Rowing was reintroduced in the Augusta area in 1984 when a group of community leaders began hosting a local regatta which quickly grew into a nationally recognized event. While the purpose of this event was to draw interest to the Savannah River and bring an economic impact to the city, an immediate interest began among local rowing enthusiasts who wanted to start a club themselves. Since then the club has quietly grown into a nationally recognized facility on the east coast having hosted two Olympic teams and producing several nationally ranked scholastic teams.
Interestingly, rowing has had a long history in Augusta. Beginning in 1837, when the city newspaper records nearly the entire local population lining the riverbanks to watch a three-boat race, there have been at least two other rowing clubs which were the predecessors to the modern day organization. Today, the Augusta Rowing Club has grown into a multipurpose organization which supports several programs and hosts local regattas throughout the year with the joint cooperation of both the City of Augusta and Aiken County governments. (Read More)
Taken from "A Short History of Rowing" by Thomas Mendenhall
The first documented race in rowing occurred in 1716 in London, and it was called the Dogget Coat and Badge Race. Essentially it started as a source of pride and honor between competing ferrymen who wanted to demonstrate who could move passengers or goods the fastest. However rowing began to shed its working roots and soon developed into a true sport. Eton was the first school to begin racing boats in 1811, and the first competition of any type between two universities occurred in 1829 when Oxford raced Cambridge in "The Boat Race." In the United States, the first boat club appeared in New York harbor in 1834.
Collegiate level rowing started when a Yale student purchased a second hand boat in 1843. Rowing very quickly spread across the country. Today, the Detroit Boat Club, founded in 1839, has the honor of being the oldest athletic club in the country. In 1858, boat clubs in Philadelphia organized the Schuylkill Navy, which is the oldest sporting organization still in existence. With the industrial revolution, the country's population moved to cities and sought activities in their leisure time. Horse racing and boat racing became the most popular sports. The number of regattas increased from perhaps a dozen before the Civil War to over 150 in 1872. (Learn More)