 8am-11am. Sign-up here
  • April 20-21 – Saturday (travel) and Sunday (comepetition and travel): Illinois Junior Rowing Championship
  • April 26-27 – Friday (travel) and Saturday (competition and travel): Camp Randall Invite (Madison, WI)
  • May 3-5 – Friday (travel), Saturday (competition), and Sunday (competition and travel): Indianapolis Junior Sprints
  • June 15 – Friday (travel) and Saturday (competition and travel): Minneapolis Sprints
  • July 12-15 – Friday (travel), Saturday (competition), and Sunday (competition and travel): US Rowing RowFest Nat’l Championships


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