Tampa Rowing Club was formed in 1972 at the
University of Tampa (UT) as the Hillsborough Rowing Club, with only two
members. The club however grew quickly to 30 plus members.
In 1984, the club’s name was changed to Tampa
Rowing Club (TRC); this was a strategic move to gain recognition, as the city
of Tampa was much better known than Hillsborough. The organization also became
incorporated this same year and relocated to its current location at the
University of Tampa McNeel Boathouse shortly thereafter.
In the mid 1980’s the original UT Boathouse was
torn down. At the same time, the Florida
State Fair, which occupied land now known as part of UT, was moving to its
present location. TRC was able to
utilize the old fairground buildings to house their equipment.
Following being housed at the old fairgrounds, TRC
made a move to an old bridge repair building under the Boulevard Bridge. This
facility use was at no cost to the club, which made it tolerable to use a
cement block that slanted towards the river as a dock! This was to be a temporary solution for TRC
as attempts were being made to obtain a boathouse to call their own. TRC made
this location home for 9 years, spiffing up the place for its members by
installing shower and toilet facilities over the years.
In the meantime, back at UT, the administration was
considering dropping the crew program from its sports line up. Not wanting to see this happen, a TRC member
approached the president of UT. They asked if TRC raised $100,000.00 would UT
match it and build a new boathouse, therefore strengthening their crew program. This challenge was accepted and more than
met! Altogether, TRC members raised $275,000 and a new boathouse was built, McNeel
A few years later the UT crew coach invited TRC
back to the UT campus for a partnership in the McNeel boathouse. UT believed that TRC dues would help fund the
UT crew program. This was a win-win!
Including the $275,000 that was raised, TRC has contributed over $500,000 to
UT. The excitement of this partnership grew TRC to over 100 members.
Tampa Rowing Club was not always just recreational.
From the inception of TRC through the 1990’s, TRC members were competitive.
Participating in regattas across North America. Our competitive members made
TRC proud and put the club on the map by continuously medaling at these events.
Moreover, if you could not tell already, TRC was
and is passionate about supporting the sport of rowing locally and nationally.
The organization has been instrumental in getting high school rowing programs
established at H.B. Plant High School and Hillsborough High School, as well as
serving as coaches for several local programs.