First Time Rower? No Problem!

  • You are considered a “novice” your first year (this is not a slight, but the technical term).
  • First year rowers compete in the “novice” category against others in their first year. This levels the playing field with those less experienced. When you place in a race, you get a medal. Novice medals look exactly the same as all the other medals!
  • There is a lot of technique in this sport, and your first season may feel slow or frustrating as we bring you up to speed. But ask any varisty (experienced) rower…it’s worth the time put into learning the proper technique!

Rower v Coxswain

Each boat has 4 or 8 rowers, and one coxswain. You will be welcome to try either position (rowing or coxing).

  • Rowers will row; they learn the stroke,
  • Coxswains do not row. They are the “captains” of the boat. They control where the boat goes and what the rowers do. They keep everything in the boat coordinated and organized. Their commands are heard and must be obeyed throughout the boat. During races, they can help keep the boat motivated and enthused. Coxswains tend to be lightweight and small in stature (like jockeys in horse racing)
    • NOTE: There is also a “lightweight” category for rowers who weigh less than 160 lbs (men) or 135 lbs (women), in case you’re smaller, and would prefer to row.
  • In races, rowers and coxswains are recognized and awarded equally in victory.

What is a 'Regatta'

  • These are rowing competitions that typically last a full day with a spaced out schedule, and there’s food and merchandise booths.
  • We typically have four to five regattas each season; three to four are out-of-town. Sometimes we leave on a Friday night, sleep somewhere (AirBnB), and race Saturday. Typical competition includes all colleges throughout the Midwest. We occasionally compete at the national level as well. We try to keep the calendar at csurowing.com up to date.
  • Fall races are 5Ks (15-20 minutes) and fall season is the first ~8 weeks of semester
  • Spring races are 2Ks/Sprint Season (6-8 minutes), ergattas (sprints on rowing machines) are in the beginning of Spring and the regatta season is at the end of spring semester.
    • Over spring training, we usually go out of state during spring break. This is optional, but a very good time if you’re able to make it.


  • Dues are usually close to $200 per season. You will have two weeks to decide if you like rowing before you will be required to pay.
  • Additional costs include gas/food money for traveling, and any team gear you may want to purchase (uniform, shirt, jacket, etc)

About the Team

The team has been around since 2000. We’re a student-run club sport, and operate the team like a varsity sport. We have some great people in the club, and will be very welcoming and available to help as you get started. Most people on the team learn the sport while on the team. Most rowers learn the sport in college.

We’re looking forward to seeing you at the boathouse! Feel free to reach us if you have any more thoughts or questions.

Email csurowing@gmail.com or Sign up Online if you are interested in joining.