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WeCanRow DC

WeCanRow DC was founded in 2005 by 3 local rowers from 3 different clubs, all of whom had breast cancer. The team concept was to provide breast cancer survivors with a form of exercise that addressed the physical and mental recovery from specific effects of cancer treatment. WeCanRow National was the brain-child of Holly Metcalf, Varsity Women’s coach at M.I.T. and former Olympic Gold Medalist. The local chapter continues to be mentored by Coach Metcalf and joins a growing network of adaptive teams nationwide focused on the survivor population.


After the inaugural Learn to Row weekend at Capital Rowing Club, the charter 10 rowers of WeCanRow DC were invited by Potomac Boat Club to continue their first season of sweep rowing here. Coached by Hank McEntee, the group rowed one evening per week from June to October of that year. The pilot program was deemed a success for everyone involved and WeCanRow DC has returned to PBC each summer since then. The recreation/rehabilitation program expanded to 2 evenings, then 3, and now sports a roster of more than 40 women.


WeCanRow DC has entered a boat in the Scullers Head of the Potomac every year since the team’s inception. Some WCRDC members, once offered a taste of racing, embraced the competitive aspects by joining racing teams in the area or elsewhere. But most are content to pursue rowing as a fitness and recreational activity with their like-minded teammates of WCRDC. We also welcome experienced rowers who, after diagnosis of breast cancer, aid their recovery through non-competitive team rowing for a season or two. Most cancer survivors experience reduced upper body mobility, fatigue, reduced capacity to focus and, most importantly, loss of confidence in one’s own body. Through rowing as a team, women in recovery and beyond have found physical and emotional support and a connection with others “in the same boat.” At PBC, the rowers in pink have also embraced the culture of volunteerism by attending workdays and taking on annual projects like painting the cast iron steps, refurbishing the porch furniture and mucking out the kitchen. 


WeCanRow DC continues to hold an annual Learn To Row weekend and novice programs at Capital Rowing Club. Seasoned rowers are then eligible to join the WeCanRow DC team at PBC. For more information about joining the team can be found at

The WeCanRow DC team  greatly appreciates PBC for taking a chance on us so many years ago and, despite our non-traditional characteristics, making us a welcome part of the PBC rowing community.

Photo Credit to Anne Weathersby (black and white photo on the right)