Bay City Rowing Club

‘in their own words’

Anna at signing celebration with Coach Amber at Dow High – University of Texas
Anna signing with University of Texas
Anna rowing in the bow seat at the University of Texas.
Anna rowing in the bow seat at the University of Texas.

BCRC’s Great Lakes Bay Crew Spotlights

Anna Jensen:
Midland Dow High School 2020 Graduate

“I decided to try rowing after Coach Amber came to my high school (Dow High) and gave a talk about starting up a high school rowing team in the area.  I thought rowing seemed like a really cool sport.  The combination of strength, endurance and rhythm was something that interested me.  Little did I know I would fall in love with the sport!  I love rowing in Bay City. I’ve met some of my best friends from rowing at BCRC.  It was such a positive experience for me.  I am so thankful to have all of the memories from starting out as a novice to signing with the University of Texas to row.  I am also so thankful to have had Amber as a coach.  She always believed in me and helped me discover my potential.

I decided I wanted to row in college after just one season of rowing at Bay City.  I did a 2k erg test and it went pretty well, so I decided to pursue the recruiting process.  It was such an exciting experience!  Not only do college coaches look for athletes with strong rowing backgrounds, but they also look at athletes  new to the sport that have strong athletic backgrounds in other sports.  In my case, this was swimming, cross country and track.  I knew I wanted to do a sport in college and I chose to pursue rowing because of the team aspect, its competitive nature and my amazing experience rowing at BCRC.

I am currently a freshman rowing at the University of Texas and I am loving it!  This is a really exciting year for us as we have a really strong team and have our eyes set on becoming NCAA champions.  I’ve learned so much already and have adjusted really well to the new level of training.  My teammates are incredible and have really pushed me to become the best rower and person I can be.”

Sophie at signing celebration table at Bay City Western – Adrian College
Sophie at signing celebration table at Bay City Western – Adrian College - Adrian, MI
Sophie stroking a Woman’s 4+ at Adrian College (Neon shirt).

Sophie Suchodolski:  
Auburn – Bay City Western High School 2020 Graduate

“What made me try rowing was Carol (BCRC board member) came to my high school and had a table out during our lunch period. I was already involved in my school cheerleading and dance team at the time, however, I am always willing to try something new. I thought why not go to the open house and see what rowing is about? At the BCRC open house Coach Amber gave a quick informative PowerPoint presentation about rowing and I knew I wanted to continue. We then tried using the ergs and I instantly fell in love with the sport!

What I like about rowing and rowing in Bay City is that the sport is very rewarding. The amount of work you put in shows on how well you pull erg splits and how well you move the boat. I also love how much of a team sport rowing is. You all have to work hard together and have the same mindset to have a successful boat and race. Rowing is also a stress reliever for myself. Being able to row on the water with your teammates and focusing on proper technique always makes me forget about what is going on outside of practice. Rowing in Bay City was always interesting. You never knew if you would see a huge freighter boat or get hooked by a fishing hook from the fisherman along the rocks. My favorite experience was rowing alongside the Tall Ships and the U.S.S Edson.

I decided to row at the college level because I fell in love with the sport and wanted to continue my rowing career. During the recruiting process I had the amazing opportunity to row at Division I schools but ultimately picked rowing for Adrian College at the Division 3 level. After talking to the head coaches about how they run their program, seeing the incredible brand new boathouse and meeting the team, I knew I wanted to be part of the Adrian Crew!

My first year of rowing has been a huge learning experience. With Covid-19 affecting everyone, we started the year by rowing with only our roommate in a double. We each received new Bat Logic shoes that fit us and we can use in any boat. To row for Adrian College meant I had to learn a new rowing style. Even though I was out of my comfort zone, I was able to pick up on it. The amount of meters we row for an average rowing piece is around 15-17K, which is a lot more compared to high school rowing. We are now rowing in fours with masks and are in the midst of winter training. We lift three days a week and practice every day but Sunday. For our spring break we are heading to Orlando to row at Rollins University for some on the water practice.”

Natalie at signing celebration with her parents – University of Notre Dame - Indiana
Natalie at signing celebration with her parents – University of Notre Dame - Indiana
Natalie rowing on the Saginaw River – BCRC 2020
Natalie rowing on the Saginaw River – BCRC 2020

Natalie Hoefer
Midland High School 2021 Graduating Class

“I decided to try rowing because the idea of trying a new sport really excited me, especially because rowing is a water sport. I had been dealing with some frustrating running injuries during my track season and Anna Jensen suggested that I give rowing a try. Those injuries were almost like a blessing in disguise because they led me to try rowing and I quickly fell in love with the sport. I have been a swimmer for over nine years and I love any sport that includes water in any way, which is one of the reasons why I enjoy rowing so much. In addition, I love that it is a very team oriented sport. You and your teammates must work together and be synchronized in order to move the boat and have a successful practice or race. The Bay City Rowing Club does a wonderful job of not only teaching teens how to row, but also facilitating a positive and team-oriented atmosphere. Being a part of the Bay City Rowing Club has led me to meet some of my best friends, given me amazing experiences, and has opened many doors for my future. 

This past November 2020, I signed my National Letter of Intent to row at the University of Notre Dame starting in the Fall of 2021. Not only do I get to attend my dream school, but I get to do the sport that I love, as well. It was a dream come true and I cannot wait to get to campus and get to work! I decided to row in college because I simply love the sport and because I want to be a part of a team full of girls who are driven and strong just like me. In addition, staying active through athletics and having my team as a support system will only help as I tackle a rigorous academic schedule at Notre Dame. The journey to becoming a collegiate rower is daunting and takes endless amounts of hard work, but I know that every minute will be worth it because I am right where I belong.”

