our history

Northampton Community Rowing began as Northampton High School Crew aka Hamp Crew in 1998 when a student at Northampton High School, Kelly Bidwell, decided she wanted to start a rowing team. She was very successful in recruiting a critical mass of Hamp High students and it became evident that a coach was needed.

The first coach to assist in getting the program off the ground was former Head Coach for Smith College, Karen Klinger. Karen coached the first members of Hamp High over the summer of 1998. Starting in the Fall Karen returned to coaching at Smith, and Holyoke Rows founder and Head Coach Stephanie Moore came on to continue the momentum. Stephanie coached Hamp High from the Fall of 1998 through the Spring of 2000. In the Fall of 2000 Reba Knickerbocker joined Northampton High School Crew along with assistants Erin Sprong (girls novice coach) and Dave Schnakenberg (boys coach). 

From there it became clear that the small beginnings of Hamp High Crew had blossomed into a much larger and more encompassing program. As students from other area high schools joined the team, and there developed a contingent of masters rowers, the program then became Northampton Youth and Community Rowing. In 2001 the Pioneer Valley Womens Rowing program joined the ranks of NYCRI and served as the seed for the adult rowing program. The organization quickly grew into a vibrant program serving both youth and adult rowers from all around the Pioneer Valley. 

In 2013 Northampton Community Rowing as it is now known, began to work with the City of Northampton to develop a site on Damon Road in the north part of the city. In 2015 Northampton Community Rowing relocated from its original location on the property of the Oxbow Marina south of Northampton to the newly formed Connecticut River Greenway Park.  The new 11 acre site on the west shore of the Connecticut River includes a public landing for human powered craft, in a harbor dug in the 19th century to connect the river to a canal that once ran to downtown Northampton.  In June of 2015 construction of a 3600 sf boat storage building was completed on the new site.  NCR is working with support from a State of Massachusetts PARC Grant, the Northampton Community Preservation Commission, Northampton Parks and Recreation, and other community partners to provide a wide range of programming for human powered watercraft from this new location.


Our Mission


  • develop sportsmanship, fitness, rowing skills, teamwork, friendship, cooperation and enjoyment for young people and adults through safe and challenging rowing activities
  • enable and promote athletic and personal achievement for adult and youth rowers as team members and individuals
  • develop the leadership skills of young people and adults, and the organizational capacity to endure and thrive
  • promote stewardship of the Connecticut River as a recreational and environmental resource
  • encourage the development of facilities, river access, and programs that benefit community rowing activities

What We've Achieved

  • In 2009, the youth program was honored to compete in their first US Rowing National Championship regatta in the women’s lightweight four event.

  • 2010, the varsity men’s eight was invited to compete in the US Rowing National Championship Regatta in Cincinnati Ohio.

  • 3rd place - Girls’ Novice 4 event at the Lowell Invitational in 2012
  • 3rd place - Girls’ Novice 4 event at the US Rowing Northeast District Junior Championships in 2012
  • 1st place - Men’s Varsity 4 event at the Saratoga Invitational in 2012
  • 3rd place - Boys’ Novice Four event at the New England Junior and High School Regional Championship Regatta in 2012
  • 2nd place – Women’s Varsity 4 at the Saratoga Invitational in 2013
  • 1st place – Men’s Varsity 8 at the Saratoga Invitational 2013
  • 1st place – Girls’ Novice 4 at the Cape Cod Invitational in 2013
  • 1st place - Girls Novice 4 – at the New England Junior and High School Regional Championship Regatta in 2013
  • 3rd place – Women’s Varsity 8 – at the New England Junior and High School Regional Championship Regatta in 2013
Photo by Linda Hannum