Most people are unaware that rowing was very popular in the Pittsburgh area in the 1800’s. The topography of rivers and valleys made Pittsburgh a natural choice for rowing communities. By 1860, eleven clubs had formed in the area and one championship race in 1859 reportedly awarded $15,000 in prize money!!
Rowing’s popularity all but came to an end by the late 1800’s. The Industrial Revolution resulted in polluted rivers crowded with commercial shipping. Shore property became too valuable to allow boat-related recreational facilities to remain open. Almost a century would pass before rowing would again become part of the aquatic scene in the Pittsburgh area.
After years of hard work, a dream came true for a dedicated group of rowing enthusiasts when in 1984 Three Rivers Rowing Association (TRRA) was born. In 1987, the first Head of the Ohio took place and a renewed interest in rowing spread throughout the community.
In 1989, TRRA Center (our boathouse) at Washington’s Landing officially opened it’s doors. This sparked interest among local high schools. At the time, only one female student athlete at USCHS was interested in rowing and she had to travel to North Allegheny to row on a high school team. Tired of the commute, she spearheaded a campaign to create local interest in our high school.
She enlisted the help of a coach named Hope, who developed the framework that would organize and mobilize a team we could call our own. Four students made up the team that first year and they had to borrow equipment in order to row. Despite facing many challenges, the sport of rowing slowly gathered steam. The number of interested students continued to rise and soon the team achieved ‘club’ status from the high school.
Today, our club is recognized by the Upper St. Clair School Board as a Varsity Club Sport. Thanks to the generosity of our team parents, other donors, and success of various fundraisers over the years, we have acquired 8’s, 4’s, oars, coaching launches, a boat trailer, equipment trailer, tents, and an assortment of additional equipment. Each year our team has the opportunity to race against private high schools and clubs in local, regional, and national regattas. Several USC alumni have competed at the collegiate level and some have received scholarships from their respective universities and colleges for rowing.