The Pioneer Crew was founded in the fall of 1999 as a club, and in the fall of 2003 we received full varsity status at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School.   We operate out of the Ann Arbor Community Boathouse facilities in Bandemer Park, off of North Main St. on Lake Shore Drive. The program is co-ed and is open to any Pioneer or Community High School student living within the Pioneer school district.

Rowing Overview

Rowing, sometimes referred to as Crew, is a two season, co-ed sport combining both individual performance with absolute teamwork. While it is mentally and physically demanding at the varsity and junior varsity level, novice rowers will focus primarily on physical conditioning and establishing a solid technical base upon which to build in the coming years. It uses all the major muscle groups, and requires a great deal of aerobic ability. Successful rowers have come from such other sports as soccer, track, cross country, swimming, volleyball, and lacrosse.

One can participate in either the Fall or Spring seasons, but those who row both have a distinct advantage over those who do one or the other. It is best to join crew in the fall. The two seasons combine to form a year long arc. The focus in the fall is on technical training and physical conditioning, and races are fewer and longer. Spring season is the main focus of the sport, with a greater number of races in a side-by-side sprint format. Races begin locally and progress to state, regional, national and international competitions.

Our team travels throughout the state and to Canada in the spring season, and throughout the midwest in the fall. Because of the intensity of the sport, the team tends to be a tight knit group of friends providing a supportive and encouraging atmosphere. In addition to the values of teamwork and shared accomplishment, crew members quickly learn to budget their time and focus their attention.

Crew is not for everyone. It demands a great deal of athleticism and cardiovascular conditioning, and favors taller and leaner individuals. Workouts are strenuous and mentally demanding. It generally takes two to three years of training to be proficient with “the stroke,” which means athletes and team alike are in a constant state of increasing development. Long-term goal accomplishment and deferred gratification are key factors in a successful rower’s career.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to row?

The general assessment for each rower is roughly $600 per season.  Additional fees for travel and accommodations bring the total cost in the fall to ~$750, and in spring up to ~$950. This figure is determined each season based upon current budgetary needs, and pays for coaching/supervisor salaries, rent, insurance and cost of operations. Scholarships are available, and no student will be denied because of cost. This fee does not include Athletic Participation Fees or Athletic Insurance Benefit Fees payable to the PHS Athletic Office.

When is practice?

Mandatory practice is Monday thru Friday after school. More detail here.

When do we row?

We have two seasons.   The fall season runs from August to November.   In the fall we participate in head races, with single boats competing against the clock.   The races are approximately 2.5 miles long.   In the spring we compete in sprint races.   The spring season runs from March to June.   The races are about 1 mile long with six boats racing side by side.   Winter training is optional. We usually start training in January, after the holiday season.

How to register?

All forms must be signed and completed before a rower may practice with the team.   Information about the team is available in the Athletic Office two weeks prior to each season.  Please see how to join for more details.

What’s the password?

This site has some content which is reserved for families of the team. If you would like access to these areas but can’t find the password then please contact the website maintainer.

What else should I know?

More detailed information about everything is available in the Novice Parent Information.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Ann Arbor Pioneer High School Crew/Pioneer Rowing Club is to develop, support and promote the sport of rowing at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School in a manner that reflects the educational philosophy and ideals of the Ann Arbor educational community and the Midwest Scholastic Rowing Association (MSRA).

Specifically, the Ann Arbor Pioneer High School Crew/Pioneer Rowing Club is committed to the following goals:

  • To encourage and support the academic achievement of its student-athlete members.
  • To support informed instruction in the techniques and principals of competitive rowing.
  • To own, provide and maintain equipment including boats, oars and other equipment, for the use of the Pioneer Rowing Club.
  • To organize fundraising events and rowing regattas in support of the rowing team.
  • To promote information exchange with other amateur organizations in Ann Arbor and the surrounding geographical region.

This mission is consistent with the overall mission of Pioneer High School and with the Athletic Policy of the Ann Arbor Public Schools (Board Policy R 6147), as stated in the Pioneer High School Athletic Registration Document prepared by the Pioneer Booster Club


The Pioneer Rowing Club is a 501(c) 3 organization governed by a Board of Trustees.   The Club is made up of student-athletes, coaches and parents or guardians of student-athletes on the Ann Arbor Pioneer High School Crew.   The Pioneer Rowing Club owns and maintains the club’s equipment, manages the club’s financial resources and helps hire additional assistant coaches and support staff for the team.

Crew is a varsity sport under the direct supervision of the Pioneer High School Athletic Director.   The Ann Arbor Pioneer High School Crew includes the student-athletes and the coaches.   Coaches and athletes must comply with all Pioneer High School, AAPS and MHSAA regulations concerning athletics, academics and behavior.   The Ann Arbor Pioneer High School Crew is open to high school-aged boys and girls who attend either Pioneer or Community High Schools and who reside within the Pioneer High School attendance area.   No prior rowing experience is required.

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