Humboldt Rowing Celebrates Golden Anniversary

4 women's crew members rowing in water
In the final sprint of the Fours Grand Final in 2023, the Jacks pulled ahead to take a near six-second victory. Photo by
Humboldt Rowing is celebrating its 50-year legacy with a weekend of events from Friday March 29 to Sunday March 31.

The Cal Poly Humboldt Rowing Golden Anniversary celebrations will kick off on Friday with an evening social at the Plaza Grill in Arcata. On Saturday, March 30, campus and community members are invited to the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center to cheer on the men’s and women’s rowing teams during the Blue Heron Regatta at 8 a.m.

A reception will follow the regatta at the aquatic center where a project will be unveiled that highlights Humboldt crew’s 50-year legacy. The event will also feature a ring ceremony to celebrate the Women’s Rowing 2023 national championship team. Later that evening, a celebratory banquet will honor that legacy and the people who have made the program possible, including legendary coach Robin Meiggs—who was recently inducted into the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association Hall of Fame—and coach Patrick Hyland’s recent retirement after 30 years with Humboldt Rowing.

The weekend celebration will conclude on Sun., March 31, with an alumni row beginning at 8 a.m. 

“The celebration not only recognizes five decades of Humboldt rowing, but the present and future of the programs that shape and influence the lives of our academics and athletes,” says Ashley Donnell, Women’s Rowing associate head coach and faculty advisor and director of Men’s Rowing.

“We are very excited to host this celebration and look forward to seeing family, friends and connecting/reconnecting all of our alumni of Humboldt Rowing,” says Matt Weise, Women’s Rowing head coach. “It will be a tremendous weekend to honor the 50 years that we have been rowing in Humboldt Bay.”

Humboldt Crew first emerged as a sports club in the fall of 1974 under the vision and direction of Coach O’Rourk Swinney and with the help of Jack Donaldson. Both men and women participated. Though they did not have boats, oars, boathouses, or rowing machines, the newly formed team conditioned on the track and in the weight room. The following year, they bought their first boat. Without a dock to launch the boats, and faced with mud too deep to trek through, the team timed practices with the high tides, which meant sometimes launching at midnight or 3 a.m. at the Eureka waterfront.

While they called several boathouses home since, the aquatic center now hosts both teams. Since their founding, the programs have earned several championship titles and recognitions in the years since.

Men's Crew, a sports club, has earned top finishes in the American Collegiate Rowing Association National Championship and at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship.

Women’s Rowing, which became an NCAA Division II team in 1996, won their first national championship in 2012, and again in 2014 under Head Coach Robin Meiggs. The team claimed its third national championship in 2023 under Head Coach Matt Weise, and later celebrated the win at the White House’s inaugural College Athlete Day.

For more information and to register for the weekend events, visit: