Rowing club rated best in U.S.

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The Three Rivers Rowing Association once again has stroked its way to the top. It recently was named the 2010 USRowing Club of the Year. This is the club's second win since the award's inception in 2002.

The distinction is given to the club with the most points based on performance, community outreach, service to rowing, technology and communications, participation in USRowing and safety.

Rick Brown, executive director of the club, believes its community outreach played an important role in USRowing's decision to designate it Club of the Year.

"We are really there in the community, and we're constantly providing opportunities for people to learn how to row. That's the biggest thing," Brown said. "We not only have opportunities for your average Joe, but we have them for inner city kids as well as adaptive rowing for the physically challenged and visually impaired. There really is something for everybody."

Founded in 1984, Three Rivers Rowing Association is a nonprofit organization that offers rowing, kayaking and dragon boating classes and programs for children and adults. In addition, the group has a number of competitive teams for rowers who seek more challenging training and racing activities.

"The club was founded on the idea that the sport should be one that is accessible to anybody no matter their background, financial status or race," Brown said. "It's an idea that we continue to hold near and dear to our mission."

Since its inception, the club has seen an influx of rowers and continued growth, he said.

"It's a sport that is growing across the country for numerous reasons. You can do it no matter what age you are," he said. "It's a lifetime sport and it's one that is really a good overall body workout. That has helped the sport in general and in Pittsburgh as well."

Brown said he hopes the recognition from USRowing will draw more people to give the sport a try.

"Any recognition in a positive way like this will bring more people to the rivers to experience them," said Brown.

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