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Middle School Rowing

Wilson Crew is pleased to offer a "Learn to Row" program this fall to all interested DCPS 8th gradersNo experience necessary!

Students will learn the basics of the rowing stroke while being introduced to the rigor and teamwork that characterizes Wilson Crew. The program is designed to impart the fundamentals of the sport to prepare 8th Grade participants for competitive rowing at the high school level.

How to Sign Up

Registration includes submission of required forms, including the DCPS Universal Health Certificate, Consent for Athletic Participation, Athlete Data and Emergency Treatment Form, Heads Up Concussion Form, Asthma Action Form (if applicable), and the Action Plan for Anaphylaxis (if applicable). Forms are available on the sidebar of our website, and in the registration. They must be uploaded as part of the registration process.

Please Note: there is also a REQUIRED Swim Test at 3:30 pm on 9/3/19 at the Wilson Pool (see info below).

Program Details

Wilson Crew will be running two concurrent middle school Learn To Row sessions. Each session will be capped at 25 students (DCPS 8th GradersONLY) and students may not participate in both sessions.

Session 1 - Saturdays 8:00-10:00am

Session 2 - Sundays 8:00-10:00am

Practice runs 9/7 - 11/2*

*There IS practice the weekend of Columbus Day
*There is NOT practice the weekend of 10/19-20

Practices are held at the Thompson Boat Center or Wilson High School and participants will be notified ahead of time with a full expected schedule of locations. In case of inclement weather, practices are held at Wilson High School.

Important Dates:

9/3 - Required Swim Test

  • 3:30-4:30 PM @Wilson Pool

  • Athletic attire required (non-cotton athletic clothing) and change of clothes

  • Prospective rowers must swim 100 yards without stopping and tread water for 5 minutes (this is NOT a tryout or a competition, simply a safety check)

9/4 - Required Parent Info Meeting (not required for students)

  • 7:00-8:00 PM @Wilson Library

  • Introduction to the coaching staff, information on program structure, schedule, etc.

Program fee:


  • In the event of financial hardship, scholarships are available  - Please e-mail for more information

To participate, each student will need to register, including all required forms, and complete the mandatory swim test on September 3rd. Parents must also attend the Info Session on September 4th.

Charlotte Taft - Middle School Head Coach

Charlotte has been rowing or coaching since 1997. She began rowing at the Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and after a summer with the US Rowing junior development squad, continued at Yale University, where she was a four-time NCAA Championship invitee, Women’s Sprints gold medalist, Head of the Charles winner, and Academic All-American.

Her coaching career started in 2002 when she ran the Ann Arbor Rowing Club summer youth competitive program. Over the years, she also coached youth and masters Learn-to-Row and masters sweep at Ann Arbor. While in college, Charlotte coached for two summers for Yale Community Rowing and ran a learn-to-row program for girls in New Haven. She also served as assistant coach to the Ann Arbor Huron High School Girls Varsity. While she was at Huron, the girls fours and eights were consistent Midwest Junior Rowing Championships grand finalists and SRAA invitees, including bronze in the Varsity and JV 4+.

Off the water, Charlotte is the Director of Business Intelligence at Callahan & Associates here in DC. She is the aunt of the most handsome dog in Alexandria and enjoys mystery novels.

Boys V8 - 2019 Scholastic National Champions!


Chris Rickard

Chris Rickard

Director of Rowing

Charlotte Taft

Charlotte Taft

Middle School Head Coach

Scholarship Information:


Why Should I Row?


When I am rowing I am with the people that I love and I am pushing my body to its limit, which I love.  Rowing allows me to be fit, have fun, and be totally obsessed with something.


I love rowing because it has given me the confidence to believe that there is no limit to the things I can achieve. Rowing is incredibly taxing both mentally and physically, yet you will never meet a rower who merely "likes" the sport. It's an all or nothing situation and I, for one, am all in.


I've found that there is more to rowing than just that same motion over and over again, it is centered around creating a community and enjoying the process.


I row because I find peace in the process of taking strokes, and the repetition of the sport and I haven't found anything in the world as rewarding as winning a race. Over the years, I have formed unbreakable bonds with my teammates who will continue to row by my side for the remainder of high school.