I’m currently a junior in high school. I’m 5’6 and 140 pounds. Recently I have started getting more serious about rowing & want to row in college. As a junior I know that this time is critical for college recruiting but I feel that I don’t have much to offer to colleges. I only row spring season so I don’t have as much experience on the water and none sculling. Last year as a sophomore I pulled an 8:35 2k and was in the lowest varsity boat. This year I’ve gotten my 2k down to a 7:54 and we still have a few months until the season. What would be a good 2k for the start of junior year and to be considered for colleges? I know that I can drop 4 seconds easily since my last 2k as I was just concerned with breaking 8 so it was more of a mental barrier. Is it feasible for me to drop to a 7:40 2k by February if I continue to work out? I’m afraid that I won’t be able to because I’ve already dropped so much time and I really don’t know my physical max yet because I have always PRed each time I have done a 2k but felt like I could have given more if I hadn’t got into my head. Also could I become a recruitable athlete even with my limited experience and pretty slow times? Could I try for lightweight programs even though I hover around a 139-141 right now?
I think the number of people that have sculling or small boats experience going into college is relatively small so I wouldn’t worry too much about that. It definitely helps your technique but I think the majority of rowers I know didn’t start sculling until the summer after their freshman year of college. Only a handful actually sculled in high school and that was only because their teams had the equipment available (whereas as most don’t). Same goes for only rowing in the spring – I know a ton of rowers that only did the spring season, either because it was all their school offered, they played a fall sport, or their school required them to do a different sport each semester. Coaches factor that stuff in too when looking at your times – somebody that only rows 4-5 months out of the year typically isn’t gonna be held to the same standard as those who are rowing year-round. Check out the post linked below for more on that.
I’m not as familiar with women’s times as I am with men’s but from what I’ve heard over the last couple of years, to stand out to top programs (i.e. grand final and top half of the petite finals at NCAAs) you should be in the 7:20 – 7:30ish range. If you’re a little slower (i.e. 7:30 – 7:40ish) but have really solid grades, that can make up for being a little off the pace they usually recruit at. If you’re sub-7:20, well, you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting looks from the schools you’re interested in.
If you’re at 7:54 right now and have been regularly training on your own (steady state, lifting, cross-training, etc.) then PR’ing on your next test should definitely be a possibility. 7:40 seems like an aggressive drop unless it’s been a while since your last 2k, in which case … maybe? I’d probably set my goal at something more feasible though, like 7:50 and if you go sub-7:50 then great but if not, at least you still hit this goal. If getting into your head during pieces is something you struggle with then smaller goals like this will definitely benefit you more (mentally) than striving for something huge like a 14 second drop.
You could actually probably go lightweight or openweight but if your natural weight is 10ish pounds over the lightweight minimum I’d probably have a serious conversation with your doctor first before you tried losing weight. You’ll be lifting a lot (more than you probably are now) in college too so you’ve gotta anticipate putting muscle on from that so that’s another thing you’ve gotta consider if you’re thinking about going lightweight. Personally I’d probably go the route of just staying at 140ish+, partially because there’s not as many lightweight programs and you’ll likely have more opportunities as an openweight. Do that, get a solid amount of steady state meters in each week throughout the winter, train smart, lift, etc. and you’ll have no problem dropping down into the 7:40s.