Tag: recruiting

College Q&A Recruiting

Question of the Day

I know a coxswain who just applied and got into UCLA. I heard that all she had to do on her application essays was write “athlete”. Does this ever happen? Or is it just like huge colleges if they really, really want you…

This sounds … unlikely. Admissions offices don’t care if you’re an athlete – yes, your coach can speak on your behalf and give his/her input on what you can bring to the team and to the university, but if the people reviewing your application don’t think that you’re a good fit academically, you won’t be accepted. I’m sure there are athletes that can get away with doing this but rowing is the last sport that I think it would happen in … and like I said, even if it does happen it’s gotta be a rare occurrence.

Simply writing “athlete” on your essays is a really gross display of arrogance in my opinion. Your grades matter, as does your ability to put pen to paper and demonstrate your critical thinking skills. Admissions essays are how the university gets to know you – it’s like an interview. It’s your opportunity to say “this is who I am and this is why you should accept me.” Would you walk into a place of business with a job application that just has the job title you want scrawled on it? I certainly hope not. Colleges “really, really want” students who are going to succeed in the classroom, get a degree, and go on to become successful citizens who make the university look good. Yes, they might be really excited that a 5-star recruit is applying there but they won’t be accepted simply on their athletic skills alone. Does it happen? On rare occasions, of course it does. Does that make it right? No.

I know this might sound like a naive plug for college but I promise it’s not. It’s coming from experience as someone who participated in D1 sports and as someone who worked with one of the countries most well-known D1 football teams (aka the exact type of people who you would think would just have to write “athlete” on their applications). Education matters and simply writing “athlete” undermines every person, athlete or not, who has ever taken the time to put down a thoughtful response.

College Q&A Recruiting Rowing

Question of the Day

I’m a junior in high school and I’m 5’11”. What kind of erg times should I strive for to be recruited by colleges? I’ve heard mix things like sub 8 and sub 7:30 – is there a lot of variation among schools and divisions? I’m one of the better rowers on my team but I don’t know what kinds of times other kids have from around the country. I just started rowing a little less than a year ago and my last 2k was an 8:10. Would I realistically be able to get my time down before college?

I think generally coaches from the top openweight programs are looking for times that are sub-7:30ish. Lightweight women should shoot for times that are sub-7:40 to 7:50ish.

It’s definitely possible to get your time down before college but you’ll have to work for it. It’s not all about erging harder either. In order to go harder, you’ve got to be stronger, which means lifting, doing cardio, core, etc. The seconds aren’t going to come off as quickly as they did when you first started rowing. It’s like trying to lose weight … at first it comes off fast, but the longer you workout, the amount of weight you lose decreases as your body becomes more fit. Ideally if you are looking to be recruited, you would have already started the process of researching programs and contacting coaches in the fall. When you do talk with them, keep open lines of communication throughout the year and update them on any PRs you may achieve between now and this time next year.

There is some variation between divisions due mostly to the differing levels of competitiveness. D1 schools are going to be a lot more strict about erg times whereas D3 schools might be more lenient. Most D3 programs are clubs, not varsity (and the ones that are varsity can’t offer athletes scholarships anyways), so the majority of people on the team don’t start rowing until they join. I think on the club team I coach now there is only one rower (of 35-40ish) who rowed in high school. There are most likely some subtle differences between what individual universities are looking for as far as erg times though but to find out what they are, you’d have to reach out to the coaches and ask. The Ivies, Washington, Cal, Stanford, etc. are all very strong programs that tend to attract rowers with exceptional times.

In terms of finding out times of other people in the country, there are a few ways to find out, all involving a decent amount of research on your end. The first is to ask. Talk with your current coach or any alumni rowers from your program who row(ed) in college. Your coach should have a general idea of what previous rowers in your program had if you can’t actually talk with any of them. Second, ask people on Reddit. The rowing community is pretty vast on there and most people are willing to share their times if/when asked (although this question gets asked a lot so search the sub before starting a new thread).

Related: Hey I’m currently a sophomore & I’m interested in rowing in college. An older teammate suggested I make a beRecruited account. What are your thoughts on the website? Is it helpful? If so, what are your suggestions about keeping it updated? I feel weird writing about myself! Should I list any regatta my boat has placed in or just major races?

Third, go through sites like CollegeConfidential and beRecruited.com. CollegeConfidential isn’t limited to rowing, so you’ll have to search “rowing”, “erg times”, etc. in the forum to bring up specific results, but there are a lot of great questions and even more great answers on there. The vast amount of information can be overwhelming though. beRecruited.com is something you should consider looking into if you’re serious about being recruited.

College Ergs Q&A Recruiting

Question of the Day

I am an openweight girl rower who is 5’9″. I really want to get recruited to college. What erg times should I have to even be considered? Thanks!!

Typically coaches are looking for times that are sub-7:30ish for heavy/open weight women but it varies amongst programs and divisions. You should ask the coaches you’re talking to what their expectations are. Keep in mind that erg times are important but they aren’t the only factor – they look at your physiological stats (height, weight, etc.), grades, etc. too.

