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Novice Rowing Program Summary

This program is for:

  • Rowers that have recently completed a Learn to Row class, either at Mendota RC or another rowing club
  • Rowers looking to work on technique and build fitness
  • Rowers who are rowing with the advanced program but want to get more water time or hone their coxing skills
  • Rowers who for scheduling reasons cannot attend morning practices

Program Details

Our novice program targets our recent learn-to-row graduates, but is also a great program for those with basic to intermediate rowing experience. It is an opportunity to put into practice what you learned in your learn-to-row class and to improve your rowing & coxing skills. 

We row primarily in sweep boats, either 4's or 8's, depending on attendance. Occasionally we may try sculling in quads. The focus of the group is on technique and on having fun on the water! You will also begin to build fitness as the season progresses. If you wish, you will have the opportunity to participate in your first regatta in September or October.

Note: recent graduates of Learn-to-Row, get a free two-week trial period until the 15th of the month after you finish your class.

Practice Schedule

Beginning in May 2 our novice practice schedule is:

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 6:15 - 8:15 pm

Saturday: 8:00-10:00 am


Rowers should sign up for practice by 5pm the night before practice on. We use a website called TeamStuff for rowers to sign up for practices. You will need to register yourself here so you can sign up.   

Please show up at the boathouse on time, or even better a few minutes early, so that we can get the launch & oars ready to make the most of our time on the water. 

On days you are uncertain about the weather, still plan on showing up - sometimes the conditions turn out better than anticipated. We will also be able to work on our fitness on days we are not able to got out on the water. Even if you missed several days or weeks in a row, you are always welcome. You can easily pick up where you left off as new learn-to-row graduates will be joining the group at the beginning of each month throughout the summer.

Novice Boot Camp Refresher

Free! Open to anyone with some rowing experience. If you took Learn to Row at Mendota (or another club) or rowed in the past but have take some time off, this program is for you.

The camp is an opportunity for you to refresh your rowing skills, and decide if rowing is for you even if you did not join the club as a Novice member or haven’t rowed since you took your learn to row class or since college or high school. Coaches and instructors will be on hand to assess your skills and help you figure out the program that meets your needs and skills.

Tues -Thurs evenings from 6:15-8:15 PM and Saturday mornings from 8:00-10:00 AM on for the first week of May.

Register here

Meet the coaches

The Novice Program is coached by Kurt Amann and Lizzy Klapheke.

Kurt Amann

After decades of assuming that rowing was a sport exclusively for Yalies and Oxbridgemen, Kurt took the Mendota Rowing Club Learn to Row class in the spring of 2015.  He quickly caught the bug and has been hooked since.  He believes that if you're blessed to live in a city with natural resources like Madison, you'd be a fool to waste any opportunity to be on the lakes or having a beer at the Terrace.

Kurt has raced at the Royal Canadian Henley and the Head of the Charles Regattas (losing valiantly at each).  His pre-rowing background includes a pair of Ironman Wisconsin finishes and a lot of middle-of-the-pack bike races.  

Kurt has served on the Board of Directors since 2016, manages the launches, and coaches the MRC Novice team. 


Lizzy Klapheke

Coach Elizabeth is a native of Baldwinsville, NY, and came to Mendota RC via Americorps and UW-Madison. She first dipped her foot in the rowing water at National Learn to Row Day when she was 10, and was absolutely hooked. She rowed with the Syracuse Chargers for 4 years before joining her high school team, the Baldwinsville Girls Crew, where she turned from a rower to a coxswain. Coach Elizabeth went on to cox for the University of Scranton team for a year in college. After missing the sport for some time, she picked up coxing again, with a touch of rowing, in 2015 with the Mendota Rowing club. Coach K has raced many levels of rowing, and at such notable races and courses as the Stotesbury Cup Regatta, SRAA Scholastic Nationals, the Head of the Charles Regatta, and the Canadian Henley Masters Regatta. Her background as a rower has brought incredible insight to the coxswain seat, and now to the coaching seat as well. Between the peace of being on the water, connecting with her boatmates, and her calm, approachable perspective, Coach K is an invaluable asset to the coaching staff at Mendota RC. She hopes to inspire others to love and enjoy rowing as much as she does.

Race Schedule

Novice rowers at Mendota RC typically only attend fall head races. These races take place between mid September and mid October and are generally about 5000m long. 

The following races are under consideration for attendance in 2016. At the beginning of the season the Adult Committee Head will survey the rowers and work with the coaches to determine which of these events the club will attend.

Head Races

    • Head of the Des Moines
    • Tail of the Fox
    • Head of the Grand/Head of the Rock
    • Chicago Row-toberfest

Novice rowers are encouraged to participate in regattas. In addition to the information provided by coaches and the Regatta Coordinator, you can find out more about each race by visiting www.regattacentral.com

Regatta Fees are as follows:

  1. Fees for each event in which you are participating
  2. Trailer fees, which vary given the distance to the regatta
  3. A coach fee of $10/rower per regatta day
  4. Dedicated coxswains will receive $50 per race day which will be divided among the rowers.

Race results

For a full list of recent race results, please see our Race Results page.

622 E Gorham St
Madison, WI

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