Rowing now an official high school club sport

Bainbridge Island Rowing is now an official club sport after 10 years of existence. - Brad Camp/file photo
Bainbridge Island Rowing is now an official club sport after 10 years of existence.
— image credit: Brad Camp/file photo

In its entire time as an organization, Bainbridge Island Rowing has always been loosely affiliated with the high school.

But through the work of the rowers, coach Morgan Seely and the BIR board of directors, they lobbied over the years to get the school to recognize rowing as a club sport.

At Thursday’s school board meeting, the board formally recognized their overtures as they unanimously voted to make rowing an official club sport.

The organization joins lacrosse, water polo and sailing as official high school club sports – just in time for BIR’s tenth anniversary next spring.

Seely said he’s glad to see the school board approve the organization’s proposal.

He said several rowers had been trying for years to get recognized as an official club sport so they could be officially recognized by the high school for its successes out on the water. Seely gave credit to athletic director Annette Duvall and principal Brent Peterson for working with the club to get them officially recognized.

“That was a big part of it,” he said. “The kids themselves made overtures over the years, but never seemed to get very far. But it turned out that this time was the right time and Annette and Brent were very receptive. It just snowballed from there.”

Seely also said they wanted to be recognized so they could work under the official high school athletic code of conduct, as they had difficulty themselves coming up with a code to use.

“That was one of the problems we had,” he said. “Its hard to create something all on your own. Plus you don’t have a good structure to enforce it and you don’t have access to their transcripts.”

Duvall said that BIR had been working on the proposal for a year and a half to be recognized as an official sport, but both sides had to work on the logistics of it all.

“There’s only a few schools – Lakeside is one of them – that has crew on the same level as (a sport like) lacrosse,” she said. “We needed to find out from our risk management pool if that was going to be supported (like lacrosse.) We (also) needed to take a look at my job and the office’s job, because now we’re monitoring a 100 more kids in the spring.

“We started poking around and it got to a point where it looked very feasible.”

With the recognition by the high school, the students who row must follow the school’s athletic code. Since they are now part of the athletic department, they are now part of the informational meetings Duvall holds before every season.

The rowers are also eligible for letters and their successes at regattas will be recognized and promoted by the school.

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