Collegiate rowing was one of the best experiences I have had in my life. As a freshman at UC Davis, I walked onto the novice team after completing the rigorous week of tryouts. The unique thing about rowing in college is that you don’t actually need any experience to join the team; you won’t see that in any other college sport.
While there were a few girls at Davis who had rowed in high school, I was the only one who had attended a summer rowing camp. While I still didn’t have any competitive experience in a shell, I had learned a lot of the basics and techniques of rowing. Having that minimal experience and the physical strength helped me eventually earn a scholarship to row for the team.
The rowing camp I attended was a technique camp at Cal Berkeley, a top U.S. collegiate rowing program. Their experienced coaching staff instructors led our group of girls through dry-land training, conditioning work, challenging erg workouts, and team building, as well as time spent in between the gunnels, learning basic technique and the movements of the oar. This camp showed me just how challenging the sport of rowing was and I loved that aspect of it. So when I decided not to pursue volleyball (the sport I played all my life), this seemed like the next best choice.
Attending a rowing camp can be beneficial for a number of reasons. Here are the top three reasons to consider a rowing camp while you are in high school:
Introduce and Improve Technique
To succeed in rowing, you must have sound technique and the ability to match the techniques of the other rowers in the boat. At a basic rowing camp, novice rowers can learn the basic techniques and improve upon those they already know. Being able to master the techniques of rowing will help improve your overall stroke and speed.
Maintain Fitness and Conditioning
For many high school rowers, it is important to keep in shape all year-round, especially during the summer when teams may not have as many scheduled practices. Rowing camps allow these athletes to not only practice their technique but also help maintain their fitness and keep up their endurance. Many rowing camps offer fun competition as well, so there is good race practice too.
Connections with College Coaches
Many of the college rowing programs across the country offer summer rowing camps at their boathouses and campuses. By attending a rowing camp at a college you are interested in, you are given a better perspective of what it would be like to row at that school. You’ll get to see the boathouse, the training facilities, and a good part of campus. You will also get to interact with coaches and other team members and get familiar with them as possible options when you get ready to apply to schools. A rowing camp is a great opportunity to build a relationship with a college coach before you even apply to their school. It is important to build these relationships as your search for rowing scholarship opportunities.
I highly recommend trying a rowing camp for novice, other limited-experience rowers, and varsity-level rowers. I found the instruction and training that they offer can be a great and fun experience for athletes of all types. Rowing camps are a fun way to experience a unique sport and can give you a great advantage if you consider rowing in college!