The Litchfield Hills Rowing Club was founded in 1978 to promote the sport of crew for residents of the Litchfield area. Through it’s sponsorship of both high school and masters programs, the club is dedicated to making the great sport of rowing available to all individuals who have the desire to participate.
The first boats owned by the club were kept on racks at the Litchfield Town Beach on Bantam Lake. Over the years, the hard work of members and cooperation of the town of Litchfield has made it possible to go from a one-bay-one-story boathouse to it’s current solar powered boathouse built in 2009, which sports 3 bays and a loft area for rowing machines. LHRC currently has a fleet of four 4+ shells, four 8+ shells, as well as three training single shells. The club also rents a bay to Taft School for it’s rowing program, and has additional rack rental space for area scull owners who want to store their boats at the club.
One main goal of the club is to introduce area youth to the sport of rowing. The high school rowing program combines two schools: Wamogo Regional High School and Litchfield High School. The club sponsors these teams for a spring varsity crew team and a fall club crew program, the latter of which is open to any area high school athlete. Athletic directors in both schools provide stipends for coaching and transportation of the spring team, as well as their varsity letters. They compete in area regattas and races during both seasons. In addition, there is a summer program for introduction to rowing for junior high and high school aged youth, in addition to recreational rowing and competition level training for athletes up to the collegiate level, and a winter conditioning component.
The club is also committed to making sure that adults in the area have many opportunities to row. On national Learn to Row Day, usually in early June, area residents have their first chance to try rowing, with members volunteering their time, and helping to teach some technique, as well as introduce them to the club. People who are interested can then move on to Learn to Row clinics, usually consisting of 6-8 two hour coached sessions. After these are completed, they have the option of becoming full members and joining the ranks of masters’ boats, going out on the water anytime from the crack of dawn to after work rows, as well as weekends.
Since schedules sometimes dictate the formation of these co-ed masters training boats, it can make for an interesting combination of ages, heights, fitness levels and experience. This type of recreational rowing can be enjoyed by all club members, in addition to the formation of specific boats to train for competition in fall regattas. As an adjunct to this, and to continue to improve the rowing skills of its members, a program of masters coaching is now being implemented at LHRC.
In the spirit of a local small town club, the LHRC will continue to evolve to better serve the needs of its community and membership, and to foster in its participants a sense of discipline, dedication, teamwork and fun which are all at the heart of the sport of rowing.