About the Rower

Q:  Who should join crew to be a rower?

A:  You should.

Q:  What equipment do rowers bring to practice?

A:   Here’s a list of what you should have as a competitive rower.  Not all items are absolutely necessary, and in those cases, alternatives are suggested.

  • A water bottle – We are on the water, away from drinking water for a long time.  You need to bring your own.
  • Running shoes – We do plenty of running.  Good shoes prevent injury.
  • Spandex – Crew shells have seats that roll.  Baggy shorts get stuck in the wheels.  You want tight shorts or spandex.  Every serious crew rows in spandex.
  • Shirts that fit – There are other things to get caught on in rowing shells besides wheels as your body is going though a full range of motion.  A baggy shirt will really disrupt that.  Tight shirts are ideal.
  • A ballcap – Eyesight is a fundamental balance mechanism for humans.  Keeping the sun and sweat out of your eyes is smart.
  • Sun glasses – Sunlight damages eyes just like it damages skin.  Get a cheap pair that protects from UVA/UVB rays.
  • Warm clothes when it’s cold – Rowing happens on good water and bad.  If the water’s good enough, we’ll go out when it’s really cold.  Some teams row in the snow.  Just remember, baggy clothing is a bad idea.

Q:  What is the job of a rower?

A:  Move the boat.  It’s that simple.  All the instruction, all the training, all the hard work boils down to one simple goal: move the boat.  Boat speed comes from power applied properly with good technique.  Of course, in a boat with other rowers, you must not only row well yourself, but row in a manner that enables others to row well.  That takes timing, balance, and smooth application of power.  Each rower pulls hard on the oar to leverage the boat forward.  They work as a team, and listen to the coxswain, so all that effort translates into speed.

Q:  What makes for a good rower?

A:  Like most sports, great rowers must first be great athletes.  Endurance, power, agility, flexibility, coordination, and intelligence are all necessary.  Height helps, but it’s not everything.  Weight can help too, but only if every ounce is useful in moving the boat.  Mental toughness is necessary; rowers push through lots of muscular pain during the hardest workouts.  More than anything else, a desire to be a good rower is necessary.  If you have that, we can work on the rest.

Q:  Do rowers get to cox?

A:  They can cox.  Granby Crew has had many students who did both, including several state champions.  The jobs are not mutually exclusive.  In fact, doing both jobs helps you understand what is required of both positions.  Big rowers should not expect to cox; they might not fit in the seat.  Obviously there are fewer coxswains than rowers, so the opportunities to swap might be limited.