IRC is very fortunate to be located in Eagle Creek Park, the 4th largest city park in the nation. The park consists of 3,900 acres of wooded terrain and meadows, and 1,300 acres of water. There is a fee for entering the park – $6/car ($5 for Marion County residents), or $3/biker, hiker…rowers and parents are not exempt. The park offers seasonal passes, which can be purchased at either the 56th St. or 71st St. entrances, or the Eagle Creek Park Office (7840 W. 56th St.).
The Indianapolis Rowing Center was founded in the early 1980s when the City of Indianapolis was actively promoting amateur sports as an economic development strategy. The first rowing event was held in conjunction with the 1982 National Sports Festival and was followed in 1983 with Indianapolis’ first National Championship Regatta. These initial events were held at the south end of Eagle Creek Reservoir (the finish line was located where Rick’s Café Boatyard is now). The success of these events led to the founding of the Rowing Center and the plan to develop a world-class rowing course at Eagle Creek.
In 1984 Indianapolis made the commitment to build a rowing course in the north pool of the reservoir and to bid for the World Rowing Championships. The development of the rowing course was fast tracked when Indianapolis was unexpectedly awarded the 1987 Pan American Games after it was determined that Cuba was unable to host the games. The success of the Pan American Games regatta led to Indianapolis being awarded the 1994 World Rowing Championships, the first (and so far only) time that the event was held in the United States.
The rowing course remains one of the country’s premiere venues. The Eagle Creek course has held sixteen (16) USRowing National Championships, numerous Olympic, Pan-Am and National Team trial regattas as well as NCAA National Championships (2002-2003, 2013-2014), Big Ten Women’s Rowing Championships (2011-2014) and regional collegiate, junior and masters events.
The purpose of the Indianapolis Rowing Center is to be a community rowing program with opportunities for all ages. The junior (high school) program is open to any high school student in the Indianapolis area. We offer Learn to Row classes for people of all ages, skill levels, fitness levels, and capabilities. The Summer Rowing Program is for rowers looking for a more recreational program to get in a good workout and improve their rowing skills. The Masters Program is a competitive adult program who compete regularly in organized age group competitions. Other groups that currently row out of the Indianapolis boathouse include Butler University, and Culver Alumni.