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College Rowing

Kelly1234Kelly1234 Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
edited September 2012 in Athletic Recruits
Hi there, quick question. I just read the thread on the incoming Junior who is just starting to row and was looking for advice. I'm one step further (or back, technically) - I'm going to be an incoming Senior and just started rowing this summer. I'm not looking to recruit for college since I feel I'm much too late for that, but I'd really like to continue to row while I'm in college.
However, a lot of the colleges I will be applying to apparently have really great rowing programs, that I'm sure all of the women were recruited into (USC, Notre Dame, BU). What should I do in this case? Should I forget rowing once college comes around and just use the ERGs at a local gym, or is there something else I should look into?
Post edited by Kelly1234 on

Replies to: College Rowing

  • imafanimafan Registered User Posts: 252 Junior Member
    Kelly, More than half of EVERY team in college is made up of walk ons!
  • GolfFatherGolfFather Registered User Posts: 1,519 Senior Member
    walk ons

    Exactly this.

    But also, Kelly, I don't think being a rising senior is necessarily a complete show-stopper for recruiting. It's all ERG, ERG, ERG times. Plus a little GPA and SAT sprinkled in.

    If you have amazing ERG times, they'll want you. If not, not.
  • etondadetondad Registered User Posts: 1,122 Senior Member
    Williams women's crew that won the DIII championship just sent a letter to the incoming freshman class asking potential rowers to walk on--and I gather this is common. I wonder how much non heavy weight men's crew recruits compared to lightweight or women?
  • GolfFatherGolfFather Registered User Posts: 1,519 Senior Member
    Div III might be a different animal than the Div I schools that the O/P listed.

    I talked to one Div I rowing coach recently and this subject came up. He said coaches (well, he) love walk-ons because they've already been admitted to the school.

    I know that sounds odd when you read it but I think everyone knows what I mean. There is no recruiting involved or questions on whether the student can get into the school or not ... they're already there!
  • stalkermamastalkermama Registered User Posts: 586 Member
    who wouldn't love a great walk on? How often does that happen that a coach gets a great walk on that will be dedicated? The kids that have been rowing thru HS already know the dedication it takes to be on a team. Just curious who walks on and stays?
  • hangNtherehangNthere Registered User Posts: 94 Junior Member
    The walk ons who are the most likely to be successful rowers in college are those who were strong athletes during high school. Rowing has a steep learning curve and several of the world's top rowers switched from other sports relatively late in their athletic careers.
  • stalkermamastalkermama Registered User Posts: 586 Member
    Why would someone give up their sport they love and played in HS and all the sudden switch? My daughter is a rower and I don't think she would all the sudden say geez i like volleyball or swimming. I am sure it happens but really how often?
  • GolfFatherGolfFather Registered User Posts: 1,519 Senior Member
    Just curious who walks on and stays?

    Agree, great question. I remember hearing or reading a "number" but I can't remember and don't want to make one up.

    There is also a natural attrition that happens anyway. Some kids just drop the sport.
    The walk ons who are the most likely to be successful rowers in college are those who were strong athletes during high school

    Well, depends on what you mean by "successful." I assume you mean the fastest ERG times and a chance at being on the No. 1 eight.

    If so, then yes, most walk-ons are probably just "filling out" the team I would guess. And, agree, the fastest female walk-ons are probably the six-foot women who played volleyball or basketball in high school.

    But I'd also call students who maybe never rowed before or maybe rowed but weren't recruited and still become part of a team as successful.
  • hangNtherehangNthere Registered User Posts: 94 Junior Member
    stalkermama, it's not that athletes in other sports wake up one morning and decide to try rowing and discontinue their current sport. Many times the decision to try something different is due to a injury that substantailly limits an athlete's potential in one sport but doesn't materially affect them in another. Other times physical limitations that didn't prevent an athlete from being successful in high school may cause a former star to spend four years on the sidelines in college.

    One of my children's friends wasn't good enough to swim at his dream school. Although he could have gone elsewhere, he chose to attend this school knowing he would not be able to continue his current sport. He tried out for crew and is now one of his school's best rowers.
  • imafanimafan Registered User Posts: 252 Junior Member
    UCLA has a current rower who was a walk on freshman year, and this summer rowed on the U-23 team. It's likely she was an athlete in HS in another sport. It's also likely she's getting scholarship money from UCLA now.
  • fishymomfishymom Registered User Posts: 1,849 Senior Member
    My daughter was an accomplished athlete in several different sports, ie. state qualifier, all conference teams, and took up rowing as a mid-year junior in high school. She loved rowing right from the start and signed her NLI just 9 months after joining the rowing team, so it does happen. But this would be unheard of in almost any other sport! A rower who decided to take up swimming or volleyball late in their high school career would be very unlikely to become proficient enough to be recruited. I know of 1 swimmer, a flat out 50 free sprinter, who was recruited after just 3 seasons of high school swimming, but he is certainly the exception. In contrast, a strong athlete from an aerobic sport such as swimming or soccer can easily cross over to rowing and reach the top level in a relatively short period of time. This is why we hear stories of walk-on rowers competing at the very highest levels of the sport. If an athlete has the aerobic base, natural athletic ability and is coachable, anything is possible!

    As far as walk-ons, many are former high school athletes that were either not good enough to play at the college level or chose not to. The attrition rate is pretty high. In the programs I have looked at, approximately 1/3 to 1/2 are not on the roster after the first year, with more dropping in subsequent years. Rowing is not a sport for the faint of heart! The demands placed upon college athletes is huge, 25+ hours a week, not to mention the travel and physical exhaustion, it is no wonder the attrition rate is so high!
  • imafanimafan Registered User Posts: 252 Junior Member
    Good post. I wonder if that has to do with roster size/scholarship/walk on ratio. If there are 20 scholarships for 70 teammates, it's likely easier for those not receiving money to say "thanks, I'm done" than those with the scholarship. Since none of the IVYS offer scholarships, I wonder if their attrition rate is higher or relatively the same.
  • keabie18keabie18 Registered User Posts: 414 Member
    I walked on to my team (Division 1), and from what the coaches have told us, they consistently have at least one freshmen novice make it into the 1st varsity 8 by the end of the season. We're not just filling spots. Numbers wise, 6 of us made the team.
  • Timmy2000Timmy2000 Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    I second many of the opinions that I read, one daughter is a soccer player, friend on her third ACL repair switched from soccer to rowing in high school. She was a good athlete and easily transferred her passion from one sport to another.

    The biggest factor in rowing is the mental one. If the person has the drive, passion and physical stamina they can succeed in rowing. It is a highly technique driven sport, that requires immediate shift from aerobic to anaerobic mode for 6+ minutes. It only takes 200 strokes to race a 2k, but the test is to be able to put together 200 perfect strokes (along with 7 other rowers).

    Oh yeah and on the women's side they athletes have to be able to deal with loosing half the skin from their hands too....
  • GolfFatherGolfFather Registered User Posts: 1,519 Senior Member
    on the women's side they athletes have to be able to deal with loosing half the skin from their hands too....

    Yes, during rowing season, my D's hands are full of very painful blisters.
    But don't men's hands get chewed up too?
This discussion has been closed.