Rowing 101

New to rowing and want to learn more about the sport? Below is information that can help you become a rowing aficionado.

Practices & Competitions

Water Practice

Time on water is important to rower successes at regattas. It provides an opportunity for the team to practice timing and other technical elements of the rowing movement in rowing boats. For that reason, unless the water temperature, lightning, or wind speed makes being on the water unsafe, rowers will be out rain or shine.

Coaches run practices from “launches”. The launch has a motor so that it is easy to move between boats. Floatation devices for rowers are stored on the launch. 

Land Practice

The core of land practices is usually “erging”. The ergometer is a rowing machine and is able to track all of the metrics used to measure rower speed. On some days, rowers will do erg “tests”, trying PR (beat their personal record). This is one way to measure rower progress. In addition to erging, land practices might include runs, weight training or circuit training. Land training is hard and not as much fun as being on the water, but it has a significant impact on the success of each athlete, and the team as a whole, during the racing seasons. Athlete’s should have clothing and footwear with them that is appropriate for both indoor and outdoor activity.

Tank Days

Typically CRRC will work out 3-4 days over the course of the winter to hold practice at the Porter Boathouse (where UW rowers do their off-season training). This usually happens around once per month, and gives rowers an opportunity to do some oar work during the long Wisconsin winter.

Regattas (rowing races)

Essentially, a regatta is a large 1-2 day event with races in a variety of categories. There are usually opportunities for both novice and varsity racers, and in some events, masters (adult) racing as well. Events are listed by type of boat and type of crew; WV8+, for instance, refers to Women’s Varsity team rowing an 8-man shell with a coxswain.

There are different seasons in rowing and different types of races, as a result. Similar to running, the longer distance racing is in the fall (e.g., cross-country season) and the shorter races, or sprints, are held in the spring (e.g., track and field season)​.

Scrimmages, such as the one typically included in the Tennessee trip, are informal racing opportunities arranged between two or three clubs that are within reasonable driving distances to one another.

Boathouse Gatherings

In addition to regular practices and regattas, there are a variety of events that members of the CRRC community look forward to each season. Boathouse breakfasts are held after a Saturday AM practice usually happen once or twice each season and are a great time to come in and get to know other families. Each season usually has one boathouse evening gathering after a practice–chili dinner in the fall, and end of season banquet in the spring. Events are informal potlucks (sign upon sign up genius) and the whole family is always welcome. Bring your own chairs!

Spring Break Training Trip

One of the most important parts of the spring season is the spring training trip. The Club travels to Tennessee where they will have a resort all to themselves. Athletes are able to spend 3-4 hours per day on the water, which provides extensive and important practice prior to the start of the spring season. The spring break trip is also an important bonding time for the club.  Talent Shows, dress up dinner​ (rowers should have a nice outfit for one of the evenings….although the occasional Toga has made an appearance as well). It is tradition to visit Hammers- a truck stop store. Frozen Head State Park​: A favorite of rowers, this park features a beautiful hike along a creek and stops at two 20-foot high waterfalls. Scrimmage at Oak Ridge​: Teams from Tennessee and around the country train in Oak Ridge. We’ll spend a day on the course and wrap it up with a scrimmage and a trip to BigEd’s Pizza. Parent volunteers serve as chaperones and meal preparers throughout the trip. All chaperones are required to complete online SafeSport training and to go through a background check.

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