Adult Programs

The Marin Rowing Association has a variety of programs for adults, whether you are new to the sport of rowing or want to jump back in a boat.

Whether you are interested in sculling (an oar in each hand, such as in a single) or sweep (one oar you grip with both hands, such as in an eight-person shell), the Marin Rowing Association can get you started.

What is your experience level:  I’m New To Rowing I Have Rowing Experience


Programs for Adults Learning to Row

The following developmental levels are designed to support athlete development with an emphasis on teaching and improving technical skills, fitness training, increasing strength, flexibility and injury prevention. The focus at the early stages is on important development of skills, the focus at the later stages are on racing and boat speed. Every level is important and plays a critical role in the appropriate and safe development of the athlete. Advancement from team to team is explained in the discussion of each level.

Learn Sculling in a Private Lesson

Sculling is rowing in a single shell with two oars, as opposed to sweep rowing, which takes place in a bigger shell (8- or 4-person) with one oar per person. Sculling lessons are offered at all times throughout the year by our sculling coaches. Lesson prices run $75 for a single, $85 for a double for non-members and $70 for a single, $80 for a double for members. To schedule a sculling lesson please email at felixdmeier@gmail.com.

Note: If you wish to cancel or reschedule your private lesson, 24 hours advanced notice is required. Cancellations within 12 hours will be responsible for 1/2 the cost of the lesson.  Cancellations within 3 hours will be responsible for paying the full lesson amount.

What You’ll Learn In a Private Sculling Lesson

Below is the basic structure of each lesson in a checkout series:

Lesson One:
Indoors in the boathouse and on the erg.  Start with a brief tour of facility.  Look at map of creek.  Have student sign liability waiver. Cover differences between sweep and sculling, and elaborate on what programs in each the MRA offers.  Go over which oars to use, and the three levels of sculling shells the club has.  Ascertain whether there are any structural issues the student may have that will affect performance (i.e. old knee injury, back, etc.)  Go upstairs and teach the basic stroke, with an emphasis on postural stability and lower back safety.  Define basic terms, including “weigh enough” and “weigh enough hold water”.  Explain how body position affects oar handling, balance, and glide.  Explain motion of the boat.  Row side by side continuously for at least 5-10 minutes.  Explain how to use the erg computer to facilitate a workout.  Encourage practice in between first and second lesson, and ask that student come ten minutes early immediately prior to next lesson to practice on the machine alone.  Go over times when the student can use the erg without interfering in team practices.

Lesson Two:
Carry oars and boat down.  Explain traffic pattern (three lanes).  Point out landing pattern.  Explain traffic pattern again, and emphasize safety.  Demonstrate how to adjust stretchers, put oars in correctly.  Coach demonstrates stroke in boat first.  Go over hand position on oar, angle of blade, stability and balance.  Explain/demonstrate basic steering (i.e. arm only rowing on one side.  Once on water can have student learn to “check” to steer.)  Have student get in boat and go through feathering and squaring, balance, motion of recovery and drive.  Here I figure out whether a student can then safely leave the dock on their own, with me in a launch.  Sometimes the answer is no, and we spend the whole lesson at the dock.  If the answer is yes, then go over traffic pattern, and landing procedure, and off they row in the aero and the coach in the launch.  Coach basic stroke, blade handling, steering.  Nip in the bud any technical errors that will lead to injury.  Teach how to do a pivot turn.  Help with landing from the launch.  Encourage student to land without help from anyone on the dock.  Show how to wash the boat with soap and water on both sides, and dry.  Oars need to be rinsed and handles bleached if bleach is available.  Remind student that this boat care must be done each and every time boat is used.

Lesson Three:
If the student did not leave the dock in Lesson Two, then the series will extend to five lessons.  If the student was successful in rowing on the water in lesson two, then lesson three becomes a practice session.  Student should, with coach assistance, set up oars and stretcher properly.    Go over safety and traffic pattern one more time.  Spend the whole of this lesson on the water.  As with lesson two, emphasis is on safety, steering, increasing comfort level in the boat, and the development of good technical habits.  Emphasis on lower back stability and safety.  Land without help, or minimal help, from the coach.  Several tries if necessary.  Go over what the student must do in the final lesson to “pass.”  If lesson three is successful, then proceed to checkout in four.  If lesson three is not successful, then the series extends to five and lesson four become a practice session as above.

