On Campus

The SSU Crew Just Keeps on Rowing and Growing

rowing on the Petaluma RiverEarly morning rowing on the Petaluma River.

pdf version

Four years ago an athletic tradition began that would drive an ever increasing number of SSU athletes to push themselves harder, farther, and faster than any of them thought possible. To be a member of this group is to wake up for pre-dawn practice six days a week to work out on cold, chilly mornings on the Petaluma River.

This is the tradition of the Sonoma State University Rowing Club.

In the four years since its inception, the Sonoma Crew has pulled themselves forward year by year, stroke by stroke. The hard work resulted in the birth of a rivalry with UC Davis and a varsity Division II championship in the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association conference for the women’s team. As a whole, the teams saw sixth and 11th place finishes out of 54 schools for women and men respectively in the prestigious Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia. The club has also been fortunate enough to increase their coaching staff from one to four coaches for four teams of rowers, and to see the continued success of each successive class of novice athletes.

The improvement of the club can be attributed to the dedication of its athletes and coaches and to the generosity of its donors. With a yearly club budget of nearly $100,000, 90% of which comes from dues and fundraising, athletes and coaches work tirelessly to raise funds while training rigorously for victory in their busy practice and racing schedule.

The club accomplishes this by collecting pledges for distance rows and performing odd-jobs in the community with their program “Rent-a-Rower.” Last year the club received a donation of $50,000 from Bob and Sue Johnson to help in these efforts and to bolster the equipment budget and capital infrastructure.

The team is poised for another great season in this the fourth year of competition. The varsity women have their sights set on keeping their WIRA trophy and are working to become an NCAA recognized sport. The men will battle schools like UC Davis and Stanford to maintain a reputation as one of the most successful young programs in the western United States. The club is also working with the school to create on-campus land training facilities and hopes to break ground on a new aquatic center on the Petaluma River within five years.