Regional High School Rowing Program

Great Lakes Bay Crew is the perfect opportunity for High School students to experience and excel at the sport of rowing through the Bay City Rowing Club.

We are inviting and accepting all students from the Bay, Saginaw, Midland and surrounding areas of the Great Lakes Bay Region to join us this year with their friends and classmates. Do you have a friend and classmate interested in learning to row? Ask them to join you for:

  • An outdoor activity that works the body and mind!
  • An opportunity to meet and row with other students in the region!
  • An amazing addition to college applications and a potential for college scholarships!


Ready to Join GLB Crew?  

We are excited that this season (2021) we will be offering a six week program for students interested in learning to row!  The session will start on May 20 and conclude on June 26th with a Regatta in Grand Rapids.  Practices will be on Weds, Thurs or Friday afternoon/evenings and Saturday mornings.  Practice times are shown on page 2 of the 2021- Application New Rowers Session 1 see link below.  To reserve you student’s place in the session, complete the online payment and follow the registration process described below.  Another session might be available in July and August, Contact us to be placed on a notification list for a later session, or if you have any questions.

Registration process 

*IMPORTANT* To maintain a safe environment for our student participants and to adhere to US Rowing guidelines, we require some information for participation. Please follow the step-by-step instructions carefully to ensure you have the necessary information submitted for your high school student to participate in rowing.

  1. Register online and complete the payment (below). Contact us for alternative payment options.
  2. Download the 2021- Application New Rowers Session 1, the HS Medical Form and the Covid Agreement (print, fill-out, sign and mail to Club Treasurer P.O. Box 615, Bay City MI 48707-0615) or hand-in to coach on first day of session.
  3. Read through Club Polices and Safety Rules, Club Safe Sport Policy and BCRC Rowing Protocol documents.
  4. Register your student for a US Rowing Basic membership and sign US Rowing online waiver, at  https://membership.usrowing.org using BCRC’s Club Code – YLLV6.  Record you student’s US Rowing number for future reference.

Online payment and registration (in addition to the payment information, the rower’s name is required to be input here)


Do I need to need to sign up for a BCRC Membership?

No, high school crew members do not have to sign up for a separate BCRC membership, this is included in the program fee.

Why do I need a US Rowing basic membership?

Our club adheres to all US Rowing club policies and procedures.  As a requirement of our US Rowing liability insurance, all BCRC members and Great Lakes Bay Crew participants must have a US Rowing Basic membership.  This carries a small fee, roughly $10.

Is there a registration deadline?

Typically, our program fills up quickly.  Signing up online is the best way to reserve a spot.  If registration is not active online, please use the Contact us form and you will be notified when online registration is open.  If the session you are interested in is full or already started, please contact us to be put on a waiting list.

Do I need to know how to swim?

Since rowing is a water sport, there is a possibility though small that the boat could capsize and you might end up in the water. You should be able to swim 50 yards and be able to tread water for 5 minutes.  Our coaches will be in a launch boat accompanying the rowing boats and have PFDs in the event of an emergency. If you are not confident in your swimming ability we do have compact PFDs that can be worn while rowing.  Please discuss this with your coach at the first practice or before.

What should I bring with me to practice?

Comfortable exercise clothes, socks and a water bottle are a must. No baggy shirts, shorts or pants as these can get stuck in the equipment.  If the weather is nice, we also recommend a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. If the weather is windy or colder, it helps to have an extra layer of clothing like a wind-breaker or light long-sleeve jacket. Optional items would include a change of clothes (sometimes you can get splashed with water) and extra shoes or flip-flops.

Do I need to be in good physical shape to sign-up?

With rowing, there is no perfect place to start. Whether you consider yourself physically fit or not, we encourage you to learn the sport to see how you like it. Rowing will challenge you both mentally and physically, fitness will improve with time.

Where does rowing practice take place?

All class sessions are held at our boathouse on Middlegrounds Island in Bay City (a map is available on our Contact page). Practices involve both indoor and outdoor training. We row on the Saginaw River, and we might travel a few miles north or south on the river while rowing. Any on-land or indoor practice will happen in, or close by, our boathouse.

Is there a safe place to keep my belongings?

Our boathouse has both men’s and women’s locker rooms, and both have individual lockers that are available for temporary use at no charge. However, our boathouse is always locked while we are on the water, so many of our members leave their belonging on the benches in the locker rooms without any worry. If you’d like the use of a locker, make sure you ask when coming to your first class.  

What if I have to miss a practice?

We understand you may have to miss a day, and that’s fine. It will be your responsibility to let the rowing coach know as soon as possible. 

Will rowing practice be cancelled if the weather is bad?

Canceling a day of rowing is highly unlikely. We have the ability to practice both indoors and outdoors, so even if weather doesn’t allow for rowing on the river, you will still practice indoors at the boathouse on rowing machines. If a class must be canceled, your coach will send an email (or text) as early as possible to let everyone know.

Midland Baseball Foundation 

The Bay City Rowing Club’s Great Lakes Bay Crew would like to thank the Midland Baseball Foundation for their generous donation to our program in 2019.  This donation allowed us to purchase a coach launch boat, motor and dolly.  We were presented with the check at a Loons baseball game at the Dow Diamond!

Physical Address

350 West Lafayette Avenue
Bay City, MI 48706

(Across from the Boys & Girls Club
of the Great Lakes Bay Region)

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 615
Bay City, MI 48707-0615



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