ETHS adding rowing club to sports team lineup



A new Evanston Township High School rowing program is set to launch this month, giving ETHS students of all grade levels an additional choice in athletic pursuits – and no experience is necessary for them to test the waters.

“I’m looking for anyone who is curious or interested to come out this fall,” said head coach Luciana Ruiz. “We really want to make it an inclusive program.” The goal, she explained, is a diverse crew team that truly reflects the demographics of the school.

An assortment of boats is stored outside the Dammrich Rowing Center. The ETHS rowing program will have access to two eight-person boats this year and will focus on sweep-rowing, a technique where athletes use only one oar. Credit: Nancy McLaughlin

The season begins Aug. 15 with a two-week trial period that will introduce the sport and provide basic instruction.

“That’s to extend the opportunity to row to as many people who are interested,” said Ruiz. “We’ll get the fundamentals down, get the safety requirements in place, and get some foundational strength training done before we officially go out on the water.”

The team will practice on the North Shore Channel with watercraft housed in the Skokie Park District’s Dammrich Rowing Center on the corner of Oakton Street and McCormick Boulevard. Thanks to a partnership with Northwestern University, Ruiz’s alma mater, ETHS is borrowing equipment from the collegiate crew team.

Newer, well-maintained eight-person shells, like the two ETHS will be using, can cost as much as $15,000, so the arrangement will help the fledgling program keep expenses in check. The club fee of $15 covers the cost of the required USRowing membership, but the organization will waive the fee to accommodate students from underrepresented groups.

“We are very excited to bring rowing to ETHS this school year and greatly appreciate our partnership with Northwestern Rowing and the volunteer efforts of Luciana and her incredible staff to make this a reality,” said Chris Livatino, ETHS Athletic Director.

Eventually crew team participation will be capped at 27 individuals due to equipment restrictions, according to Ruiz. Students who wish to pursue rowing beyond the two-week introduction period will be asked to commit to four days a week of after-school practice during the fall . Spring season will present an opportunity to reevaluate.



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