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  Crew (Rowing)



Crew (Rowing) Introduction Regattas Crew Terms
Reasons to Row Crew Equipment Timeline of Rowing History

What is Crew?

Crew, which is a means of propelling boats using oars, is a sport that originated in Europe and has a moderate following in the United States. Men's and women's crew can be found mainly at the collegiate level and as a varsity sport in select high schools.  In many locations it is necessary to find a local, private adult  or youth rowing clubs to participate in this sport

Rowing is an exciting, competitive sport.  It requires skill, teamwork, strength, and endurance. Since there are very few rules it is quite easy to participate.  It is the ultimate walk-on sport.    The United States Rowing Association s the regulating authority on all amateur rowing in the USA and it sets the operational rules for safety and fair competition.

Types of Rowing

There are two types of rowing: sculling and sweep rowing.  Sculling is where the rowers have an oar in each hand.  Scullers row in singles, doubles and quads.  In sweep rowing both hands are on a single oar.    Sweep rowers may be in pairs, fours, or eights.  In teams of 4 or 8 there is often an extra person, known as a coxswain, who coaches the rowers and steers the boat. They generally race on a measured 1,500 meter course.  Rowing is a coed sport and the men's and women's teams are organized by skill, sex, age and weight. Events are offered for men, women and mixed crews with equal distribution of each sex.  For more detail see All Star Activities Regattas Page.

Cost and Age Restrictions

Age Requirements

High school is normally the age that people start crew.  However, for those that are interested at an earlier age you can start at the age of nine but it is recommended that you wait until 12.  The reason being that rowing can be physically challenging so it is necessary for your child to be able to cope with the demands of this sport.  It is an excellent form of fitness that provides both aerobic conditioning and strength training.  Once involved with this sport you can continue it for a lifetime.  Most clubs require an official swim test to participate.  The rower must be able to swim 100 meters and has to be able to tread water for 2 minutes.


 In most schools crew is a club sport and is totally funded through dues and fundraising.   Fees are expensive for this sport and you can expect costs to be approximately $1200 - $2100 per season.  Payment plans are available and vary based on the club.  You should not let the dues requirements scare you away because there are many fundraising opportunities scheduled for each club to help defray cost. However, it is essential for every family to contribute to the effort by participating and volunteering in fundraising events.  



Crew is a full year sport with two seasons Fall and Spring.  The Spring season goes from the end of February to May or June and the Fall season begins at the end of August and runs until Mid-November.  Some days are devoted entirely to land training which includes running, erging and weights,  while other sessions are completely on the water


Independent Clubs

You can normally join an independent rowing club at any time throughout the year between July 1 and June 30 of the following year.  Independent clubs give you the option to row for one season but most children row in both seasons.  As a beginner you will probably row once or twice a week.  If you decide to compete then you can expect practices to increase to 4 or more days a week for approximately 2 -3 hours at a time. 


High School Club


In most high schools the Fall season is about training and the focus is on developing cardiovascular fitness, increasing strength and endurance and improving technique.  The Spring season is the primary competitive season.   It begins at the end of February and the team gets on the water for practices. These practices are held at a local boathouse.  Spring on-the-water practices will take place five days a week, Monday - Friday, and possibly on Saturday approaching regatta season.  Practices, which last approximately 1 1/2 - 2 hours, will usually be after school but there could also be early-morning, before school practices.