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MissAnthrope's avatar

I'm thinking of joining the rowing team. What do I need to know?

Asked by MissAnthrope (21458points) September 4th, 2009

My school is looking for quite a few people to join the rowing team and I can’t decide if I’m crazy for thinking about applying.

I’m somewhat out of shape and could stand to lose some weight. However, I am a great walker, enjoy hiking, and could get in shape enough to do this, I think. I’ve always liked the rowing machine at the gym and I love being on the water. In a geeky way, I’ve always though rowers were cool. I also like participating in team sports, especially one that’s not so mainstream (our football fans are obnoxious idiots). Lastly, I would welcome the opportunity to get in better shape. Maybe I’m crazy, but I think it might be something I actually can do.

So any little tidbits of what it’s like, how it’s difficult (and easy), what to prepare for, what they’re looking for… lay it on me, because I’m interested in knowing as much as possible. Thanks. :)

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9 Answers

hug_of_war's avatar

Rowing is damn hard. Like surprisingly hard, especially if you’re not a competitive swimmer and aren’t used to using those shoulder/back muscles. When I was in high school almost all rowers were also on the swim team. I would get some exposure to it before deciding to do it.

rebbel's avatar

I’m thinking of going rowing myself, with my brother, so i am glad you ask and i’ll follow this one with interest.
Thus, good question.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I wanted to be a coxswain at uni, but I was 5lbs overweight and not the strongest swimmer. I say discuss what the requirement are with the coach, assess yourself and if you can go for it, go for it!

peyton_farquhar's avatar

The way I see it, is that all of the other sports are play. Rowing is work.

augustlan's avatar

You should PM shrubbery. I think rowing is her life.

row4food's avatar

I’m about to ramble on and on, because rowing is what I do

I rowed all through high school and college and now I’m the head rowing coach at a local university.

When you’re just starting out, don’t get frustrated. It’s a lot to take in all at once. Some people don’t catch on right away. This is where a ton of patience and determination comes in. There is a whole new language to learn (If someone says Heads Up, duck. Trust me). The fall season is the best time to start. You’ll have almost a month before racing starts to get in shape. Also, keep in mind that MOST college rowers are walk-ons, meaning they have little to no experience at all. Depending on what type of program your school has, you may be rowing with recruited scholarship athletes. You’ll all be in the same boat no pun =) The teams right now are doing heavy recruiting. My kids are having the novice information meeting in half an hour. They’ve been on campus all week handing out fliers. We brought a boat up to campus to bring people over and talk to them. Now is the perfect time to join.

As a Student-Athlete, you’ll have to keep on your time management. Your studies are most important, regardless of what your coaches will demand from you. You’re not going to school to row, you’re going to get an education and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. On the other hand, there are things you’ll sacrifice to keep rowing because you love it. You will fall asleep in class once in a while. You’ll have to go to bed when most college kids are getting ready to go out. (believe me, you’ll have plenty of time to get fun in, just earlier at night, as you’ll be tired.) You’ll eat a ton, many times a day. When I was training, I ate three times before 10AM. You’ll wear sweatpants to class and forgo a shower for 5 minutes of sleep and food. Also, spandex.

You’ll have to get used to getting up early. It’s hard the first week of each season, then the sunrise and flat water make it all worth it. And you’ll have done more by 8AM than most people will do by the end of their day. You gain an incredible energy from starting your day with an intense workout.

There are four rowing seasons, a year round sport. The fall is the endurance season. Long 5000 meter races with each boat going off at 30 second intervals, racing against the clock. The winter, depending on how far south you are, is indoors on the ergs, or rowing machines. You will get to know and loathe or love these. The spring is the Sprint season. 2000 meters, 6 boats across, all starting at once racing for the finish line. So exciting. The summer is when you’ll go home and join your local club and go race 2000 meters with different people and stay in shape for when you return to school.

If a team sport is what you want, there is nothing like rowing. It is the Ultimate team sport. There are 8 people in a boat. If one person is off, the boat slows down. If someone doesn’t show up for practice, the whole boat can’t go out. You learn to trust that your teammates will pull for you just as you’d pull for them. Soccer or softball, you can just play without a middle defender or an outfielder when they don’t show up.

The only things they’ll expect from you is to be willing to learn and willing to pull your heart out on the water. Give it your all and you’ll be successful. I may be biased but I will always encourage someone who is interested to give it a try. I can honestly say that rowing has made me who I am and I’d be lost without it.

Rowing is hard, but you’ll get out of it what you put in. You’ll be in the best shape of your life. Your competitive college rowing years are amazing and I wish to have them back. It was an incredible feeling sitting at graduation, knowing that I represented my university out on the race course and in the community. Once you get started you can almost always find a club nearby to join and row for the rest of your life. It’s low impact and uses all of your muscle groups. There are categories for every age group from the ‘Modified’ 6th graders, up to 99+. And there are different levels, depending on how competitive or recreational you want to be.

Check out these sites: – This is the official governing body for rowing in the US. – Lots of things rowing, results, stories, classifieds, pictures, anything really.
Look on YouTube for rowing videos. There are some good ones out there.

The first thing to do when you get out on the water is relax and take a deep breath. Relaxed muscles will be able to do way more work than tense ones which are already doing work.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. I know threw a lot out there.

Oh, and rowers are cool. =)

MissAnthrope's avatar

@row4food – Wow, I wish I could give 5 GA! That is very informative and helpful. :)

rebbel's avatar

@row4food I thank you too.

avvooooooo's avatar

@row4food You forgot “sexy.” Rowers are sexy too! Well… some of them. :)

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