There is no question that being in a fast 1V with good rowing results is helpful with recruiting. However, even if you are in the 2V or 3V, and have never won a race you should not give up on recruiting or on getting stronger as a rower/coxswain. College coaches are looking for strong rowers and coxswains with potential regardless of boatings.

A wise coach once told athletes who wanted to get into a faster boat that they should make whatever boat they are in go faster. This is one of the most important lessons for recruiting. Do your best every stroke, every practice and every race.

Winter is a great time to get  started on completion of required testing-SAT/ACT/SAT II.  Admissions requirements are different for each school.  Take time now to understand what you will need to complete an application to every school in which you are interested.  For recruiting purposes it is best if you can have all required testing done by the end of your junior year.  It makes a coach’s job much easier if you can submit all of your academic information at the end of junior year rather than making them have to wait until fall of senior year.

Winter is a great time to make college visits. While the weather may be less than optimal, winter is generally a less intense season so may be one of the best times to visit.  It is very important as part of the recruiting process to get on campus  to get a “feel” of the campus and to meet with the coach to learn more about the rowing program.  Be sure to  do your “homework” about a school and rowing program before taking time to visit so that you make the most of your time on campus.

Remember that not liking a college is as valuable as liking a particular school.  You will eventually  make a prioritized list of colleges in which you are interested so the visits and your reactions to schools will be very helpful later in the process.


Try to get as much of your testing done as you can during your junior year.  Winter is a great time to take some of the tests since you will be really busy during spring race season.  If you are a sophomore, think about taking an SAT II test in  one of your strong subjects.   Talk to your teacher about the possibility of taking the SATII in that subject during the spring of sophomore year.  This will ease the testing pressure next year.

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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.  Another resource and great website produced by students is  Think about where you want to go to school, how far from home, do you like an urban campus or a campus further away from a city and what size school appeals to you.

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.


While visiting schools is time consuming, it is critically important to the recruiting process.  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.

The best way to use the polls is as one of many tools to gather information about rowing programs. Remember that programs can change from year to year with the addition of new recruiting classes as well as any change of  coaching that may occur.

We like to look at all the polls listed on Row2k when gathering information about a program.  If you look at the polls, you can see that the time differences between programs can be quite small so look “deep” and do not write off a program that looks lower in the polls if you really like the school.  It is critically important to ask questions and determine what you are looking for in a school and rowing program independent of any polls. Use the polls as a means of comparison between programs not as the final determiner of your interest in the program.

The Cmax polls are based on statistics and are prominently listed on the Row2K polls indicating recognition of the value of the information.   We agree that none of the polls take all variables into account but when read along with other information such as race results (and comments from those  races) as well as articles written about the teams and their races, they do add a degree of quantitative analysis to what could otherwise be quite subjective conclusions.


NCAA Recruiting rules are complicated and can be confusing for a prospect.  Recent rule changes are often misinterpreted by prospect and their parents.  Recruiting rules are different for different sports and are different for D I, D II and D III programs.   The following chart gives a good  outline of the rules that apply during the sophomore, junior and senior year for all sports.  Rowing is considered “Other sports” on the chart.


Junior rowers and coxswains often look at more senior members of their teams and lose sight of the hard work and many seasons of rowing/coxing that it takes to get into the most competitive boats on a team.  For rowers and coxswains who are early in their career-be sure to give yourself the time necessary to develop the technical and mental skill necessary to handle being in a top boat.  We are not saying that you should be complacent and wait for things to happen to you, but we are saying that it takes time, practice and miles on the water to achieve the skill necessary for competitive racing.  So-give it your best everyday, learn from the more seasoned members of your team and you will have a good chance at reaching your highest potential.


Check out this video about racing at the Head of the Charles. It is great to understand the course before the race. While Friday’s practice time starts earlier this year (2014) many teams may not have an opportunity to get on the course before the race. This is a great video for both coxswains and rowers.