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First Row

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What We Do

First Row is Pittsburgh’s only 100% grant funded rowing program that is exclusively offered to Pittsburgh’s high school aged female youth who attend a Pittsburgh Public School or affiliated Charter School.

The mission of First Row is to engage Pittsburgh’s diverse high school aged females in a program that presents all of rowing’s positive characteristics; cultivated self-discipline, responsibility, time- management, team- building, leadership development, and improved health while providing opportunities that many of our team members would otherwise not have! 


Who Can Join

First Row is open to female students in 8th through 12th grade who are enrolled in a Pittsburgh Public School or affiliated Charter School. For the 2019-2020, the team is providing transportation from Obama Academy, Brashear High School, and CAPA. Bus Passes are also available on a case by case basis for transportation beyond the current provisions. 

For the 2019-2020 season, the team has student athletes from Environmental Charter School, CAPA, Obama Academy, Taylor Allderice, and Brashear High School with efforts to reach University Prep, Carrick High School, and Westinghouse Academy. 

Every student- athlete must maintain her membership by attending practices on a regular basis and demonstrate her dedication to the team at practices and races. The team and coaches focus on helping our athletes succeed on the water and in the classroom. The First Row program, and all associated costs are completely grant and community funded. We ask our athletes to give back to our rowing community by volunteering at the boathouse with our adaptive rowing team or attending boathouse clean up days. We also ask our athletes to give back to the communities that support our program through team volunteer days. 

Graduates from First Row are highly encouraged to continue their involvement with the team through attending alumni events or assisting with practices if they live or attend college locally. We encourage all of our graduates to attend further education that is the best fit for them. While this may not always mean rowing while in college, First Row benefits from previous alumni coming back and discussing a myriad of topics with the current team from year to year. 


2019-2020 Season

First Row is a three season program that operates during the fall ,winter and summer months. We practice on Monday through Thursdays directly following the school day. The fall season typically begins in late August and we run through mid to late May. First Row follows the academic schedule for days off, snow days, etc. Exercise includes, but is not limited to: on water (technical training, high intensity training, and fitness training), on land (indoor rowing machines) for fitness and technique, weight training, core training, yoga, and indoor tank training. Practices are held indoors throughout the winter, and outdoors as weather permits in the fall and spring. The season also includes swim lessons for the student- athletes who need them. 

As a program that operates out of Three Rivers Rowing Association, the team has access to the Washington’s Landing Boathouse and Millvale Training Facility as well as the hulls and support equipment for training and racing through TRRA. The First Row program is also supported to Pittsburgh’s Head of the Ohio in the fall, two indoor races during the winter, and three spring out of state racing including a regional championship in Cincinnati, Ohio. 


2019-2020 Practice Schedule:

August 26th-December 19th:
Monday-Thursday from 4:15pm-6:15pm

January 6th-May 21st:
Monday-Thursday from 4:15pm-6:15pm


2019-2020 Race Schedule:

October 4th-5th: Head of the Ohio – Pittsburgh, PA
December 14th: Central Catholic Biathlon – Pittsburgh, PA
January 25th: Pittsburgh Indoor Sprints – Pittsburgh, PA
February 22nd: North Allegheny Indoor Sprints – Wexford, PA
April 18th: The Hoover – Westerville, OH
May 3rd: John Bennett Regatta – Buffalo, NY
May 16th: Midwest Championships – Bethel, OH


Coaching Staff

Director of Outreach & Head Coach: Danielle Roger

Varsity Assistant Coach: Kim Thomson

Novice Coach: Emily Kastroll

Novice Assistant Coach: Nella Matthews


How We Are Funded

First Row is a rowing program founded in 2009 for girls attending Pittsburgh Public & Charter Schools. TRRA is able to offer the program  at no cost to the participants thanks to our sponsors which include both community partners and private donors like YOU!  Some of our current charitable supporters are:

Dollar Bank Foundation

The Grable Foundation

Highmark Foundation

Jack Buncher Foundation

Richard King Mellon Foundation

Robert & Mary Weisbrod Foundation

Wagner Family Charitable Trust


Thank you to all our supporters!