Final Lesson:
Start on land.  Go over sign out book, damage log, tide book, weather and wind patterns (i.e., when is it safe to row).  Novice scullers are not allowed to row when the tide is below 1(one) foot for safety reason (plus it is no fun).   Explain how to find tide chart on line, and go over how to read tides so they know when 1 foot or lower is. Look at map of creek again. Talk about what clothes to wear, especially as the weather gets colder. Go over what to do if boat flips.

Emphasize the following:

  • Stay with boat!
  • Swim boat to shore:  Go over how to get in boat from the mud, and how to get in from a high private dock.
  • Once in, go back to dock immediately, no matter how long you have been out or what the weather is.
  • If student is out and sees someone else flip, stay with that sculler until that person is safely back in boat and headed home.
  • Novice scullers are not allowed past the 101 bridge unless they are either with a coaching launch, or under the guidance of a very experienced sculler.  I try and discourage beginners from going out into the bay for at least six months, no matter how much assistance they have, as the water is unpredictable, the shore far away, and the ferries are big!

Go over times that the novice may use the boathouse and the boats.  See below:

  • Ergs and weights starting at 5:30 am to 3:30 during the school year, M-F.
  • They may scull on the creek only after 7-7:30 am when the sweep teams come back.  This is a vital safety issue.  Encourage scullers to complete their workout prior to lunch, when the boathouse traffic thins and it will be hard to find help carrying the boat.  They may not scull after 3:30 when the junior teams arrive.
  • Weekends are more open, although 8:30 am on Saturdays is a dicey time.
  • Answer any questions.

Time to row! The student must choose correct oars and boat on their own.  Must set up boat properly without help.  Must row on the creek without being excessively reminded to stay on correct side.  Must be able to do a pivot turn (ex. port to back, starboard to row) in a full circle, in both directions.  Must demonstrate ability to back the boat.  Must land without help.

If lesson is successful, contact Chris Leonard, the MRA’s office manager, at chris@marinrowing.org and join as a temporary member.  Encourage new sculler to row for the first time alone when you are giving someone else a lesson, so that you can keep a friendly eye on them and help.  If this is not possible, then arrange for them to go with another novice or experienced sculler for a “buddy” that first time.

The Competitive Novice Team

Tuesday and Friday 5:40 – 7:15am and Saturday 6:45am – 8:45am

Requirements: Proficiency in sculling, completion of MRA summer program or learn-to-row workshop, or acceptance by coach. This co-ed, coached program focuses on increasing fitness and technical skills, equipment handling and water safety. Basic rowing skills are taught and technical development is encouraged, boat handling skills on land and on the water are taught, along with water safety, general fitness, flexibility,  strength training and injury prevention. Learning to scull and cox will be included at this level. Inter & intra club racing is available in the Fall, racing in the Spring and Summer events will be in the beginning category only.  Following a year in on the Novice team, athletes move to the Intermediate team. No selection process is required to join the novice team unless the numbers are too high (over 20).

We start a new group of adult athletes in the Novice program in October of each year. If you are interested in joining our adult sweep team please contact Coach Felix Meier at felixdmeier@gmail.com.


Programs for Experienced Rowers

The Marin Rowing Association has a vibrant sculling community, and organized sweep teams for every level of rowing.  Whether you were a rower in college and want to get back into the sport, or you learned rowing on the club’s adult Novice Team and you are looking for more of a challenge, the MRA has a program for you.


If you have prior sculling experience and you would like to use the club’s equipment, take a check out lesson with coach Felix Meier (felixdmeier@gmail.com) so that you may be cleared to use club equipment on your own. Once you have been cleared, you can take out the club’s singles, or row with other club members in a double or quad. The MRA has an active sculling community!

If you would like to improve your technique, the MRA offers individual sculling lessons. Sculling lessons are available by appointment only. To schedule a lesson, contact Sculling Coach Felix Meier at 415-461-1431 or at felixdmeier@gmail.com.


The club has organized, coached teams targeting every skill level of sweep rower.  Club membership is required to row on a team,and each program is limited in size. Participation in the summer programs does not guarantee entry into the club and try-outs are held for adults interested in joining our competitive teams in the Fall.

