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Why Row? New Rower FAQ's

Why Should I Row?

Maybe you want one of the thousands of scholarships available among the hundreds of varsity rowing programs. Maybe you're off-season from basketball, volleyball, cross-country, or another sport. Maybe you don't play sports at all but feel that it's too late to start a new one. Maybe you want to make friends outside of your high school. 

Loads of Olympic rowers don't pick up an oar until college. You have the chance to get your nose out in front now!

What will I do at Practice?

Practices will include running, weight lifting, body weight workouts, video analysis, and above all, rowing. You should be prepared for any eventuality, but if you show up prepared for one, you’re usually prepared for it all.

What is “Appropriate Apparel”?

It is imperative that a rower purchases compression shorts and/or “long trou”. Baggier shorts, including running and basketball shorts, will get caught in the slides, inhibiting the rower’s ability to row. In the same vein, excessively loose sweatshirts and/or hoodies are discouraged, though layers are important to keep warm.

Running shoes will be required for land workouts and erging. Be sure that you replace your running shoes every so often to avoid foot injuries.

Especially in the cold, rowers should dress in layers. The temperature on the water is often colder than one might think. Waterproof “turtle shell” jackets or vests and/or windbreakers might be in the rower’s best interest.

Rowing clothes will get sweaty and dirty, so you should have enough to last you between doing laundry. Do not re-use athletic apparel in between washes. This will lead to infection that may not be limited to just one rower!

Will I Fall in the Water?

The old joke goes: there are two types of rowers—those who have fallen into the water, and those who will fall into the water. Being a water sport means that you will probably get splashed, get your feet wet a few times, and maybe even fall in if you’re particularly unlucky.

In truth, falling into the water is rare, especially in larger boats, where the novices will begin. Flipping usually occurs in smaller boats and is considered a Rite of Passage amongst rowers, with flipping stories being traded if a rower talks enough shop with the more experienced folks.

Please note: there are safety precautions taken at every turn to ensure the safety of all rowers. There are protocols for what happens if/when a boat flips. All coaches are required to know the protocol by heart and are trained to help rowers to dry land in the case of an accident.

What happens if it rains?

Unlike in baseball, rowers don’t flinch at the sight of rain. We practice in the rain, snow, sleet, and hail. The only weather for which we will cancel on-water practice is dangerously cold temperatures, dangerously high winds, and lightning. In this case, your coaches will find “alternative methods” of conditioning you to win your next race.

What is the Attendance Policy?

Consistency comes part and parcel with discipline and excellence. You are expected to attend every practice. If there are extenuating circumstances, such as illness, family issues, or religious matters to tend to, don’t hesitate to reach out to your coach and explain the situation in advance. Coaches are mentors and support systems, not slave drivers.

Unlike in other sports, a boat meshing is a function of how many strokes it takes together—as a unit. As such, rowers are expected to attend every practice without fail. This builds trust and feel in the boat, making the boat run smoothly and the rowers faster together.

Can Rowing Help Me with College Admissions?

Absolutely, yes.

From storied men’s programs such as the University of California to newer varsity programs like Oklahoma City University, men’s rowing has pull in admissions offices around the country, from the Redwood Shores to the Freedom Trail in Boston.

Since Women’s Rowing became an NCAA sport in 1999, the scholarship scene has exploded, and with it, so have roster spots and recruiting pull at more schools than just the Ivy League and upper crust. The Ohio State University has a three-time running NCAA Division I Championship streak, including two Varsity 8+ titles only two hours away in Columbus, Ohio. The University of Texas at Austin, University of California, San Diego, Rutgers, Holy Cross, Wisconsin Madison, Gonzaga University, Georgetown University, Saint Joseph’s University, Drexel, George Washington, University of Washington, and countless others have regional and national powerhouse rowing programs, all with influence in the admissions office. The list doesn’t stop here, so if you’re interested in a school, just ask us and we’ll be glad to point you in the right direction!