Rowing club seeks growth and competition


TCU Rowing Club spreading gravel as foundation for future temporary boathouse at Marine Creek Lake. Photo by Carolina Olivares.

By Carolina Olivares

Four years after its founding, TCU’s rowing club has a long-term goal– becoming an NCAA team.

In the past year, the club has become more demanding of its members and more focused on elevating its performance.

TCU Rowing Club spreading gravel as foundation for future temporary boathouse at Marine Creek Lake. Photo by Carolina Olivares.

Unlike past years when the club fielded a larger team, this year there are 15 rowers. These dedicated athletes practice six times a week, sometimes as early as 5 a.m.

Head coach Kevin Fujii insists that rowers attend workouts even when he can’t.

“I started rowing later in life,” Fujii said. His passion came to shore in 2004 when he covered the Summer Olympics in Greece as a photojournalist. 

He hopes to see the university field a Division I NCAA Women’s team and an IRA (Intercollegiate Rowing Association) for men in the near future.

Before this can happen, the team needs a better practice location. Practices are held at Marine Creek Lake, about 25 minutes from campus. The lake is about 1500 meters in distance, well short of the 5000-meter regattas the team competes in.

“The biggest issue we’ve had in the past is being in adequate water,” Pete McIntosh, the club crew director, said.

The Trinity River Vision Authority includes a proposal for a 1.5 mile bypass channel in downtown.

“Once that gets established it’s going to be closer to TCU and hopefully we can then present it to the school as an option,” McIntosh said.

Fujii said expanding nationally and internationally would enrich the university. 

Club president Julia Goodrich said the team was started in 2014 as more of a recreational activity.

“I needed to find another activity to dedicate myself to,” Goodrich said. “I just fell in love with it.”

Goodrich started as a first-year student after her suitemate, who had rowing experience in high school, encouraged her to sign up at the activities fair that fall.

“Rowing is very rewarding because of its intensity,” Goodrich said. “There really is not a feeling that compares to when you take a perfect stroke. But when you get it and your whole boat is just moving together on the water, it’s just like you’re flying.”

Marine Creek Lake in Fort Worth. Photo by Carolina Olivares.

McIntosh said that the rowing community is small and everyone tries to help each other. TCU has received a lot of their boats from SMU, the University of Texas at Austin, and Baylor.  

Goodrich has seen this community as well.  During downtime at regattas, rowers from different universities interact and form close friendships, she said.

“It’s almost like a family,” Goodrich said.

Students interested in rowing but with no experience are welcome to join. There are no experienced rowers on this season’s squad. 

“Rowing is a sport for everybody,” said McIntosh.“It’s a sport that you can do for the rest of your life.”