Elgin United Rowing Club was founded on the same passion and devotion to performance as the St . Charles Rowing Club. Due to growth and continued ATHLETIC AND TRAINING opportunities moving forward, we are excited to transition from The St. Charles Rowing Club TO ELGIN UNITED ROWING CLUB.
Gordon O’Brien, a sophomore (at the time) at St. Charles North High School, decided to “take up” rowing after his cousin Lee won the Gold Medal rowing a double for England’s Youth National Team in London. The closest rowing program for Gordon was 30 miles north.
After almost a year of his mom, Chris Meldrum, driving him daily to rowing practice, she decided that it was time to make a change and started the Saint Charles Rowing Club. After all, the beautiful Fox River was right across the street and boys (then girls) kept showing up on the shoreline to join.
How difficult could it be to start a rowing club? Don’t you just jump in the water and row? Well not exactly – FIRST YOU NEED A BOAT, oars, three other guys, a coxswain, coaches launch, tons of administrative paperwork,and a place to row – and the kind of determination only a parent would understand.
Sam Schweizer (at the time also a sophomore at St. Charles East High School) joined. Along with Sam came two other juniors and, so, the first team was born.
With the unwavering help, incredible coaching guidance and borrowed equipment, from Ted Pounds and Julie Varrige, GVSU, Uof Mich and Perdue, the club began.
And we started to row. And row. And send kids to college, break some World Records and forge friendships that would have never – EVER have happened.
The rest, as they say is, history.
The rest of the story involves obstacles, roadblocks, begging and borrowing for equipment, and more “NO’S“ then anyone should ever hear. With her usual unrelenting support and SOME convincing, Julie Varrige and her daughter Cassie decided to join SCRC from Barrington. We were becoming an “almost team”.
In the process of getting SCRC off the ground, we were forming amazing relationships and learning from many wonderful Juniors Rowing Clubs, College Rowing Programs and a couple amazing OLYMPIC and WORLD Champion Rowers, who all believed in our passion to offer an alternative to ball sports, provide a genuine opportunity that is unique to the area, and initiate a pathway to providing colleges with outstanding athletes.
If it wasn’t for the tireless dedication of our outstanding rowers and the support of parents, local businesses and dedicated coaches, not to mention The Wounded Warrior Program, Team Red, White & Blue, grants and donations, we would not be able to enjoy the growth that we have been so fortunate to experience. And we’ve just begun to realize our potential. We can’t wait to build on the foundation that SCRC has forged, bringing that same passion and opportunity to Elgin and the surrounding communities.
SCRC was birthed on the Fox River by the hometown crew. EURC is inclusive, supportive, and welcoming of all those who want to stand out from the crowd. Rowing is an incredibly rewarding sport; extremely difficult, yet immense in the rewards through hard work and determination it can offer. Elgin United Rowing Club will continue that mission with the same passion to bring competitive crew to the community. We are neither exclusive, elite, privileged or arrogant.
Get in a boat. This will change your life.