Asheville Youth Rowing Association is a non-profit 501(c)(3) public corporation dedicated to promoting the sport of rowing among teenagers between the ages of 11 and 18 years as a means of instilling discipline, teaching team work, attaining physical fitness, and teaching the sport of rowing in order to help young people gain admission to college and/or other educational efforts, obtain scholarships for educational efforts and/or to succeed in a life endeavor. The Association functions without preference to race, creed, religion, or color in Western North Carolina.
Asheville Youth Rowing Association was founded in January 2008 with the primary goal of promoting the sport of rowing among high school and middle school youth in Western North Carolina. It is one of only a handful of youth rowing programs in North Carolina. In thirteen years, AYRA has grown from eleven young women to almost ninety young men and women. We draw from fifteen different middle and high schools as well as home schooled teens living in four different counties. In June 2010, when AYRA was not quite two and one-half years old, the men’s varsity 4 had the ninth fastest time in the United States at the USRowing Junior Nationals. Since 2017, we have qualified boats for USRowing Nationals every year. In June 2018, we sent two boats to USRowing Youth National Championships in Sacramento, Ca. Our women’s varsity four won the B Finals and shortly thereafter, our men’s varsity four also won the B Finals. In 2019 our Women’s 1 Varsity 4 had the fourth fastest time in the United States and our Men’s 1 Varsity 4 had the 8th fastest time. In 2020, our Women’s U17 4 had the fastest time in the United States and our Men’s 2x had the third fastest time. In 2021, our Men’s U17 4 had the fastest time in the United States; our Women’s U17 4 won the C Final; our Women’s 1 Varsity 4 won the C Final and our Men’s 1 Varsity 4 had the 19th fastest time in the United States.
Since 2012, at least one and as many as 8 seniors have been recruited to row in college. AYRA alums are rowing at or have rowed at the following: Dartmouth, the U.S. Naval Academy, Brown, Notre Dame, University of Alabama, Clemson (three of our women have rowed for Clemson), Drexel, Worchester Polytech, UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Louisville, Duquesne, Stetson, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, University of Jacksonville, University of Tennessee, and Clark University.
Rowing is the ultimate team sport. At Asheville Youth Rowing Association, there are no stars, just boats.