Directions to Regattas………………………………………………………………………………………22
Welcome to the Gloucester Rowing Association/Gloucester High School Crew
The Gloucester Crew coaches, team members and parents welcome you! Crew is more than a sport; it’s a lifelong experience. Whether you are a novice to the sport or an “old oar,” there is a place for you. Students will find a sport to challenge them, and parents will find a new world to share with their sons and daughters. Rowing offers many opportunities for making friends, getting into shape, learning new things, and even getting into college. We hope this booklet will be helpful as you delve into the new and sometimes mysterious culture of rowing. Don’t worry if your son or daughter comes home talking about quads, riggers, and high tens...you will have this booklet to help you communicate.
Please take some time to go through it carefully, it includes important information for both rowers and parents and will answer many of your questions. Good luck and see you on the water!
The Mission Statement
The goals of the GRA/GHS Crew are to provide young adults the opportunities to learn and practice the skills necessary to row well, and compete successfully at the youth/junior level. Through consistent, rigorous training, and guidance, members of the GRA/GRA Crew will learn discipline and leadership skills, as well as how to work well in a group setting towards a common goal. Members will also live and learn the sportsmanship ideals while participating in the life-sport of rowing.
Membership in Gloucester Rowing is currently permitted to only those students who are currently enrolled at Gloucester High School and 8th grade students at Page Middle School. It is often said that when a rower joins the program, the parents also join!
Competition among small ferry barges on the Thames River in England gave rise to the sport we know today as rowing. The first formal rowing event was in 1715 between apprentice English watermen in which an Irish comedian, Thomas Doggett, offered a silver badge and an orange coat as a prize. Since then, this race for the Doggett Coat and Badge has been run annually, except during the war years.
Amateur rowing began in 1815 at Oxford University. Cambridge University organized its first crew shortly thereafter. The two schools held the first intercollegiate race in 1829, using professional watermen to coxswain their boats. The professionals were barred after the first race, and a highly formal code of amateurism has characterized English rowing ever since. Rowing is a gentleman’s sport, with rules and behavior codes designed to encourage good sportsmanship. The Henley Royal Regatta, established in 1839, is a social as well as athletic event. The Princess Elizabeth Cup, Henley’s prize for the best schoolboy eight, was won by a local high school, Washington-Lee, in 1964 and 1969. J.E.B. Stuart High School, in Fairfax County, won in 1968.
19th Century United States.
The first rowing race in the United States was in 1811 between professional ferrymen using 4-oared barges. In the 1830’s, both Yale and Harvard formed crews. They competed against each other in the first U.S. intercollegiate regatta in 1852, seventeen years before the first intercollegiate football game. The Harvard-Yale regatta is held annually and restricted to those schools. Rowing was introduced in Virginia in 1867 when Washington & Lee University formed a crew. Today, crew racing is a well-established and growing sport at both the college and high school level in this country.
While particularly strong programs exist on both coasts, in recent years numerous programs have also been established by schools in the South and Mid-West. Rowing became an Olympic sport in 1922. In 1968, Washington-Lee graduate Tony Johnson and Larry Hough of Potomac Boat Club won a silver medal in the Mexico Olympic Games in pairs without coxswain, losing to East Germany by one-fourth of a second. Local rowers also raced in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics held in Barcelona and Atlanta. In the 2004 Olympics, a U.S. Men’s 8+ won a Gold Medal and a U.S. Women’s 8+ won a Silver Medal.
Introduction to Gloucester Rowing So what is crew? Crew is the ultimate team sport that is also one of the most physically challenging
Rowers must train to a high aerobic level and also weight train to build power and strength.
In the spring high school rowers compete over a 1,500 meter course. It takes between 4 minutes 30
seconds and 8 minutes to complete a race- depending on the class of boat. (College, club, and elite
rowers compete on 2,000 meter courses.) Rowers sit in boats called “shells” where they sweep (with
one oar) or scull (with two oars). The shells can hold as many as 8 sweep rowers and a coxswain -- or
as few as four sweep rowers and a coxswain. Both men and women compete in their own events that
are arranged so that each boat in the race is matched against rowers of comparable age, size, or skill
level. There are varsity, freshmen, novice, and lightweight events.
