We Can Row - Madison

A recreational program for female cancer survivors that offers an opportunity for women to experience their body’s strength in a new way, and to be part of a supportive community of others who have had similar experiences.

Our Story

We promote the sport of rowing as a means of empowered recovery for breast cancer and other female cancer survivors. We develop strength, stamina, and synchronus motion in a supportive environment.

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 WeCanRow on Wisconsin Public Broadcasting’s program Wisconsin Life. 

WeCanRow (WCR) offers female cancer survivors a rowing program from January through October at the Brittingham Boathouse on Monona Bay, 617 N. Shore Drive in Madison. Indoor fitness training is conducted January through March and outdoor rowing program from April through October. 

For additional information reach out to wecanrow@camprandallrc.org.

WCR Winter Workouts

Indoor fitness winter workouts are a great place to start your journey into rowing. They are held once a week – Saturday mornings – at the Brittingham Boathouse. These sessions focus on erging (land rowing machine) as well as strength building and flexibility through yoga. There will an opportunity to practice in the rowing tanks at the University of Wisconsin Porter Boathouse in January and February. WCR members and their supporters are invited to participate in Friends and Family workouts.

2021 Program Dates: January 9 – March 21

Saturday Zoom Workout



Fees: $110

WCR On-Water Rowing

On-water rowing practices are held 2 times a week Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings at the Brittingham Boathouse. These on-the-water training sessions feature sweep rowing & sculling. Participants can attend any or all practices during the season..  You may attend practice for 2 weeks prior to making a commitment to sign up.

2021 Program Dates: April 18 – October 10

Wednesdays 6:45-8:30pm

Sundays 6:45-8:30am


Fees: $400 Adult Membership

+ $100 We Can Row Card (unlimited row pass)


To be considered fully registered, a participant must:

WeCanRow Financial Assistance

Most health insurance policies provide wellness incentive reimbursements and WCR qualifies for this benefit. Contact your health insurance carrier for specific details.  Financial assistance is available to WCR participants. WCR scholarship Form. Deadline for scholarship applications is rolling.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I complete a swim fitness test?

Each participant in WeCanRow must complete a Swim Fitness Evaluation. This can be accomplished at your own health club or through the Verona Area Natatorium. Contact Angie Lucas – Director 608-845-4632 or  angie.lucas@verona.k12.wi.us for details and to set up a time. Please print the WCR Swim Fitness Evaluation Form and bring to appointment. A small fee may apply.

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 wecanrow@camprandallrc.org 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.

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. You can order CRRC spirit wear and workout clothing through our on line shop, but it is not required.

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.

Share This