UW Health Sports Medicine 

Frequently Asked Questions about Wisconsin Rowing

Don't you guys practice at 5:00 in the morning?

NO! Freshman practice at 4:00 in the afternoon; there is no need to worry about early morning practices.

Do I need experience to try-out for the team?

No, 70% of our athletes are walk-ons, and 6 of the 9 athletes in our 2008 National Champion Varsity Boat were walk-ons. In your first year of rowing, you will compete on the Freshman team learning the sport with many others who are also new to rowing. In your second year of rowing at Wisconsin you will join the Varsity team.

What do I need to do to try-out?

There will be three open houses before the start of classes in the fall. The open house will give you an opportunity to learn a little more about the sport, tour the boathouse, meet the coaching staff and some current rowers and fill out some paperwork. If you cannot attend the meeting, please email Coach Carcagno: SGC@athletics.wisc.edu

If I don't know how to row, how will you decide who makes the team at tryouts?

We are looking for good athletes who are interested in competing in a D1 sport. We don't have try-outs, instead we try to keep as many athletes as possible involved in the sport.

Are there different positions on the team?

Yes. There are port and starboard positions for the rowers. Port side rowers use an oar that is attached to the left side of the boat and starboards use one attached to the right side. There is also the position of "coxswain". The coxswain sits in the stern of the boat, and is responsible for steering, calling commands, assisting with technique, and providing motivation for the rowers during racing and practices. If you are less than 130 lbs., you may want to consider becoming a coxswain.

How big is the team?

About 32 Freshmen will make the team each year.

What are practices like and how often are they?

Practices will start out 5 days a week, about 1 to 1.5 hours a day. Once we get closer to our first fall race, we will begin practices 6 days a week and continue with that schedule for the rest of the year. Practices vary slightly depending on the time of year, but they usually entail rowing on the water, rowing on the rowing machines (ergometers), running, and lifting. During the fall semester, we will come up with a practice schedule that will accommodate your class schedule.

Where does the team practice?

The team practices on Campus at the Porter Boathouse, located right at 680 Babcock Dr. next to the lake shore dorms.

How long is the rowing season?

There are actually two seasons. We begin training for the fall season in September and race in October and November. The fall races are longer, usually about 3 miles in length. When we return from the winter break in January, we begin training for our championship season, which runs March through May. The majority of racing is 2000 meters or about 1.25 miles.

Does the freshman team get to travel too?

Yes. The freshman and varsity squads travel together to most competitions around the country, including races on the East Coast and in California. There is a Freshman race at our conference championship in Massachusetts and at the IRA National Championship regatta.

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