South End Rowing Club

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South End Rowing Club members from the 1930s
Aquatic Park, located in front of the South End Rowing Club
The South End Rowing Club was founded in 1873 and is one of the oldest athletics clubs in the western United States. The boathouse, with a fleet of 30 boats, is located in San Francisco, California, at 500 Jefferson Street near Fisherman's Wharf, adjacent to the San Francisco Aquatic Park. The club supports participation in rowing, swimming, handball, and running. It is open to the public from 10 am to 6 pm (for a US$6.50 fee) on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Boats may be used by members only.

Many of the members of the South End Rowing Club are renowned and extraordinarily hardy open water swimmers who have successfully crossed channels around the world and been victorious in numerous open water swims in lakes, rivers, oceans, seas and bays worldwide.


The original boathouse was located near present-day AT&T Park, at the southern end of San Francisco. The boathouse was moved by barge to Aquatic Park in the early 1900s, and to its present location in 1938. Portions of the original boathouse remain a part of the club.


The South End Rowing Club maintains a fierce but friendly rivalry with its next-door neighbor, the Dolphin Club. The clubs hold an annual triathlon in rowing, swimming, and running. As of 2010, the South End Rowing Club has won the competition 29 of the past 31 years. The ladies' crew from the South End races its wooden barge against the ladies' crew from the Dolphin Club.

Every year since 1978 the South End Rowing Club has hosted the Bridge to Bridge Regatta in September. This race is open to the public, and typically includes singles and doubles, and plastic and wooden boats alike. The race courses vary from year to year, but there is typically a 10.5-nautical-mile (19.4 km) "long course" which starts at Aquatic Park and circumnavigates the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge and the westernmost tower San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge, as well as a "short course" from Aquatic Park around the Bay Bridge tower and back.

The South End also hosts a yearly competitive swim from Alcatraz Island in San Francisco bay to the Aquatic Park, which is open to the public. The event is limited to 600 swimmers and reaches its capacity for registration months in advance.

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