Adult Recreational Sweep Rowing

In this sweep rowing intro, rowers will kick off their rowing careers in fun, self paced, group lessons. In all of our recreational sweep programs, rowers will also be required to take turns learning to cox their own boats.

Covid-19 Update: For the safety of our community in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, CRI will only be offering sculling programming in single-person shells until future notice. See our Adult Recreational Sculling page for more information.

Intro to Rowing

Intro to Rowing is our basic introductory sweep class, which will get you on the Charles to teach you sweep rowing basics in no time. It’s perfect for people of all fitness levels and previous athletic experience! Class begins in a stable 12-person "barge" in which you will become familiar with rowing terminology and the fundamentals of technique while learning to row in a fun group environment.

Upon successful completion of Intro to Rowing, students progress to Novice Sweeps. Rowers participate in Novice Sweeps for varying amounts of time, depending on skill and comfort level. Coaches will let rowers know when they are ready to progress to General Sweeps. Rowers are welcome to continue with General Sweeps as long as they like, or if they want more of a challenge can try out for our Men’s and Women’s Competitive teams.

Some, but not all, recreational rowers move on to competitive rowing. We have recreational rowers who have been with us for many years, happy to be out on the water getting a good workout. Others spend some time in the recreational programs and then transition to our competitive teams. Yet others come to us from other programs or college rowing and go straight to our competitive programs.

CRI programs are offered year round. If you don’t see a program listed contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for additional information.


Novice Sweeps

Summary: Novice Sweeps is the intermediate step between Intro to Rowing and General Sweeps . Time is spent practicing the skills needed to transition from rowing in the barge to rowing in an 8+. There will be a wide range of progress during the term as everyone works together to build on their skills. Rowers should expect to learn coxing skills as well, which involves directing the boat from the boathouse to the water, and steering the boat during practice.

Who is this program appropriate for?: Any adult rower who has completed the Intro to Row program. Novice Sweeps is not for those who are completely new to rowing, but it does include a review of the basics to reinforce skills and knowledge from Intro to Row and may begin with rowing in the barge to assess skills.

What’s Next?: Rowers typically spend several terms in Novice Sweeps. Once an athlete is completely comfortable with the skills from our Sweeps Learning Goals and feedback from their coach, a rower may choose to participate with General Sweeps. Many rowers choose to spend time getting private lessons on the dockside rower, or building fitness and rowing skills in the indoor rowing classes. Another option is to try sculling by taking Sculling 1.

General Sweeps

Summary: General Sweeps is a fun, recreational rowing environment where participants continue to improve their rowing skills and also get a good workout in with continuous rowing during each practice. General Sweeps will have rowers with a range of skill levels depending on their ability as well as how many years they have rowed in the program. 

Each rower progresses at their own pace, so there will be a range of abilities in any program whether Intro to Row, Novice Sweeps, General Sweeps or even competitive teams. Coaches will assess rowers using our Sweeps Learning Goals as a guideline to balance and support the needs of all athletes in the program. Rowers should also expect to continue their coxing experience in General Sweeps, and take turns steering the boat.

 General sweeps is a fun environment designed so rowers continue to develop their skill and also get a good workout in during each practice. The focus of the program is application of skills during continuous rowing. While practice plans will vary from coach to coach, approximately 25% of each practice is spent on skill development and 75% on continuous rowing. 

Who is this program appropriate for? Any adult rower who completes Intro to Row and several terms of Novice Sweeps. Rowers in Novice sweeps can generally expect to participate in Novice Sweeps for a full on-water season. Coaches in Novice Sweeps will approve moving into General Sweeps when a rower has attained the necessary skills to successfully participate in General Sweeps. Participation in General Sweeps is at the discretion of the coaches. 

 What’s Next? Many rowers continue in General Sweeps indefinitely, as they enjoy the regularity of working out in a familiar group environment. Some rowers decide they want more of a challenge or perhaps some competitive experience hand have gone on to row with CRI’s Competitive Men’s and Women’s teams.

Others take advantage of CRI’s Small Class Program option and design a program that suits their needs. Sculling is another great choice. Sculling is offered either through private lessons or regular classes.

All rowers must have a swim test on file at CRI.
All rowers must pay the Facilities Fee to participate.