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Week 130 - Tacoma Rowing


For the 130th week of "7 QUESTION SUNDAY" we shine the spotlight on another influential individual from the PNW. Dave Harvey is the found of Tacoma Rowing a program to build community through the sport of rowing.

4EVRGRN: Hey, DH! Tell us a little about yourselves.

DH: We started in 2021, Tacoma Rowing was born in a pandemic and designed to be different. Our mission (empowering youth and building community through rowing) is woven into everything that we do. We believe that everyone who wants to row should be able to. Last week, we signed an agreement with MetroParks allowing us to move our equipment onto their property at the future Waterway Park site on Foss Waterway. This will significantly increase our capacity to serve the community. We are also pleased to work with the George Pocock Rowing Foundation to help bring the ErgEd program to the Tacoma Public Schools in 2022. 

What's something someone new to rowing should be prepared for before joining?

DH: You will probably find something about it that you love. Some people find it very therapeutic to be out on the water performing a rhythmic motion, some like the competition or team atmosphere; some like pushing themselves physically; some like the challenge of balancing power and endurance with technique. The sport has something for almost everyone. 

What barriers do you hope to break to make rowing an inclusive activity?

DH: Historically, cost, swimming ability/water confidence and transportation have relegated the sport to wealthy neighborhoods, prep schools and elite universities. We are working with partners to reduce those barriers as well as ensuring athletes have access to healthy snacks and appropriate gear. We have set up our programming to create relationships across traditional socioeconomic boundaries as well. We believe in the tremendous teaching power of the sport. However, we recognize that the sport has only scratched the surface of its potential impact due to the limited percentage of the population that has had access.

      We also recognize the need to help grow and diversify the coaching and leadership pipelines in the sport. So, we have programs and policies in place to do that. 

Who can participate in rowing activities?

DH: Rowing is for everyone. If you attend a race, you will see athletes as young as 12 and over 80 competing. You will see people of all shapes and sizes. If you are willing to show up with a positive attitude and work hard, we have a place for you. While we will only offer traditional youth and adult rowing in 2022, we are looking to add adaptive rowing and veteran-specific programs in 2023.     

     No experience is necessary. Teaching people to row is one of our favorite things. We start with the basics on land, but get you on the water as quickly as possible. 

     We are also happy to create on-water learn-to-row events for small groups or bring rowing machines to a church, community center or school.

How can people get involved in Tacoma Rowing?

DH: People can check out our website at www.tacomarowing.org, email info@tacomarowing.org or message us on Instagram (@tacomarowing). We will be adding programs as we grow. We are always looking for volunteers to lend professional expertise or time.


What skills does rowing teach young members of our community?

DH: You will often hear people say that rowing is the ultimate team sport and we really believe that. There are no superstars. Your boat is only as fast as your slowest member. Even getting a 60 foot long, 200 pound boat into the water requires a lot of communication and teamwork. Once in the water, you really have to be focused and in synch with your teammates. Trust and communication are absolutely critical. 

     In training or a race, as you fatigue, the real learning and growth takes place. It is in the moments that you want to ease up but you, instead, choose to push through the discomfort for the good of the team that you learn your true mental and physical limits.

Favorite place to row in the PNW? 

DH: The Montlake Cut is really special. There are not many venues with a big fanbase, close proximity to athletes from two sides and above (from the bridge).

What is unique about PNW rowing culture? 

DH: PNW rowing culture is very collaborative. Coaches are great about trying to help programs grow and become more competitive. I think some of this has to do with the history, prevalence and culture of the UW rowing programs. In contrast, on the east coast, the structure and culture of competition at the high school and collegiate levels is very different. There is also a great mix here of racing on flat water (rivers and lakes) versus open water (with events such as the Seventy48).

Follow or join Tacoma Rowing on Instagram @tacomarowing and their Website: www.tacomarowing.org