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 of Balboa Park fame. ZLAC is currently the oldest women’s rowing club in continuous operation in the world and is still going strong with 450 members who range in age from teens to nineties. Over the years ZLAC programs have produced U.S. National Team members, top college rowers, Olympians, as well as thousands of recreational rowers. Empowering women and promoting rowing have always been at the heart of our mission.
The ZLAC Foundation helps raise money to support middle and high schools girls financially as they learn, participate, and compete in rowing. Giving Tuesday is November 28th this year. You can donate to support young women who, due to financial reasons, might otherwise be unable to row. Donate here.