“I Can’t, I Have Crew.”

Katie Gaherty

Katie Gaherty

Rowers do more physical activity before 8 am than most people do all day. For rowers or coxswains, rising at the crack of dawn is a part of the daily routine.

Crew requires effort, patience, determination, and a significant time commitment. “With crew, I am able to work hard and compete against myself to reach my own goals and expectations,” says junior Eduard Cornew.

Because it requires a rigorous team effort, crew creates strong friendships while developing athletes. “Crew is one of the only things that I’ve ever done where I’ve felt truly part of a team,” adds Becca Tse, a coxswain for NorCal Crew, “You spend every living breathing moment with those in your boat. And when you’re working together, nothing can stop you.”

Because the rowers face opposite from the direction in which they are going, they need assistance in direction and commands. This is where the coxswain, the coaches of the boat, come in. They not only have to learn proper rowing techniques, but they also need to know the boat, rowers’ strengths and weaknesses, and steering and direction. The job may not demand physical labor, but mentally, coxswains must process a lot quickly and in an efficient manor.

“[Rowers] make a connection throughout the boat, from the coxswain to the bow seat and everyone in between,” Tse adds.

The sport offers high schoolers huge opportunities for college recruitment. Rowers and coxswains are highly regarded by many colleges for scholarships, since crew is a relatively uncommon sport that requires many team players. This gives committed athletes a boost in their college applications. Most colleges require a player who will commit to the team for a year when recruited, unless an injury or medical emergency arises.

There are a variety of local crew clubs that practice on lakes, rivers, or bays, including NorCal Crew, Stanford Rowing Center, and Palo Alto Rowing Center. All of these clubs are located on the port of Redwood City, and look for new participants year round. The season begins in the fall when they start headraces or regattas (5,000 meters) and recruit through spring when they begin competitive seat racing or regattas (2,000 meters). Many of the clubs set up erg-a-thons where they row on an erg (rowing machine) at a public location to raise money for their team and introduce the sport to others who might be interested.

Rowing or coxing on a crew team offers many benefits for personal and team development. Crew allows you to gain physical coordination and strength as well as leadership and team skills. It is rewarding when a team of 4 or 8 can help each other to succeed in a race. Crew is a sport that does not require prior experience; it is easy to learn with willingness and determination and can lead to worthwhile opportunities in the future.

If any high school students are interested in looking at local crew teams, the links are included below:

NorCal Crew

Palo Alto Rowing Club

Stanford Rowing Club

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17 Responses to ““I Can’t, I Have Crew.””

  1. whanley on November 26th, 2012 3:52 pm

    Never heard the term “coxswain” before. I guess you learn something new every day right? I give props to anyone doing crew, it seems and sounds brutal.

  2. shoover on November 27th, 2012 2:18 am

    I think that crew often gets forgotten because many people don’t find it exciting to watch, but it is actually a very difficult sport that requires extreme precision as well as strength. In addition, it fosters team relationships to a greater extent than most other sports because of the synchronicity and balance necessary to succeed. It’s also great to see that the people who are interested in it are truly dedicated to the sport.

  3. Ryan on November 27th, 2012 5:40 pm

    I’ve heard more and more about crew recently, as it seems that it is gaining popularity throughout the community. I once did a crew camp, and it really challenges every part of your body. Not only is it physically tolling; it also requires emotional energy, as rowers must work with their teammates to achieve success. Interesting article, Katie!

  4. Zoe Pacalin on November 27th, 2012 7:06 pm

    I know a couple people who row crew and they both put in a lot of hours. Great photo!

  5. Virsies on November 27th, 2012 7:39 pm

    I’ve always had a lot of respect for rowers, they’re all so fit and strong. It’s awesome that colleges look for those team player athletes and that they can get scholarship opportunities because of it.

  6. alai on November 27th, 2012 8:53 pm

    Informative! I didn’t realize rowers had to do so much work.

  7. rgordan on November 29th, 2012 3:54 pm

    well done, I’ve always wondered what crew was like.

  8. sparish on November 29th, 2012 6:44 pm

    Rowing is such an amazing sport. It takes so much work, but it really looks like it comes with its own rewards

  9. Hannah Ellefritz on November 29th, 2012 11:36 pm

    Very informative! I have also heard that colleges are willing to recruit train many students with the certain height and weight requirements to do crew for their schools. Interesting, huh?

  10. David Schmitt on December 3rd, 2012 4:12 pm

    Crew is also becoming more heavily recruited by colleges, so many rowers see their commitment pay off in that sense.

  11. Katie Gaherty on December 4th, 2012 4:47 pm

    I wanted to educate people of the effort athletes put into to this sport. Many people don’t even acknowledge the strength and coordinating as well as experience to participate in crew. It is amazing to see how far athletes can come from the time they start until they master the technique of rowing and coxing!

    greid Reply:

    Wow – that’s true. I had no idea until I read this article.

  12. amacfarlane on December 4th, 2012 7:35 pm

    Truly beautiful picture, Katie. And an informative, well-written article to accompany it!

  13. shenze on December 4th, 2012 8:53 pm

    I always knew Crew was an intense sport, but I didn’t know to what extent- wow! I do agree with David that I have noticed an increase in college crew recruits.

  14. jrafael on December 6th, 2012 11:37 pm

    I didn’t know that crew was such a hard sport. It’s nice to know a little more about a sport that I was not familiar with. Also that is a really great picture Katie!

  15. Sarah on December 7th, 2012 12:06 am

    what an amazing picture! i have a few friends who do crew and im always hearing about it, its great to have an article up about it!!

  16. Sabiha Viswanathan on December 8th, 2012 1:24 pm

    I think crew is completely underestimated as a sport that is vigorous and in this article you truly explained that so well! I have so much more respect for the sport now and not to mention that sunrise looks amazing.