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Rowing for the future, diversity in sport

Mills College Weekly

As though 5 a.m. practices six days a week are not enough, the
Mills Crew team is also finding time to tutor youth and row the
distance between five of the Bay Area’s major bridges for

When DeeDee Birch, director of the Jack London Aquatic Center,
sent out a request for tutors, the Cyclones jumped at the chance to
give back to the community, and at the same time, share their love
of the sport with high school students never before exposed to

The Mills women are tutoring girls from Oakland’s public high
schools, giving them the opportunity to learn rowing, and,
hopefully bringing more diversity to the sport, according to head
coach Wendy Franklin.

“It’s a win-win situation. We’re exposing these kids to things
they’ve never done before. Some of them are getting to learn to
swim, others are just taking the initiative to do things their
peers aren’t doing,” Franklin said.

Twice a month throughout the spring, the team tutors students on
whatever they need help with. Franklin said the program is ongoing,
and the team plans to stay involved in the years to come. Other
collegiate rowing teams are also involved in the program.

The team is also preparing for the Northwest Regional
Intercollegiate Invitational Regatta in Vancouver, Washington in

Next Tuesday, Mar. 4, the Cyclones will row nearly 165,000
meters-the calculated distance from the Richmond Bridge to the
Golden Gate, across the Bay Bridge, across the San Mateo Bridge and
finally to the Dumbarton Bridge-but they’ll be doing it at the
steps of the Tea Shop. The team members will be taking turns on
machines set up during the day for the Bridge-to-Bridge ergathon to
raise money to send the team to the races in Washington.

“No amount is too small-a dime, a quarter, a dollar,” said

The next home match for the Cyclones is Mar. 27 at the Jack
London Aquatic Center.