About the BWRC

The Black Warrior Rowing Club is a non-profit sporting club for residents in the West Alabama area who want to row, coxswain, or do both. Mainly we are a sweep rowing club, with regular rows in our 8+ and 4+ boats, and in the summer 2013 we added sculling as well (access to a double for club members). We are mainly a masters club, but we also have members under 21 who row or even cox with us.

Mission Statement:
To promote and teach the sport of recreational and competitive crew rowing to the West Alabama community for the purpose of health, education and social interaction.

History of the Club:
The BWRC was founded in 2008 by Alison Pollini, who started rowing in college at the University of Alabama while majoring in music education. At that time, the Alabama Crew was still a co-ed club team. She joined in the spring of her freshman year as a coxswain, switched to rowing the following fall, and stroked a variety of women’s lightweight and eventually, open boats, throughout the rest of her collegiate career. Alison graduated in 2005 and began coaching the Alabama Crew club, which had then become a men’s-only club, for the next five years. During that time, Alison founded Tuscaloosa’s first masters program, the Black Warrior Rowing Club, and was the head coach until her move to New Jersey in 2010. Alison is also an award-winning photographer with some really amazing rowing prints in her portfolio.

After leaving Tuscaloosa, Alison was employed on the staff at USRowing as Membership Marketing and Database Manager in Princeton, New Jersey. She was also the Head Rowing Coach of The College of New Jersey.

The BWRC was extremely fortunate to have Alison as head coach. The founding members learned excellent technique which they now can pass on to new rowers in the club. We are still proud to say that in our first ever regatta, the Dogwood Regatta in Oak Ridge Tennessee (where Alison had also coached before UA), our mixed masters 8 won a silver medal with Alison in stroke seat. The next race at Hobbs Island Regatta we won gold!

Our assistant coach Jason Cottingham, who left in 2010 for a job as one of the coaches for the Upper Valley Rowing Foundation and in 2013 was hired as an Assistant Coach/Director of Operations for Syracuse University Men's Rowing also made a huge impact on our club. Jason had attended the University of Alabama and coached the men's Alabama Crew Club. Jason was a Graduate Research Assistant for The University of Alabama AeroThermal Sciences Laboratory (Aviation & Aerospace). When Jason graduated in the summer of 2010 and moved to New Hampshire, we lost his great coaching skill but never his friendship.

The BWRC sorely misses our wonderful coaches, who never accepted any payment for coming out 3 or 4 times a week, consistently at 5 AM, and following us closely in the launch, giving detailed instruction. We all wish Alison and Jason good luck in their new coaching careers.

To meet our new coaches, please visit the Coaches page.

History of Rowing

Founding Coaches of the BWRC

Alison Pollini

Jason Cottingham