Tulsa Public Schools and Tulsa Youth Rowing Association missed out on a grant last year to help bring the sport to more kids.
This year, they got it.
Through its ErgEd grant, USRowing and the George Pocock Foundation will pay for 20 rowing machines — or ergometers — worth around $1,000 apiece and bring in experts to train physical education teachers on using them.
Assistant Athletic Director Jen Sanders said the machines will spend time in all TPS middle and high schools, though what the fall will look like is still being discussed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"In our mind, we want to give kids this experience and hope that they get it. I think that we will do our best to work around any barriers, even if we have to reduce class sizes and things like that to get kids the experience," Sanders said.
The goal is to reach 2,000 kids. Tulsa Youth Rowing Association Director of Outreach Neil Bergenroth hopes the sport catches on and the group has to start planning for a second year of advancing it.
"Where we connect those that are involved in this erg ed program with future opportunities that they can get on the water, which is — you know, rowing on a rowing machine is fun, but being on the water is really the best part about rowing," Bergenroth said.
Bergenroth has been introducing local middle-school students to rowing on a smaller scale through the organization's gROW Tulsa program.