Philadelphia City Rowing brings the sport to kids outside of private schools.
The upcoming school year will feature a new sport in the Philadelphia school district. Rowing is now available for students at public high schools. The program is attempting to bridge the sport’s deeply entrenched class gap.
Libby Peters is the founder of Philadelphia City Rowing. She’s also the coach for the girls’ team.
“It doesn’t matter that you don’t have rowing background. Just think about all the athletic experiences where you’ve had to really push yourself. That’s what you’ve got to do now, OK?”
Most of the girls trying out for the team here have never rowed, and some don’t even know how to swim. But they all know how to work.
There are rowing teams at some of the area’s expensive private schools. Peters’ team – representing the entire School District – will be the first in Philadelphia public schools.
Precious Vogole is a senior at University City High, one of the city’s troubled schools. She has never rowed, but says she has a passion for sports.
“It’s hard but worthwhile. You really have to push yourself, push past the pain. You can’t stop. You have to keep going.”
The founder of the program says rowing is particularly good for girls, because many colleges look for female rowers to satisfy their title IX athletic requirements.