Magnet’s Forgotten Rowing Club

Do you even row???


Did you know that Academic Magnet was the trendsetter in the Charleston youth rowing community? Beginning in 2007, the then Raptor Youth Rowing Club served as Charleston’s first ever youth rowing team, and it was led by Magnet’s own parents and students. Five years later, in 2012, the Charleston City Rowing Club was up and running with the support of local rowing enthusiasts. 

With two active rowing clubs sharing the same practice space and amenities, it only made sense to combine the two into a single, unified organization, thus resulting in the active masters’ (experienced adult rowers) and juniors’ (both experienced and inexperienced high school students) rowing programs taking place in Charleston today. Magnet’s history and influence concerning the Charleston City Rowing Club is still present seven years later even after the two clubs’ merging back in 2014. Currently, on the junior rowing team, nearly half of the team are Raptors with six out of the sixteen rowers attending Academic Magnet. 

There are three Raptors in this boat. Can you tell who they are?

Now I do not blame you if you have not heard of the city’s rowing club, for even I probably would not have known about it had it not been for my sister. During her summer before junior year at Magnet, she decided to try out the Charleston City Rowing Club’s “Learn to Row” program, and I, being the younger sister I am, joined her. However, since I was going into the eighth grade, I technically was not allowed to join the team in the fall so I participated in the “Learn to Row” program as a coxswain, leading and guiding the rowers as they went along. And it was not until my senior year that I chose to redo the “Learn to Row” camp, but this time as a rower to join the official crew. 

Being a devout club soccer player for nearly ten years, my switch to such an uncommon sport seemed a little odd to some people, but I am so glad that I opted to join the crew. Junior at Magnet and fellow crewmate, Kai Blackwell, commented that he “first heard about rowing through [his] friends and [he] thought it sounded fun,” especially because of the whole “team aspect of it.” Rowing is most definitely a team sport, for unless you are rowing a single, every move and decision made in the boat affects the whole crew. Finlay Palmer, ’23, noted that he, too, enjoys this concept of “working together for a common goal” and the idea that “you have to trust your fellow teammates when you get in the boat,” for he even claimed it to be his favorite thing of the sport itself. 

Just look at that sunset!!

I personally find the sport to be great for me both physically and mentally. Rowing is a full body workout from the push-off of the legs for getting the oar through the water, to the total engagement of the core for maintaining good posture, to the actual moving of the oars with the arms. The only part of your body you may not be gaining strength in is your toes. I have only been consistently rowing for a little under two months and I can already tell a significant difference in my arm and core strength. Furthermore, your brain also is getting a workout and getting healthier when rowing. As indicated by HealthWorks Collective, being near or on the water has shown to improve mental health and aid in “[building] a tranquil mindset.” As someone who deals with her fair share of anxiety and stress, I genuinely find rowing to be a nice escape at the end of the day. And living in Charleston definitely has its perks, especially in this case. Since rowing at Brittle Bank Park four times a week, I probably see dolphins at least once a week and the sunsets are always so pretty when out on the water!

Despite my describing rowing to be this peaceful, relaxing lazy-river-like sport, I do find it to be extremely tiring and difficult at times. Our crew just recently attended a regatta in High Point, North Carolina, and that race was definitely one of the hardest things I have ever done. I raced in a boat with three other rowers and a coxswain in a 5K race through Oak Hollow Lake. By the end, my arms felt as though they were going to fall off and my legs seemed as though they were incapable of carrying me through the rest of the day. However, the sport would not be as beneficial as it is without these challenges, and that race only encouraged me to continue training to be better for the next one! 

I feel as though the sport does not get the recognition it deserves, for there is a lot of work that goes into the brisk twenty or so minute 5K races. Every rower must focus not only on their own technique, but also their timing so that way everyone is catching the water and rolling up their oars at the exact. same. time. Even Lulu Wallace, ’25, can rally behind me with this, saying that even though rowing “is a sport that anyone can do,” she regards it to be “a character building sport because it requires so much hard work and time.” I am very thankful that I found the Charleston City Rowing Club because I have not only met some pretty rockin’ people, but I have also discovered a new hobby of mine that is not only fun for me, but also highly advantageous!

If you or anyone you know is fourteen or older and may be interested in rowing or wish to learn more, please feel free contact me through email at or via Instagram at @halliercole. Additionally, you can find further information here at the Charleston City Rowing Club’s website.