Tulsa Youth Rowing Association provides young women and men the opportunity to train and race while building teamwork, dedication, and respect in a supportive and competitive environment.

Program Goals

  • Teach proper rowing technique and race against other junior crews
  • Work as a team to promote dedication, sportsmanship and commitment into every practice and race
  • Participate in regional and national level regattas to establish Tulsa Youth Rowing Association as a nationally competitive program
  • Challenge athletes in physical training to achieve maximum development and performance
  • Provide programming to put athletes in good standing for rowing scholarships at colleges and universities

Recreational Program

The recreational program (referred to as gROWth) is for 7th through 12th grade students who are either trying the sport for the first time or who are not ready for the commitment of being on the competitive team. The program is a non-competitive option and runs two days a week and serves as an introduction to the sport. Participants learn safety aspects, basic technique, boat handling skills and also spend some time developing strength, flexibility and overall conditioning. They do not compete or travel to any of the events that the competitive team attends. However, they may participate in intra-squad scrimmages with other members of the gROWth program from time to time. The gROWth program runs twice a year for 8-10 weeks in the fall and spring.

Basic Training
Twice a year, Tulsa Youth Rowing Association offers a two-week Basic Training to recruit 7th through 12 grade athletes interested in learning how to row in racing shells and become a part of the program. Having completed the two-week program, Basic Training participants in 8th grade or higher can apply to be on the competitive team. Acceptance to the competitive team is determined by TYRA coaches, and if the athlete is not quite ready for that type of commitment, he/she will be encouraged to attend at least one session of “gROWth” (see above). All Basic Training participants must complete a swim test, attested to by a certified lifeguard at any YMCA location.


The competitive team is composed of 8th to 12th grade student athletes divided into two levels of competitive experience.

Novice Team
The novice team is comprised of athletes in their first year of competitive rowing. A student athlete can row in novice events for the first twelve months of their competitive rowing career. When a rower has one year of competitive experience, they become a varsity rower. Novice rowers participate in all of the events during the year except the Head of the Charles (select varsity rowers) and USRowing Youth Nationals.

Varsity Rowers
The varsity team is composed of athletes who have one year or more of competitive rowing experience and participate in all of the regattas and events during a calendar year.

A coxswain is a person that sits in the stern or bow of the boat. The coxswain is responsible for the safety of the crew, steering the racing shell, calling commands that control rower technique, timing and performance of a crew. A coxswain such be familiar with proper rowing technique and be able to run drills to help boost crew performance. In a practice or race setting, the coxswain is responsible for motivating the crew and for steering the best course to minimize the distance to the finish line.

The competitive team trains throughout the year from August to May. In the event that varsity rowers qualify for nationals in May they continue to train through to the middle of June.

Summer Camps

The summer camps are open to all 7th through 12th grade student athletes. Camps run 4:30pm to 6:30pm Monday through Friday in Tulsa and Catoosa, OK. Later camps in June run 6:00pm to 8:00pm due to high temperatures. Camp activities include learning how to row in rowing shells, handling equipment, river safety and technical instruction. The camps provide a supportive learning environment for participants to discover if they have a passion for the sport of rowing and to enable them to develop basic technical fundamentals. No experience is required. Participants have the opportunity to join the competitive team or 7th and 8th grade recreational gROWth program in the Fall upon completion of a camp.


Can I join if I have never rowed before?

Yes. Practices are tailored to all levels of experience. Athletes of all skill levels are invited to attend.

Which TYRA program is the right choice for my athlete?

First, if you have a 7th grader then the gROWth program is the only option available to you.

If you have an 8th grader then you have two choices:

– The gROWth program (non competitive – 3.5 hours a week) Wed and Sat
– The competitive novice program (9.5 hours a week) M, T, W, F (afternoons after school) and Sa (morning)

The competitive novice program is a larger commitment, so take into consideration what your child can handle developmentally (This is primarily a high school program and your athlete will travel to races with older athletes) and also in terms of schedule.

What is the age range for student athletes that participate?

Student athletes in the program usually range from the 8th grade to the 12th grade. We also have a non-competitive 7th and 8th grade program.

What is the different between novice and varsity?

When you first join the competitive team your athlete will be on the novice team for one year. The novice category is for those athletes that are in their first calendar year of rowing. Your athlete will race against other athletes who are in their first year of rowing. After a year of rowing with TYRA, your athlete is eligible to train and race in the varsity category and will remain in that category until they graduate from the program.

What paperwork do I need before I can row?

You need to download all of the prerequisite paperwork and contact information forms. Follow this link and click on the Download Forms button. In addition, you need to complete a swim test. You may also perform the swim test under the supervision of a certified life guard at any location that you choose. The swim test involves swimming a distance of 100 yards and treading water for 5 minutes.

What are the costs of the competitive team (novice & varsity)?

Seasonal dues are $700 which covers licensed coaches, insurance, equipment, 2 pre-row shirts and all other fixed costs associated with the program.

Additional travel costs range from $50-$350 per regatta. Athletes attend 4-6 regattas per season. Travel costs include all athlete transportation to/from regattas (on team charter bus), hotels (usually 3-4 athletes/room), meals and all other costs associated with regatta.

There are also uniform costs which include competitive uni’s & team warmups. Uniform costs range from $150-$300 but can be worn for multiple seasons.

Dues & travel costs can be made in monthly payments.

Where does the team practice?

We practice at the Tulsa Rowing Club located on the west side of the Arkansas River North of the 21st Street bridge. On the University of Tulsa campus in the Jack Zink Indoor Rowing Center and in the J. Bird Sr. boathouse on the Verdigris River located in Catoosa, OK.

What time does the team practice?

Each division of the team has its own schedule available on Team App.

What clothing or equipment do I need?

For practice, you need fitted athletic clothing, running shoes, and a water bottle. All other equipment such as rowing shells, oars and ergometers (rowing machines) are supplied by the club.

For regattas, you need a competitive uni’s & team warmups ($150-$300).

What is the attendance policy?

Rowers are permitted to miss only 6 practices in any given season. Usually, around 65 practices on average.

In general the athletes that can attend more practices usually progress with their technique and fitness at a faster rate, this usually means more opportunity to race. It should be noted that we are a competitive program as noted in the mission statement.

Varsity athletes that attend more than 90% of practices will be awarded varsity letters. All other varsity athletes that have less than 90% attendance at practice and novice athletes will receive certificates of participation.

If a particular athlete’s attendance at practice falls substantially lower than coaching expectations without reasonable reason (for example: health reasons or family emergencies) the coaching staff reserves the right to review a particular athletes “competitive status”. This review may, in some cases, result in an athlete not taking part in an event or competition.

In addition, it is also the policy of the coaching staff that the athletes that are making the most commitment to the program in terms of practice attendance will be given priority seating in the boats available.

How many races does the team attend every season?

The team usually attends four to six races every season.