When Is Crew Season?
Serious rowers say, “It’s never not rowing season,” but Gloucester Crew training begins in late August in preparation for the fall season. Workouts will be scheduled by team coaches, and fall rowing opportunities are available for novices and experienced rowers. The official rowing regatta season begins in March when we begin rowing in regular weekly regattas. Some crews may participate in the Stotesbury Cup Regatta, which is held on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. Participation in SRAA Nationals is earned by crews during the Spring Regatta season. Some of the regattas are “by invitation of the coach” based on skill and qualification.
The Year in Crew Fall
Training takes place after school at Sinclair’s Landing, on the water. Buses may be provided.
Competitions are held in October and November and are all located at some location in
Virginia. The coaches target approximately two or three events for each of the rowers. Some of the
regattas are by coach invitation only.
Training from November to February is almost exclusively on land. Rowers will “erg,” lift
weights, run, and meet for other physical activities. Winter conditioning takes place Sinclair’s Landing. During Winter Break conditioning will continue and attendance is expected, not optional.
Competitions exist for indoor rowing. All rowers/coxswains are expected to compete in the Mid-Atlantic Erg Sprints (Alexandria, VA) in January/early February and possibly in the Hampton Roads Erg Pull (Norfolk, VA) in February.
Training on the water begins again in late-February with the goal of having the rowers on the
water five days per week. A bus will transport rowers from GHS Sinclairs Landing of Gloucester.
Competitions start again mid to late March and continue through the end of May. Most of the
regular season regattas are held in Virginia. Some rowers may be invited to compete in events
farther away such as the Stotesbury Cup Regatta in Philadelphia, PA or the SRAA.
Times and dates of the summer rowing program is determined on an annual basis.
….are scheduled days when students do not report to school. Rowers should expect to continue training on these days.
o Winter Break, there will be coach-supervised training opportunities and rowers participating in winter conditioning are expected to attend.
o Spring Break, the team goes to a training facility for the week and trains. This is a
mandatory event and will be more fully addressed later in this document.
o Other days when students are released from school (Veterans’ Day, Presidents’ Day,
etc.) rowers should expect training to continue as usual.
School Cancellations due to inclement weather or other times when Gloucester County Public
Schools decide to cancel ALL school or after school events are instances when Gloucester Crew will also cancel any formally scheduled training.
GRA/GHS Team Guidelines and Rules
Each rower and parent(s) must read and sign the Gloucester Rower and Parent Contracts confirming
their understanding and agreement to abide by rules/expectations. These are rules specific to the crew
and must be followed in addition to those rules contained in the GHS Student Handbook.
GRA/GHS Rowers Policies and Expectations:
The Gloucester Crew program is for student-athletes only. All rowers must maintain a minimum
2.0 GPA unless special permission/consideration is granted.
Rowers are expected to demonstrate the highest degree of respect towards themselves, their
teammates, coaches, and everyone else with whom they come in contact. A rower’s work ethic is also
an important factor in the individual’s and team’s success. The coaches expect the best of the rowers
to continue an enjoyable and meaningful experience for all members of the Gloucester Crew program.
One of the primary goals of this program is to compete. Rowers are expected to be 100% focused
on racing at 100% of the regattas. Rowers are expected and should remain with their team/boat.
oSignificant others- Boyfriends and girlfriends are not seen on the bench at any other sporting
event. Therefore, rowers are expected to conduct themselves similarly and not be hanging
around their significant others during a regatta.
oParents- Parents are discouraged from using regatta time as an opportunity to hang out with the
rowers. On the water or off, the rowers have constant responsibilities to attend to and they
should be focusing on their teammates & the work at hand. Use travel time to and from regattas
for bonding with your rower over the day’s racing.
