Joining Granby Crew FAQ

Q:  How do I join?

A:  Best option… come to study hall.  We’ll take it from there.  Or, contact the coaches or the booster club.  Emailing us is easiest.  Or come out the boathouse and see what practice is like.  Here’s a more specific list of stuff to get done:

  • You’ll need a VHSL physical.
  • You’ll need to complete a team swim test.
  • There’s some paperwork, most of which is on “The Right Form” page.

Q:  Is it too late to join?

A:  No.  It’s never too late to join.  Well, almost never.  If you’re a senior with no rowing experience and it’s March, then we’re about to start racing and it’s probably too late for you to learn.  If you want to race in the Fall, then joining in October is pushing it.  If you want to race in the spring, we really need you to join before February.  Learning to row is like learning to golf.  You wouldn’t golf well on the third week.  The same goes for crew.

Q:  Do I need to be a good athlete to join?

A:  Not really, but it sure does help.  The athletics will come with the work.  If you do the work, then you’ll become an athlete.  We start slow and build into the sport with plenty of focus on correct motions first.  If you join at the beginning of fall, then you’ll be able to keep up for the rest of the year.  Later on, we get more intense.  But, no matter when you join, we’ll be happy to have you.

Q:  Do I need to be a good swimmer?

A:  No.  Crew does not involve swimming unless something goes wrong.  This is rare, but being on the water requires a margin of safety.  So, you must be able to swim.  Don’t worry; we’ll help you learn.  Our swim test requirements are very simple and we have several people on the team who can help you get better in time to row.  In fact, the first two weeks of learning the sport are best done on land.  There are several chances to test your swimming.

Q:  What if I can’t run?

A:  We run from school to practice.  It’s a big part of our routine.  Running is a great way to build your endurance, but it’s not the only way.  People who can’t run can still be part of Granby Crew.  We can get you over to practice.  And, you’ll have plenty of chances to build endurance.

Q:  What if I’m part of other sports?

A:  That’s fine.  It might be ideal.  Young athletes benefit greatly from cross-training.  You are welcome to train with our team any time you like.  Participation in just one season or in the entire year can be arranged.  But remember, you need time to learn rowing before you can race.  Joining late in any season lessens the chance you will be ready to compete.  As for the team’s dues, participation in only a portion of the year lessens the total financial obligation required.

Q:  Can I come watch some rowing before I decide to join?

A:  Yup.  We can arrange a time for you to drop by and observe.  Riding in the launch is usually possible, but not always.  It’s also a good idea to talk to team members about the sport if you know any of them.

Q:  Do I have to attend Granby High School to be a part of the team?

A:  In the fall and winter, our program is not Granby Crew.  We are actually rowing as members of the Hampton Roads Rowing Club Juniors program.  Norfolk Public School students who want to row with us in this time should contact us to see if the team has room.  But, when spring arrives, we participate in events that require entire boats consist of students from one high school.  You must meet all NPS requirements for doing sports at Granby to race as Granby.  Some efforts are being made to expand crew to other local NPS schools.  If you’d like to explore that, we might be able to help.

Q:  When and where can I get a VHSL physical?

A:  In the summer Norfolk Public Schools offers physicals for students who will be doing sports.  If it’s not the summer, or the first few weeks of school then you’ll need to get it done by a qualified physician.  The schedule and the form are updated yearly and posted on the NPS website (

Q:  I’ve never rowed before.  Should I participate in a summer rowing camp to get a head-start?

A:  No!  Please let your first days/weeks rowing be with us.  Most rowing camps are 1-3 weeks.  This is not enough time to properly teach the rowing stroke.  As a result, the camps often move at a highly accelerated pace that breeds bad habits.  Granby Crew takes great pride in our rowing technique, our patient instruction of novices on proper execution of the rowing stroke, and our impressive novice racing results.  Besides, rowing camps are much more fun at the end of your novice year (not before).

Q:  What is the team’s swim test?

A:  There is a swim test requirements page on our website.

Q:  When and where is the next swim test?

A:  There are usually three swim tests at the beginning of the fall.  Get on the team’s email list and you’ll be informed about the details.  When a new student joins we can get their swimming tested on an individual basis.  Just ask a coach for a test opportunity.  In the spring there will likely be one scheduled test to make sure anyone new is good to start getting on the water.

Q:  What is the cost to participate?

A:  Those details are in the paperwork for joining.  It depends on what seasons you want to do, and whether you want to race.  Good news is… you don’t have to pay anything to come try the sport for a few practices.  Dues are only paid to remain on the team.  Other good news:  there’s financial assistance potentially available.