Harry Parker’s Legacy
Founded by members of the 1980 and 1984 Olympic rowing teams, CRI created an entirely new model of rowing club. It requires no club dues, welcomes visitors to its docks, opens its rooms to community groups, and maintains public walking and biking paths between boathouse and river. It runs learn-to-row courses for all ages and has created a groundbreaking program that brings low-income and minority students to the boathouse for coaching on the water and tutoring and college counseling off it. In high season, more than a thousand people a day use the facility. Executive Director Bruce Smith—convinced that rowing offers an unbeatable, lifelong combination of self-discipline and teamwork—wants rowing clubs everywhere to fling open their boathouse doors. “There are 100,000 people rowing in the United States now,” he says. “We want one million in 10 years.” The new wave is being felt downstream, by the collegiate and private clubs that symbolize the sport’s exclusive past and by the increasingly diverse population of rowers competing here each October. “At the Head of the Charles,” Smith says, “the two tides meet.”
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