Growing Rowing: San Diego Club welcoming new members

San Diego City Championship: Men’s Varsity 4+. Courtesy Photos

By Rob LeDonne

On most days amid the picture-perfect conditions of Mission Bay, you’ll find a bunch of rowers, ages 13-80, who are all part of the nationally-known San Diego Rowing Club, an organization that seeks to impart the wisdom, art and craft of being a world- class rower.

In continuous operation since 1888, the club is now headed in part by Chris Callaghan, the director of rowing and Junior Head Coach, who has a passion for the sport.

“Teaching kids is tons of fun,” he explains from the rowing club’s headquarters. “You get to watch people grow and develop, see boys form into men, and have a positive influence on lives in general.”

Callaghan didn’t begin rowing until after high school, but after he started as a walk-on while attending Oregon State University, he quickly became a part of the collegiate team, and then the national team for two years.

“I was rowing on the East Coast, and when I decided to move back out west I was looking for jobs and the club here happened to have an opening,” Callaghan remembers. He applied, and the rest is history.

The Rowing Club is broken up into a variety of teams divided by age. For the high school-aged rowers, Callaghan says “crew is unlike any other after-school activity. You have to practice five or six days a week, and it’s never just a sitting-on-the-bench sport; everyone practices every day.”

Training gets even more strenuous before big competitions, and races themselves are “usually a day or two long, and go from seven in the morning to around six at night, with 60 or 70 races a day.”

Most recently, the club traveled to a meet in Tempe, Arizona and came home with 14 gold medals. In addition, for the second week in a row, the junior team won an overall trophy. At another meet in San Diego Bay, the club completed the exact same feat: winning another 14 gold medals and the overall winning trophy.

Among the many North County residents that row, Callaghan says he considers Torrey Pines High School senior Harrison Schneider a stand-out and “one of our fastest guys.” After graduating from Torrey Pines, Harrison plans to pursue rowing in college and was recently recruited by Yale University to be a part of its lightweight program.

On the girls’ side, rower and Torrey Pines High School senior Gabriella Baracchini is also planning on continuing the sport after graduation, and was recruited by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) to be a part of its crew team.

“On the woman’s side, there are lots of scholarships for college. If you have the ability for the sport, there’s a good chance you can get a scholarship,” Callaghan said.

In recent years, the San Diego Rowing Club has grown in size — a point of pride for Callaghan, who noted that “more and more athletes are becoming more and more competitive.”

Perhaps that competitiveness comes from the instructors; aside from Callaghan, Susan Francia is the Junior Women’s Head Coach and also happens to be a two-time U.S. Olympian for rowing.

Above all, it’s all about getting fit and having fun. “Fitness is a huge benefit; you won’t see too many overweight rowers. Even if you start out overweight, the more you train your health will improve over time,” said Callaghan, who said they welcome beginners with open arms to their 100-plus year tradition. “It’s a great sport to learn at your own pace. You usually start in a boat yourself, and get a great view to boot since you’re right on the bay. There’s 200 members in our club, so there’s always someone to row with.”

San Diego Rowing Club

■ 125th Anniversary Party: 5:30-9:30 p.m. June 7, 2013, Mission Beach Boathouse

■ Contact: (858) 488-1893

■ Websites: for adults for junior divisions

San Diego City Championship: Women’s Varsity 8+

Related posts:

  1. La Jollans help host 40th San Diego Crew Classic on Mission Bay
  2. Torrey Pines Rotarian completes cross-country bike ride
  3. Disabled Sailing Championships set for Oct. 26-28 at San Diego Harbor
  4. WindanSea Surf Club hosts Father Joe's Kids at La Jolla Shores
  5. Schlicher wins La Jolla Tour of Bouys; Tanner victory voided

Short URL:

Posted by Staff on Jun 6, 2013. Filed under Outdoors, Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

La Jolla Community Calendar


Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Summer 2014 Carmel Valley Open Basketball League Champs: ‘Carmel Valley Spurs’ August 30, 2014
    On Aug. 18, the Carmel Valley Spurs defeated the Solana Beach Stray Cats, 67-41, in the 5th/6th grade championship game in the Master Sports Carmel Valley OPEN Basketball League. Over a 10-game season, the offense scored 659 points while giving up only 364 on defense. The average game score was 66-36. They had the best rebounders, best shooters, and best def […]
  • Hundreds turn out for Carmel Valley planning board meeting on One Paseo August 30, 2014
    Hearts and visions collided at the Aug. 28 Carmel Valley Community Planning Board meeting, where an overflow crowd turned out to debate the future of the last major slice of the community left to be developed. All 400 seats in Canyon Crest Academy’s theater were filled, and people spilled out into the aisles and crammed into standing-room only spots in the b […]
  • Del Mar Library book-to-movie club picks fall reads August 30, 2014
    Print Goes to the Movies, a book/movie discussion group held at the Del Mar Branch Library at 2 p.m. every second Friday, has announced its upcoming dates and movies. […]