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Web Exclusive - March 2018

Chicago Team Rows With the Best

By Deborah L. Vence


Saint Ignatius Chicago Rowing (SICR) is considered one of the top national competitive rowing programs in the city, with both male and female students and former Olympian rowers as coaches.

The team includes athletes that come from a range of socio-economic backgrounds, and about 25 percent of the rowers are on need-based scholarships and pay no fees (or partial fees).

"With a strong class of athletes and leadership, we look forward to another rewarding year at SICR," stated Head Coach and Girls' Varsity Coach, Tony Brooks, in a recent press release. Brooks is a two-time Olympian, three-time National Team competitor in the World Championships and Bronze Medalist in the Pan American Games. Brooks joined the team in 2008.

He said, "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."

Other team coaches include Len Richards who assists Brooks as Girls' Varsity Coach. Richards joined the team in 2009. He rowed for four years at Yale where he lettered twice. Danielle Reed-Hudson serves as Girls' Novice/Freshman Coach. The Boys' Team is led by Bryan Cheung, who rowed at the University of British Columbia and joined the team in 2011. Head Coach Emeritus Rich Sims joined the team in 2001. He began his rowing career in New York during the 1950s.

SICR also is a club that is separate from the school and is a self-funded 501C3. It has the largest number of athletes participating of any school sport. The club has won many national awards, most recently receiving a Silver Medal in the Frogtown Regatta in Toledo, Ohio. SICR, founded in 1996, strives to provide athletes with the best opportunity to compete regionally and nationally against the best of scholastic and club rowing programs.

SICR is one of two sports that compete on a national championship level with the goal of being the best in the nation. 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.

In addition, SICR is housed out of the new Eleanor Boathouse in Chicago, designed by Studio Gang, and recently launched by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. What's more, the Boathouse provides a classroom space for after-school mentoring, and allows for the expansion of these rowing and mentoring programs and extends their opportunities to people and youth across the city, especially on the South Side.

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