Line-ups & Invitations to competition:
A rower’s position on the team is a result of his/her own efforts. Parental support is required by
the team to provide rowing opportunities for all the rowers. The degree of parent involvement has no
influence on line-up selection. The coaches will be making the best decisions they can with the
information they have at the time. Factors affecting a rower’s position include his/her academic
eligibility, attitude, attendance, work ethic, physical performance, rowing skill, time with the team, and
any other relevant information that applies to the situation. The intentions are to reward the best
rowers with the most opportunities and to be as fair and consistent as possible in the decision making
process. All rowers will have the same access to training and the feedback as to how best to improve
him/herself It remains in the hands of the rower to put all of this into action and produce results.
Line-ups are subject to change at any point up until the point of launch of a crew for their event.
While many line-ups will seem consistent for days, weeks, even months, they remain the result of the best information the coaches have at the time. Line-ups can change for injury, illness, availability, or in some instances, a rower/crews fails to meet the standards (performance or behavior) established by
While the individual rower likely knows why he/she is ranked where he/she is, if there is ever any
doubt, it is the responsibility of the rower to open dialogue with the coach(es) and ask, “What can I do
to improve my standing on the team?” The rowers must learn to be their own advocates. The
coaching staff welcomes and encourages rowers to initiate dialogue regarding improvements.
Coaches communicate to rowers in many different ways all the information they need to know.
It is important that the rowers pay attention to the following avenues of communication.
o Face-to-face: Coaches will constantly be providing rowers’ information regarding
training and other important events at practices, after regattas, and at school.
Rowers are expected to check the GRA website to get any pertinent information for the week ahead.
o Phone: When necessary the coaches will call or text rowers specific information.
o Team website: This is where the rowers can reference the team calendar to ensure they
schedule events at times other than during training or competitions.
Rowers can, and should, communicate directly to the coaches in much of the same way. It is
preferred that the rower opens dialogue with the specific coach that works directly with them.
The head coach will always be available to take questions.
Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drugs
The use of controlled substances (i.e. any tobacco product, alcohol) for rowers on the team is prohibited. The use of these products, especially by minors, is illegal and counterproductive to building elite athletes. Rowers found to be involved in such behaviors will be removed from the team. If any incidences occur on official “crew time,” the GHS administration will be notified immediately.
As a non-profit, non-school funded program GRA consistently asks the community for money to
support its activities. It is important that the membership gives back to the community through
volunteer events. Rowers also need to experience what it is to help those in need. Service hours can,
and should, be included when the rowers are applying to colleges and other post-graduation plans. GRA will be working on opportunities for rowers to give back to the community through community service hours.
Gloucester Crew Parents
Crew Parents are a vital support group for the Gloucester rowing program. All crew parents are
expected to become actively involved with the crew program and everyone is welcome and encouraged
to attend meetings. A non-profit organization, Gloucesters rowers and parents provides
the manpower and financial assistance necessary to keep our team on the water.
Crew is a wonderful sport for parents as well as for team members. Crew parents share in the
rower’s pride and sense of accomplishment, creating memories that last a lifetime. When a rower joins
the team, his or her parents should expect to participate fully in both the work required and the rewards
shared in supporting the team. For further information, please call any Crew Board Member.
Most crew parents are new to the sport when their sons or daughters join the team. As with any
sport, there is a crew vocabulary that helps you understand the language your sons and daughters will
learn to speak, and the organization of the regattas. Please refer to the Rowing Terms in the back of
this booklet for help in interpreting these expressions.
How Can You Help?
First and foremost, you can support the rowers with your presence at regattas. Family
support is extremely important to the rowers!
● Come cheer on all of our boats at the regattas - it really means a lot to the rowers to know that they
have strong support for their efforts.
● Check the Website frequently – it is updated on a regular basis and contains a wealth of important
Dues are established on an annual basis. There will be dues to row for the Spring season and additional costs for off season rowing and conditioning. Fees cover the cost of regatta fees, transportation to practices/regattas, some coaching costs, repairs, etc. Each rower will also be expected to purchase a uniform.
