Saint Ignatius Chicago Rowing (SICR) continues to remain one of the most highly recognized student athletic programs as they head into the 2017-2018 Season, although rowing is a sport rarely offered in Chicagoland schools. With an impressive roster of coaches including former Olympians and Ivy League rowers, SICR is one of the top national competitive rowing programs in the city, offering male and female students the opportunity to foster confidence and character development. Athletes come from various socio-economic backgrounds, and approximately 25% of rowers are on need-based scholarship and pay no fees (or partial fees).SICR remains a club that is separate from the school and is an entirely self-funded 501C3. SICR has the largest number of athletes participating of any school sport. The club has won numerous national awards, most recently obtaining a Silver Medal in the Frogtown Regatta in Toledo, Ohio.
“With a strong class of athletes and leadership, we look forward to another rewarding year at SICR,” says Head Coach and Girls’ Varsity Coach, Tony Brooks, who is a two-time Olympian, three time National Team competitor in the World Championships, and Bronze Medalist in the Pan American Games. “My goal is to build the same love of rowing and racing in the athletes – to give them the skills to exceed their expectations and have the opportunity one day to strive to be the best in world at the Olympic Games. This is the ultimate team sport where matching your movement to the crew is essential to being successful.”
SICR is one of two sports that compete on national championship level with the goal of being the best in the nation. Regardless of prior athletic accomplishments, students have equal opportunities for success, with most going on to row in college at top universities in the nation. SICR also offers female athletes the opportunity to be awarded a Title IX scholarship to row in college.
“Our students’ outstanding academic performance makes them very desirable to college admissions committees,” says Brooks. “Colleges recognize the self-discipline and focus on performance in all aspects of their life that rowing brings our athletes, especially with regards to time management skills.”
SICR features a talented and hands on coaching staff led by Tony Brooks as the Head Coach and Girls’ Head Coach. Tony joined the team in 2008 with over 40 years of competitive rowing experience. Brooks is assisted by Len Richards as Girls’ Varsity Coach, who joined the team in 2009. Richards rowed for four years at Yale where he lettered twice. Danielle Reed-Hudson serves as Girls’ Novice/Freshman Coach bringing an extensive background to SICR.
The Boys’ Team is spearheaded by Bryan Cheung, who rowed at University of British Columbia and joined the team in 2011. Head Coach Emeritus Rich Sims joined the team in 2001, and his wisdom, energy, knowledge of rowing, magnanimity and good nature have benefited hundreds of SICR athletes. Rich began his rowing career in New York during the 1950s, rowing with such legendary greats as Jim Dietz. Rich has brought his extensive experience to ICC since the fall of 2001.
Boys’ Novice Coach and SICR alum, Rob Forney, started rowing in 2002 as a freshman under Coach Rich Sims. After graduation, he went on to study at Georgetown University. He has completed 3 Chicago-to-Mackinac Races and countless course races on their boat Geronimo. Owen Skelding is the assistant coach for the Boys (Varsity + JV). Owen graduated from Saint Ignatius College Prep in 2013 and rowed for all 4 years. He went on to the University of Illinois where he rowed for four years, graduating this past May.
SICR’s 2017-2018 Season continues with a series of upcoming races and events:
· Saturday, October 14th – ROWtoberfest, Chicago, IL
· Sunday, October 22nd – Head of the Charles, Boston, MA
· Sunday, October 29th – Ignatius-Loyola Dual, Skokie, IL
SICR houses out of the structurally striking new Eleanor Boathouse, designed by Studio Gang which was just recently launched by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. As the city works to transform the long-polluted and neglected river into its next recreational frontier, Studio Gang’s Chicago River two new Boathouses invite communities throughout the city to share in the river’s continued ecological and infrastructural revitalization. The design of the Eleanor Boathouse translates the motion of rowing, using two truss shapes to create a rhythmic roof form. The two buildings—the field house and the boat storage facility—are splayed to embrace the turning basin in the river and address different vistas from Ashland Avenue on the west side of the river and the approach to the river from the east side through a residential neighborhood.
The Eleanor Boathouse is home to several rowing teams, clubs, and organizations in addition to SICR, including the Chicago Training Center, Recovery on the Water, the University of Illinois Chicago rowing team, University of Chicago rowing team, South Branch Park Advisory Council, and the Lincoln Park Boat Club. Teams brave the Chicago River nearly year-round to train for competitions and build self-esteem and leadership skills, ultimately advancing their participants’ educational and life goals. The Boathouse also provides a classroom space for after-school mentoring. In addition to highlighting the need for the continued revitalization of the river, the new facility allows for the expansion of these rowing and mentoring programs and extends their opportunities to people and youth across the city and especially on the South Side.
ABOUT SAINT IGNATIUS CHICAGO ROWING
Founded in 1996, Saint Ignatius Chicago Rowing (SICR) strives to provide athletes with the best opportunity to compete regionally and nationally against the best of scholastic and club rowing programs. The team’s success on the water also translates to success in the classroom and beyond, as athletes learn the discipline and skills that carry them beyond the waters. Many rowers have gone on to row and study at preeminent institutions across the country. As a varsity club sport, SICR counts on the efforts of the parent volunteers to support the planning and implementation of facilities, equipment, logistics and regatta support. For more information, visithttp://www.saintignatiuschicagorowing.org.