Middle school students have recently had an increased presence in the sport of rowing. Four eighth graders have joined CYC, the California Yacht Club, and are beginning the sport at an earlier age than in the past.
Eighth graders Sophia, Genevieve, and Daphne and Marielle are all active members of CYC’s novice rowing team, and joined the sport for a variety of different reasons.
Crew club advisor Tom Millar said that this large group of middle school students joining crew is unusual, and credits the increase to word of mouth. “Some eighth graders have rowed or coxed in past years, but no more than 12 per year,” he said. “It’s not a sport that has organized competitions for 8th graders.”
The strenuous nature of crew has made it a more ideal sport for older athletes, because it is so physically demanding. Younger, less mature, athletes are at a disadvantage due to their smaller
“When you’re rowing in smaller boats against older children, it pays to be bigger,” Millar said.
Although it doesn’t take much experience to join a club crew team, others say it’s better to start earlier.
“Novice rowers practice two to three times a week, with less of an emphasis on endurance and more on the techniques of crew. This gives the younger athletes an opportunity to decide if they wish later to pursue it more seriously,” said Marlborough parent and CYC coach Nick Harding.
Having played volleyball and soccer in the past, Daphne ‘14 joined crew because she was less likely to get injured in crew than in other contact sports. Sophia, on the other hand, was driven by her love of boats and
the feeling of being on the water.
Over the last couple of years, a growing number of upper school students have joined crew because of the equalizing qualities
of the sport. No one needs to join with much experience, and no one sits on the sidelines. The fun and camaraderie of crew as well as the prospect of scholarships has drawn many older girls to join.
Since there are no cuts for crew, many girls join with little or no experience and progress with other members of the team.
“Crew gives young women an edge on the college admissions process,” said Harding. “There are many scholarships available for rowers nationwide. It should be noted however, that only the most committed and physiologically gifted of those girls who try their hand at the sport are going to be actively recruited by college rowing programs.”
Fourth year rower Grace ‘10 said teamwork and camaraderie have prompted her active participation on the team.
“The team is really close and fun to be around,” Grace said. “It’s an honest sport, you get what you give. Because of crew I feel
that I am more hardworking and persistent.”