At a time when San Diego was still a sleepy little town, four adventuresome young women who spent hours rowing together on the bay decided to start a club. These four San Diego women - Zulette Lamb, Lena Polhamus, Agnes Polhamus, and Caroline Polhamus, who used the initials of their first names to form the acronym “ZLAC” - founded ZLAC Rowing Club in 1892, a time when a rowing club for women was a completely new idea.
The women initially rowed in wooden barges from a boathouse at the foot of what is now Market Street on San Diego Bay. This boathouse was dedicated in 1895 and maintained for 37 years. In 1932, the club moved to its current location on Mission Bay, into a beautiful new clubhouse designed by noted architect Lilian Rice (ZLAC President 1915-1916) and landscaped by Kate Sessions (“Mother of Balboa Park”). ZLAC is currently the oldest women’s rowing club in continuous operation in the world, and counts around 450 members ranging in age from teens to nineties. Over the years, ZLAC programs have produced U.S. National Team members, top college rowers, Olympians, and thousands of recreational rowers. Empowering women and promoting rowing have always been at the heart of our mission.
Our coaches endeavor to train every rower to reach her full potential, regardless of her initial level of skill and/or fitness.