Intermediate Level Rowing

Tuesday and Thursday 5:30 – 7:30am and Sat. 6:30 – 8:30am

Requirements: 1 year of rowing experience or a qualified sculler and acceptance by coach.

This co-ed, coached program is for rowers moving up from the Novice team or experienced rowers from another club. Emphasis will be on improving rowing skills and fitness level. Limited racing is scheduled by the Director. Refining and improving technical skill development  is the focus of this level,  with an increasing focus on fitness levels and strength requirements. Basic racing skills are introduced at lower rates. Inter & intra club racing is encouraged to learn racing skill, and limited local racing at regattas is optional. These are coed programs.


Intermediate Level Rowing – Mid-Morning

Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8:30-10:15am

Requirements: 1 year of rowing experience or a qualified sculler and acceptance by coach.

This coached program is for rowers who do not have their early mornings free but can make a mid-morning practice.  This is a women’s coached program for rowers moving up from the Novice team or experienced rowers from another club. Emphasis will be on refining and improving technical skill development as well as maintaining and increasing fitness and strength.  Basic racing skills are introduced at lower rates. Inter & intra club racing is encouraged to learn racing skill, and limited local racing at regattas is optional.

Advanced Level B

Wednesday and Friday 5:30 – 7:30am, Sat. 6:30 – 8:30am

Requirements: At least 1-2 years of rowing experience and acceptance by coach. A try-out is required to ensure that the athlete is ready to participate at this level.

This co-ed, coached program is for rowers moving up from the Intermediate Program or experienced rowers from another club who are interested in competitive rowing. If you are interested in trying out for Advanced Level B,  first talk to your coach to ask if they feel you are ready to move up.  If they agree that you have the skills necessary to fit into the next level, they will recommend you to the coach of that program.

You will be given a try-out period and the coach will determine if you have the required skills needed to move onto the next level. The selection process will include a combination of technical ability (do you have a good basic understanding of the rowing stroke), fitness (erg score), potential (size to strength ratio), coachability(do you listen, can you make changes) and leadership ability (aka sportsmanship, attitude, team participant).

Advanced Level B has a strong focus on technique as well as fitness and competition. The team races at local regattas, and selection and testing are required.

The focus of this team is to introduce an athlete, wishing to eventually move up to the Advanced Level A, to the world of selection and expectations.  The continued refinement of rowing technique and skills, development of sport specific training, learning to seat race, erg testing, increased racing skills and higher ratings are the required focus.  The time it will take an athlete to get prepared at this level to move on into Advanced Level A is unknown and depends on the ability of the athlete.  Athletes in this program must continue to work towards improvement and advancement. Athletes will remain in this program if the higher level programs are full and the timing of moving up depends on the schedule of the upper program.  This team is co-ed, with boats separated by gender when available.

Advanced Level A

Women: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 5:30 – 7:30am, Sat. 6:30 – 8:30am
Men: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 5:30 – 7:15am, Sat. 6:30– 8:30am

Requirements: At least 3 years of rowing experience and acceptance by coach.

The Advanced Level A teams focus on competitive training and racing. There are separate teams for men and women. Technical ability, fitness level and flexibility must be high. The coach’s selections will be based on technique, strength, fitness and commitment. Ergometer tests, additional workouts, land training, weekend time and travel fees are required. A try-out is required to ensure that the athlete is ready to participate at this level.

The selection process will include erg score and seat racing comparisons to like age of +/- 5 years, technical proficiency and “coachability”, attitude, leadership, team and sportsmanship.

These teams focus on competitive training, selection and racing at an advanced level. Technical proficiency, fitness levels, strength and flexibility must be high. Ergometer tests, seat racing, additional workouts, land training, weekend time and travel fees are required. A try-out is required to ensure that the athlete is ready to participate at this level.

The Advanced Men and Advanced Women teams competes in regattas regionally, as well as well-known regattas such as the San Diego Crew Classic, the Head of the Charles, FISA championships, Henley, and others.



How To Join The Club

If you are interested in joining the club, contact Chris Leonard, the MRA’s office manager, at maggie@marinrowing.org or call her at 415-461-1431 for more information.