College Q&A Recruiting Rowing

Question of the Day

Hi I’m a lightweight junior girl. I weigh 125 and am 5’3″. Is an 8:30 a good 2k time and what should I lower it to for recruiting purposes? I have been rowing since my freshman year.

To be recruited to a D1 school, you’d need times that are around 7:45ish. Schools that have strong lightweight programs are looking for times closer to sub 7:40, but most coaches will give you a look if you’re sub 7:50. There aren’t many women’s lightweight programs across the country though so if you specifically want to row lightweight, make sure you look at schools that have dedicated lightweight programs.

To be honest though, because of your height and erg time right now, it seems unlikely that you’d be recruited as a rower – they’d probably ask you to be a coxswain. Someone I knew in college was around your height/weight and had an 8:20ish 2k but was asked to cox instead of row. If you went to a D3 school or somewhere with a club team, then you’d have a higher chance of being able to row. They’re still competitive but are typically much less strict with the height-weight stereotypes than the top schools are.

College Q&A Recruiting Rowing

Question of the Day

Hey I’m currently a sophomore & I’m interested in rowing in college. An older teammate suggested I make a beRecruited account. What are your thoughts on the website? Is it helpful? If so, what are your suggestions about keeping it updated? I feel weird writing about myself! Should I list any regatta my boat has placed in or just major races?

I do think it’s a great tool to help you get noticed by collegiate coaches but keep in mind that it’s just a tool – you’ve still gotta do the majority of the legwork. Most of the guys I’ve coached so far used it in some capacity while they were going through the recruiting process. I think if you put the time and effort into maintaining it, it can be pretty helpful. Once you get it set up I’d check it maybe once or twice a week and follow up with anyone that contacts you immediately. After each race, I’d also update it with your results. If you can get some video of your rowing, either individual video or video of your boat from a regatta, post that, because it’ll give coaches the opportunity to see you in action. (If you post video of your whole crew, make sure you specify what seat you’re in.)

Don’t feel weird either – this is your opportunity to brag about yourself, your team, your boat, etc. If your crew was the first to go to Nationals or you’ve won Head of the Charles twice in a row, that’s stuff you should be writing about. As far as what regattas to list, I would post any major regattas you’ve attended and where you placed overall. I’d also write down if your club won any overall team trophies or if they’ve won something BIG, like USRowing’s Club of the Year. That really makes an impression on coaches. The only races I wouldn’t put down are small/local races or ones that include just you and one or two other schools.

If I were a rower and was making one for myself, here’s what I’d include.

2k, 5k/6k PRs (overall time and splits)

If you’ve done watt tests, your watts PR is good to put down. (Not everyone does them so don’t worry if you haven’t done one.)

What side(s) you row and if you have sculling experience

Any notable personal accomplishments (dropped your 2k by 50 seconds since you started rowing, made the varsity 8+ as a freshman, etc.)

Who your coaches are (and their contact info)

Any camps/clinics you’ve attended

I don’t know if there’s an option to put all this down (I haven’t looked into the site that closely) but it’ll give you an idea of what might stand out to coaches.

College Coxing Q&A Recruiting

Question of the Day

Hi, I was wondering what GPA and SAT scores Ivy league colleges and D1 schools look for when recruiting coxswains and if they give scholarships to coxswains. Thanks!

The majority of the time, coxswains don’t receive scholarships as freshman, if at all. Sometimes they can be given one after their freshman year (an example being someone I coxed with at Syracuse who got one our sophomore year), but the coaches tend to save their scholarships for the rowers. If you’re looking at Ivy League universities be aware that they do not give athletic scholarships AT ALL, to anyone. It’s a conference rule.

As far as GPA and SAT scores go, it varies between universities, so it’s hard to say specifically. You can do your own research to figure that out. Obviously though, Ivy League schools are going to have much higher standards than non-Ivy schools. Several things I’ve read have said that 1800-2000 on the SAT will get you solid looks pretty much anywhere, but it REALLY depends on the school since each one has different requirements and expectations of their applicants. The people that I personally know that rowed or currently row in college (both at Ivy League and non-Ivy D1 programs) all had GPAs at or above a 3.5 (unweighted) and SAT scores of 1700+. Rowing is traditionally a “smart person” sport, so the grades, GPAs, and standardized testing scores are usually indicative of that.

Your academics matter the most and that is what is going to get you admitted but your recordings, rowing resume, etc. that you give to the coach will also be of benefit to you. Coaches go into meetings with the admissions offices and basically say “this is what this person can bring to my team, this is why I think they’re a good fit, this is what I think they can offer the university.” They then weigh that against your academics, extracurricular activities, etc. Your coxing skills won’t get you in but they can help. Make your interest well known to the universities you apply to. Sit down with the coaches and go over your academic resume. If you can explain why you have a poor grade on your report card or why you consistently perform poorly in one class compared to all your others, that will help them a lot when they talk to the admissions counselors. (This was something I had to do because I’m awful at math and the C’s/D’s I’d get in my math classes contrasted pretty sharply with the A’s I got in all my other ones.) Do your research on each school though and see what their requirements are regarding SATs and GPAs. Give yourself maybe 100 points of wiggle room on the SAT and 0.2ish points on your GPA.