General meeting dates will be posted on the website and communicated via email. Parents are encouraged to attend.
High School regattas are productions largely supported by the parents of the participating schools.
Local spring regattas require crew programs to “donate” parents to serve in a variety of positions.
More detailed information will be provided through General Membership Meetings as the spring
season approaches. This is a great opportunity to get an up close look at the workings of a regatta and
to volunteer for the club.
Regattas are often day-long events for the rowers. As such, GRA provides nutritious food for the
athletes and coaches at the regatta food tent. Coordinating the purchase, transportation, and service of
the food is time consuming but an excellent way to get to know the whole team.
There are two primary lines of communication. First, the coaches communicate to the rowers, and
the rowers back to the coaches. Second, the Board communicates to the parents and the parents back
to the Board. The coaches will communicate to the parents, via email and General Meetings,
information specific to the parents and what they need to know to support the team’s activities.
The coaches use similar lines of communication to the parents as with the rowers. There will be
coach representation at the General Meetings. Parents may also get emails from the coach(es).
The Board uses email, the webpage and General Membership meetings as means of disseminating
information to the parents
Grievances/complaints do sometimes arise and, based on past experience, is usually based on
miscommunication and/or lack of understanding. It is the policy of the club to resolve a
grievance/complaint at the lowest level possible. It is also the policy of Gloucester Rowing to remove a child from the team should his/her parents behavior be deemed inappropriate towards any member of the coaching staff or Board at any time.
Sinclair’s Landing is our training site. It is in our best interest that we be mindful of our presence there.
o Rowers are never permitted onto the property at Sinclair’s Landing without coach direction/supervision. Rowers should not drive to Sinclair’s Landing unless approved by the coach.
o Parents are to avoid going onto Sinclair’s Landing property unless there is a specific
reason/event for being there (i.e. maintenance crew, trailer loading work).
and properly. The coaches and coxswain know how to control the boat and to keep practices as
safe as possible.
● You are responsible for your own equipment -- the boats, oars, and uniforms.
● Your racing uniform is for racing only! It is not to be used as workout clothes and it is not to be
● Bring nothing valuable to the erg house. There is no secure place for your things.
● We practice rain or shine. The only things that will keep us off the water are extreme cold,
flooding, lightning, or high winds. In these events, you will be given instructions as to what we
● Always bring extra dry, warm clothes.
● If you use an inhaler, bring it to practice.
Give Your Body What It Needs for a Strong Practice
● If you eat before practice make sure you eat food that will sustain the energy level needed
during practice (e.g. fruit, bagels, whole grain bread, granola bars, power bars).
● Always take a water bottle for yourself. Never drink from someone else’s bottle.
● The coaches will provide more specific nutritional information at practices
Other Tips for Practice
● If you wear glasses, bring something to hold them on your head.
● If you are asthmatic, be sure to bring your inhaler.
● Bring medical tape to protect blisters that will develop until your hands get used to the oars.
● If the weather is warm, bring sunscreen. The sun reflecting off the water can result in burns,
even when the temperature is not that warm.
● Good running shoes, no flip-flops and drinking water are needed for land training.
● Everyone gets tired at first; strength and endurance come with practice. Get enough sleep.
● Wear a hat.
● Bring chapstick or lip balm.
● Do not bring car keys or cell phones in the boat.
Remember that you are representing your school and Gloucester County. ● Take a backpack or Regatta gear bag (Sold through the club apparel person) ● Pack Competition Gear First. ● Know the weather forecast. ● Make sure you name is in all of your clothes/gear. ● Pack dry clothes for after the regatta/competition ● Trash bag to cover gear in the event it rains. ● Take sunscreen, and nutritious snack foods (e.g. fruit, dry cereal etc.)
● Bring only a modest amount of money for purchasing food
The Terminology of Crew
Single: This crew is composed of a single sculler who has mastered rowing skills and has the
athletic capability to train at a very high level. This shell may compete at Stotesbury and the Scholastic