Even Olympian rowers move between weight classes.  A weight classification can have a big impact on your “non-rowing” life. For high school rowers the issue can be especially complicated since many high school rowers are still growing and training increases as they progress through the ranks of  their high school teams.


Now that the Fall season is over, it is important to have a plan for the winter with realistic goals for where you want to be when the spring season starts.

For most high school rowers and coxswains, the winter season is a less time consuming season so it is a great time to focus on things that may have taken a “back seat” in the fall. Standardized testing is important and winter is a great time to “knock off” some of the testing required for your college application. Winter is also a great time to do research on which colleges might be of interest to you and even make a visit to see how the campus feels. Winter training is the time to work hard on the erg so that when spring comes you are as strong and fast as you can be.

It is important thing to stay healthy and strong during the winter. Focus on healthy eating and getting as much sleep as you can. A productive winter season can be a great starting point for a successful spring.

The winter season is a great time to get started with your college search and college rowing recruiting process. The best place to begin is to use college websites (including the athletic/rowing page of the school website) and reference books to gain as much information as you can about the schools and rowing programs in which you are interested. Think about where you want to go to school, how far from home, whether you like an urban campus or a campus further away from a city and what size school appeals to you.

We know that it is hard to find the time to make the visits during racing season so we suggest using the non-racing season to make as many visits as you can. For those of you in the colder climates, winter training is beginning and it is a great time to visit schools. Be sure when you visit, that you take the time to meet with the rowing coach. Meeting the coach gives you an opportunity to ask questions about the school and the program. It also gives the coach a chance to get to know you. A face to face meeting with the coach will be a huge benefit when you continue your communication with the coach through e-mail or phone.

Remember-your time will be very limited once the spring racing season starts, so try to get as much done now as you can. We know that your non-athlete friends (and many high school guidance counselors) will not understand why you are starting so early-but trust us, now is the time to do it.



Indoor rowing is popular with non-rowers for its full body workout. Rowing “studios” are popping up in throughout the US and are the latest addition to the boutique fitness market.



Just as employers see posts/tweets created by employees so too do both high school and college coaches. With the continued rise of social media, student athletes at both the high school and college levels must understand that anything they post/tweet or otherwise place in the social media sphere is accessible by their coach, athletic director or others in positions of authority. Inappropriate tweets/posts can result in suspension from a team, the end of recruitment or withdrawal of an offer of admission and/or financial support.




Building a strong novice team requires time and attention from coaches at both the high school and college level. Successful novice teams build a love of the sport and also integrate the novice rowers into the team as a whole.


Many high school athletes make incorrect assumptions and then are surprised when they are not accepted at the school where they were being “recruited”.

The term “recruited” is used very loosely by many high school rowers and when questioned closely, the high school rower may reveal that the coach did not actually give any indication of their position with respect to the “recruiting class” or even indicate any level of coach support for their application. It is essential to direct questions to the coach to fully understand where you stand in the process.

Academics are critical so do not minimize the importance of the academic pre-read. Many high school rowers are hesitant to ask direct questions for fear of getting an answer that they will not like. However, it is better to get the truth-no matter how hard-earlier rather than later in the process. That way you can make adjustments to maximize your options.

Many coaches communicate with hundreds of student-athletes when recruiting for their teams. They often have limited time to read e-mails and make an initial determination about their interest in a potential recruit.  In order to help the coach determine if you might be a good fit for them, it is important to provide the coach with the right information about yourself.  The “3 legged stool” of recruiting is:  SAT/SATII/ACT scores; GPA;  Erg score.  Addition critical information is “on the water performance”.  Some schools no longer require standardized testing as part of their application so you need to provide whatever academics they do require for admission.

Sometimes, potential recruits don’t want to send a test score or erg time because they do not think it is good enough.  The problem with this is that many coaches will not look seriously at a candidate unless then have information in all of the areas listed above, and sometimes not sending a score is a “red flag”.

Recruiting is very individual.  There is no right or wrong answer that fits everyone. Think long and hard about what information to send and when to send it.  If you think you might improve your scores, you may want to hold off communicating with coaches.  However, it is important to balance when and what to communicate to coaches against the recruiting timeline so that coaches know all about you in time to seriously consider you as a potential recruit.

Due to NCAA rule changes, college rowing coaches can now contact rowers starting on September 1st of their junior year. High school rowers should take advantage of this date by doing their homework about individual schools of interest. Summer is a great time to research specific colleges and their rowing programs. College coaches are impressed when high school rowers know about their particular school and ask questions specific to their team.

It is great if potential recruits can visit the college and meet the rowing coach before the junior year but if this is not possible, there are a lot of resources that can help with the research. The websites for Row2k and USRowing are a great way to start. Use Rower’s Edge for news and blogs and follow Rower’s Edge on FB and Twitter. Also-look at the college website with specific attention to the pages dedicated to the rowing team.

The recruiting process can be intense and depending on the time of year, things can happen quickly. Take the time to do as much research as you can so you are prepared.