We Can Row


WeCan Row offers female cancer survivors an outdoor rowing program from May through October at the Brittingham Boathouse and indoor fitness training from January through April in the Brittingham Boathouse. Like other WeCanRow programs, Camp Randall Rowing Club partners with the local medical community and local cancer survivor support groups to provide rowing programs that include physical exercise, group support and team-building experiences for women transitioning from cancer patient to survivor. Listen to Caroline’s story about We Can Row on Wisconsin Public Broadcasting’s program Wisconsin Life. For additional information, direct inquiries to wecanrowmadison@gmail.com.

WeCanRow rowing practices are held 2 times a week. For the 2016 season, they will be held  Thursdays, 6-8 PM, and Sundays, 8-10 AM, at the Brittingham Boathouse on Monona Bay, 617 N. Shore Drive in Madison. These sessions include land training, flexibility and strength workouts as well as on-the-water training in sweep rowing & sculling. Participants elect to attend one or more practices each week. You may attend practice for 2 weeks prior to making a commitment to sign up. On-the-water experience will be included as part of Winter Workouts for those wishing to “try” rowing prior to registration.

WeCanRow indoor fitness winter workouts are held Saturday mornings, beginning Saturday, January 9, 2016,  9:30-11 AM & Wednesday evenings, beginning January 13, 6:15-7:45 PM at Brittingham Boathouse. These sessions focus erg rowing (land rowing machine), on flexibility and strength training. The winter workouts are free to crew members who registered for the 2015 rowing sessions. There will be a $50 fee (cash or check only) for anyone who did not register in 2015. Friends and family members welcome.

Session Dates

  • Winter Workouts begin in January
  • Rowing Season May – October
  • Attendance at Mandatory Safety Meeting is required for all crew members.


Will be set in early 2017. Please check back for more information.


Make checks payable to Camp Randall Rowing Club (CRRC)
Camp Randall Rowing Club, Inc.
P.O. Box 258160
Madison, WI 53725

Multiple Family Member Scholarships are available to women who have family members registered for the 2016 CRRC Junior spring rowing season. Please inquire at wecanrowmadison@gmail.com



How are CRRC’s fees set?


To be considered fully registered, a participant must:


Where can I complete a swim fitness test?
Each participant in WeCanRow must complete a Swim Fitness Evaluation. This can be accomplished at the YMCA of Dane County’s Westside facility or a participant’s own fitness club. Contact West Aquatics Head Life Guard (608-276-6606 – Lussier Family West YMCA) for details and to set up a time. Please print the WCR Swim Fitness Evaluation Form and bring to appointment. There is no fee charged for the swim fitness evaluation.

Where can I park?
There are small parking lots next to Brittingham Boathouse and the Brittingham Boats (boat and paddle board rentals). Additionally, a bicycle path passes by the boathouse and there are bicycle racks available for your use. Street parking is available on Bedford across the street from the boathouse.

I’ve never been athletic, and I’ve heard rowing is really hard. Is the WeCanRow program only for competitive athletes?
WCR is designed for women cancer survivors, regardless of physical conditioning. We begin very slowly to make certain that everyone is able to participate fully. In fact, many WCR participants have never taken part in any type of organized athletic activity before starting to row as adults. Practices focus on basic rowing skills, rowing terms and teamwork, with an emphasis on learning to row as a crew. Participants develop knowledge about rowing and build confidence in their abilities. As a result, many participants form strong friendships from the shared experience. Rowing is great fun!

How can I learn more about We Can Row?
The best way to learn more about rowing would be to participate in our Winter Workout sessions at Brittingham Boathouse. Schedule & fees are listed above. You can join in at any session. Occasionally, we offer Open House events where you can tour our historic boathouse and have the opportunity to try rowing in the training barge. These events are subject to change from year to year. You can also contact us at wecanrowmadison@gmail.com with additional questions.

What can I expect at the first few practices?

  • Meet with the coaching staff and discuss with them any physical limitations they should be aware of.
  • Learn the nomenclature of rowing and how to safely move equipment from boathouse to water and back.
  • Participate in land training with stability balls, lightweight medicine balls, resistance bands, and on ergs (rowing machines).
  • Row in the training barge, and later in rowing shells, with experienced rowers and other new WCR members.
  • Participate in warm-ups, stretching, and general strength conditioning. Coaches will monitor your efforts and progress.
  • Have the time of your life! Although challenging, rowing is fun! So relax and enjoy the beautiful lake and the company of the other women.

Is financial aid available?
Most health insurance policies provide wellness incentive reimbursements and WCR qualifies for this benefit. Contact your health insurance carrier for specific details.  CRRC also offers need-based scholarships to WCR participants. WCR scholarship Form.

What should I bring to We Can Row?
Athletic gear is all that is required, so long as it’s not baggy. Baggy clothing can get caught in the movable seats of both rowing shells and the ergs. T-shirts or tank tops and shorts, especially biking style shorts, work well. Add layers in cooler weather. Wear gym shoes with socks, not sandals. A cap, sunglasses and sunscreen are recommended. Bring a water bottle.

As a result of my cancer therapy, my lymph nodes were removed. I’m concerned that rowing could cause lymphedema. Are you aware of any medical research about the incidence of lymphedema associated with rowing?
You need to speak with your doctor about your individual situation. We are happy to report that Dr. Carolyn  Kaelin, a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, is studying female cancer survivors who row. A report from Dr. Kaelin’s medical practice concludes, “…Yet even though rowing is a rigorous, repetitious, and demanding arm exercise, none of the rowers in Dr. Kaelin’s practice has lymphedema. The theory is that paced activity to build up arm strength and gradually stress the lymphatics widens the remaining channels to accommodate the increased flow of lymph fluid.” The National Lymphoma Network (NFN) reports that the majority of individuals with lymphoma can safely perform aerobic and resistive exercise using the affected parts of the body when compression garments are worn, the affected body part is not exercised to fatigue and appropriate modifications are adopted to prevent trauma and over use. The NFN also says that the majority of individuals who are at risk for lymphedema can safely perform aerobic and resistive exercises using the “at risk” part of the body when exercises are initiated at low intensity and increased gradually. In any event, if you have concerns about this issue, you should discuss them with your physician.

Can I request a pro-rated fee I can only attend some, but not all of the session?

There is no pro-rating of fees for partial attendance.  We encourage participants to attend all the days of the session.  We understand scheduling conflicts due to other summer commitments, but since we have allotted a spot for them and our costs for coaches and staff continue, we do not pro-rate.