College Ergs Q&A Recruiting Rowing

Question of the Day

What is a good collegiate lightweight women’s 2k if you want to get recruited?

I don’t know much about women’s times outside of the generally advertised times coaches look for. If you’re trying to get recruited the top programs tend to look for times that are sub-7:40, otherwise sub-7:50 will probably get you some looks. Outside of that, if you’re just looking at general times it’d probably be best to ask your coach since they’d probably have a better idea of what a good goal would be to shoot for.

College Q&A Recruiting Rowing

Question of the Day

Is it easier for women to be recruited as a lightweight or heavyweight?

My initial thought would be that it’s easier to be recruited as a heayweight simply because there are more programs available. Nearly every single school that has a women’s rowing program is openweight. There are maybe only a handful of schools that have lightweight programs though. If you’re borderline lightweight though and pull sub-par heavyweight times but decent lightweight times, the coaches may suggest transitioning to lightweight to better increase your chances.

College Coxing Q&A Recruiting

Question of the Day

Hey, I’m a senior in high school. I’m a coxswain and my coach said that I should email coaches to let them know that I’m interested in joining the team, do you have any advice as to what I should do/say in the emails?

You should email as many coaches as you can (aka “cast a wide net”) but make sure when you do you at least have a legitimate interest in the school. Don’t go somewhere that has a great rowing team but is subpar in the major you’re interested in. When you email the coach, include a “rowing resume” indicating your year in school, where you go, who you cox for, the major races you’ve been to/won, notable accomplishments in rowing (coxed the 2nd varsity 8+ as a freshman, had an undefeated season leading into state championships, etc.), and your height and weight. It’s also good to include any Honors/AP courses you’re taking, GPA, and SAT/Subject tests/ACT scores so that the coach can get an idea of the kind of student you are.

Other tips…

Go to the athletic sites of the schools you’re interested in and see if they have recruiting forms on there. If they do, which 99% of them will, fill them out  so you can be added to their database. This is likely going to be the first thing coaches ask or tell you to do so just pre-empt that step by doing it before you reach out to them.

Have recordings of yourself readily available to include in your email. Have practice recordings of you coxing all kinds of drills, steady state, as well as a few different recordings of your races. Make sure they’re trimmed down too – no recording should be more than 7-10 minutes in length (and even that is pushing it).

Just like you’ll ask your teachers at school to write you letters of recommendation, ask your coaches to do the same. Inform them of your intentions to cox in college and ask them if they would be willing to write you a letter of recommendation and/or be a reference for you. If you have a good relationship with your coach, this shouldn’t be a problem. The college coaches will likely ask for your coach’s contact info anyways (as will the recruiting questionnaires) so at the very least you should give them a heads up and let them know that X coach from Y school might get in touch with them.

Explore the university. Start thinking about majors, start looking into the different programs the university offers, etc., that way when the coach asks you what attracted you to the school (besides the rowing program) you can say “Oh, well I’m really interested in pursuing _____ as a major and I know that _____ has one of the top programs in the country. I saw that they recently ____…” and then elaborate on what you’ve found out through your research. Indicating an interest not just in the program, but the university as well will go a long ways towards helping you get a foot in the door. Do your research.

Ask about practice schedules, race schedules, etc. and how they are work around classes. If you go on an official/unofficial visit (also discussed here), talk to the rowers and ask them how practice fits into their class schedule. Get as much information about this as you can.

Be aware that the likelihood you’ll get a scholarship as a coxswain is slim, especially the first year. Although it is possible in the future, the coaches try to save all their initial slots for getting rowers. Don’t be discouraged by this. If you’re looking at any Ivy League schools, they don’t give out any athletic scholarships to anyone. It’s a conference rule, so just be aware of that. There are only a handful of men’s programs that have scholarships to offer thanks to alumni endowments so as a coxswain, if you’re hoping to get some sort of financial assistance, women’s rowing is the way to go. That’s not to say that it’s a definite thing because like I said, the available money tends to get prioritized towards rowers first, but just that there are more opportunities available to earn one compared to if you were coxing men.

Another thing to remember is that women’s rowing is an NCAA sport while men’s rowing is not. Because of Title IX universities are required to have an equal number of men’s and women’s sports (men’s basketball, women’s basketball, etc.) Women’s rowing is the “equivalent” of men’s football according to the NCAA in order to balance out the numbers (since they both tend to be large teams) which means as a girl, you can cox for men OR women, but men can only cox for men.

Last thing – keep your parents involved in the recruiting process. Even if they don’t know anything about crew, keep them updated, ask for their advice, etc. My dad helped me a lot when I was going through the process and was an invaluable asset to me because he thought of questions that I never would have thought of. Good luck!