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Cygnet Rowing Club
on the Tideway since 1890
CSSC Sports and Leisure



Cygnet Rowing Club's Learn to Row courses (aka LTR) have these three bases covered and more besides. We are always on the look-out for new oarsmen to join our racing squads and we run courses twice a year for complete beginners. Our experienced coaches will teach you the basic rowing technique on land before applying it out on the Thames.
You can also learn to cox.

  • We aim to run 2 courses per year • April/May & September/October
  • Maximum of 16 participants per course • First come, first served
  • Courses usually last 6 weeks • A mixture of land & water based
  • 3 weekly sessions • 2 weekday evenings & 1 weekend morning
  • Course fee includes temporary membership • There is no obligation to join Cygnet RC on completion of the course but the fee will be deducted from your subs if you do decide to join.

The course has been designed to get progressively more challenging in skills, knowledge and fitness intensity over the six weeks. We understand that you may not be able to make every session, however the more you put it in the more you get out so regular attendance is necessary for you to be able to make any progress. Click on the drop-downs for more details about the course.

    Aims of the course

    • Teach you good rowing technique on the rowing machine
    • Increase your fitness
    • Introduce you to rowing on the water
    • Give you an overview of the sport and training expectations
    • Brief you about safety within rowing
    • Ensure you understand rowing commands

    What to wear

    Please wear sports clothing for each session. It is best to wear close fitting thin layers, but lots of them if the weather requires it. Please also bring either a sports drink or a bottle of water to each session and even sunscreen. You won't be on the water for the first few weeks so gym clothing is fine.

    When we get to water sessions please bring a spare change of clothes, not because we think you’ll fall in but you can get wet from splashes. You will also need to bring wellingtons (we do have some available if you don't have your own) and socks, and if you have a waterproof jacket please bring it.

    Getting here

    There is limited parking on site and we encourage people to use public transport, pedal or walking power. Dukes Meadows has restricted parking, including on the weekend. However, you can park on the Barnes side, and take a short walk over the Bridge

    See here for more information on how to get here.

    Training sessions

    Type of session • Session overview • Additional Info

    Ergo sessions

    These will take place in “The Shed” at the club on rowing machines*, aka Ergs. You will learn basic rowing technique in preparation to go on the water and how to use the erg effectively for training off water • We do encourage you to do erg sessions in groups, it really helps with motivation and crew ability.

    *The erg is a fundamental part of learning to row and will form a key part of your training plan as you progress throughout rowing. This video may be useful for you in understanding the technique used both on a rowing machine and in a rowing boat and should be referred to throughout the course.

    Circuit training sessions
    It is important to train all muscles rather than just one group. Flexibility and core stability are essential in rowing • If you are unable to run because of injury, please let the coaches know.

    Tank sessions
    This is a boat fixed in concrete indoors surrounded by water. The nearest thing you will get to rowing on water but inside! Tank sessions will take place at Barn Elms RC • This is the safest environment to get familiar with the blade (oar) and a good place to work on technique on a stable platform.

    Water sessions
    These will involve getting the boat, blades and coaching launch out of the boathouse onto the water safely. We will show you how to get in and out of a boat safely and you can apply all that you have learnt from the ergs and tank sessions in the boat • Fitness and safety are important before we reach this stage of the plan so please follow the full program as we progress to getting you out in a boat on the river.

    Session Programme

    Sessions will take place on Monday and Wednesday 7–8pm, Saturday 11.30am–1.00pm. Specific dates for the next course are listed here

    The sessions at the start of the programme and when on land will be shorter – around one hour. Water sessions will last approximately 2 hours as we need to pack all equipment away and debrief from the session.

    During the course we may break attendees up into 2 groups and stagger start times, in liaison with you, to make best use of space and equipment available for the group sessions.

    If at any time throughout the programme you are unable to do an activity or unsure what is being asked please speak up and we will find an alternate activity or provide further details.

    We generally row in all conditions unless it is unsafe which would include lightning, fog or high winds. It is possible a session plan may need to change to take into account the unpredictable weather or tidal conditions; however, we would replace a session rather than cancelling.

    Coaching Team

    Over the 6 week course you will have a selection of coaches and volunteers, such as coxes and experienced rowers with you. If you have any questions throughout the course feel free to grab anyone of them. The coaching team for the next course are listed here.

      After the course

      We hope that you will have enjoyed the course and keen to continue rowing. Ideally, you will have achieved at least one of your goals (and hopefully them all), whether it is increased fitness, getting on the water for the first time or making some new friends.

      We hope you all will want to carry on with Cygnet after completing LTR course. Everyone who completed LTR course that have shown an aptitude to the sport and commitment to the training will be offered to sign up for squad sessions for a fee until end of the year. 

      More information on how to enrol with Cygnet will be given on the last day of the course.


      About both rowing in general and Cygnet RC – click here

      Contact LTR at Cygnet

      Contact us here if you have any further questions before signing-up  • Contact form

      LTR Application form

      Sign-up to the next course here • Requires payment