THE SPORT

What is Crew?
Crew is a term used for the sport of competitive rowing. A Crew is the same thing as a Rowing Team (the term 'Crew Team' however is redundant).

I've seen Crew in the Olympics, where else is it done? Crew is one of the few sports that have been scheduled in every modern Olympics - it is also the oldest intercollegiate sport in the US, older than football and baseball. Hundreds of Colleges, adult and youth clubs and high schools in USA and Canada have rowing teams today, and the sport's popularity stretches from Europe to Australia.

Why isn't high school Crew in the local sports media like other sports?
Most high schools don't have Crew, so it does not carry as high a local media profile as other sports.

Who regulates high school Crew?
Operational rules for safety and fair competition are set by the United States Rowing Association which is the regulating authority on all amateur rowing in the USA. The Florida Scholastic Rowing Association manages the State Championship regatta which has about 40 school and multi-school club teams.

What kinds of boats do you race in?
Racing boats are called Shells, made of carbon fiber and come in sizes that hold 1, 2, 4, or 8 rowers. Sculling shells have the rowers hold an oar in each hand, Sweep shells have each rower hold one oar with both hands. An 8 man sweep shell is about 25 feet long and weighs about 200 lbs.

So it's about strong arms pulling on oars?
Arms are only a small part of the task. The fixed shoes and sliding seat enables nearly every muscle in your body to work in driving the oar through the water. The bulk of an oarsman's power comes from the legs and torso, not the arms.

Sounds strenuous, whats the injury risk?
Very low, since there are no collisions in crew. The medium of resistance is water, not the ground or pavement, so the muscles and joints get worked but don't get pounded. Injuries arising from rowing activity are quite rare.

If the rowers are facing backward, how do they know which direction to go?
4 and 8 man boats have a coxswain (pronounced cox-in) who faces forward and steers the boat while directing the rowers to row together.

How do Crews compete?
By entering regattas which feature many races, each with boats from participating teams. Rowers race for medals (or sometimes shirts) in each event, and championship regattas have team trophies to award.

When is Crew season?
There are two competitive seasons in Crew. The Fall Season is about training for long distance competitions called Head Races. Boats navigate a course up to 5000 meters in length and race for the best time against the clock. The Spring Season is about racing in sprints of 1500 or 2000 meters in length. Boats line up side by side and take off down straight lanes; the first to cross the finish line wins.

What makes a good crew athlete?
1. DEDICATION. Learning good rowing technique while building cardiovascular stamina takes a great deal of practice and full boats are needed to train on the water, so even one absence can adversely affect a number of athletes' ability to improve.
2. TEAMWORK - there are no 'stars' in Crew. A rower can be incredibly strong and athletic, but if he/she cannot synchronize their rowing with others in the boat, the shell won't move move with speed.


Do I have to be tall and muscular to do well?
Those qualities can be an advantage and are prevalent at high levels of collegiate and Olympic rowing, but in high school it is the 'fire in the belly' to train hard and succeed that makes a champion. Regattas also have Lightweight events to give rowers of a smaller size equal footing in races.

What about people who are pretty small and not into that level of physical training, does Crew have anything to offer them?
Yes! Coxswains typically weigh around 125 lbs or lighter; they also need to have a drill sergeant voice and mentality to keep their boat focused and implement strategy during the race that can make the winning difference.

What is practice like?
In the beginning you work on building your cardio, and learning the basic form of the stroke. Some days will be devoted entirely to land training with running, erging and weights, others will be completely on the water. First year rowers start by rowing 2 people at time on the 8 man shell, then 4, then 6 and finally all 8 which takes longer to achieve than you might think.

What is erging?
Rowers use a machine called an Ergometer (or Erg) in land training, which simulates and measures certain aspects of the rowing stroke and physical stamina. Rowers can chart their progress over the course of the season on the erg which can also play a part determining in which boats they race.

How do regattas work?
A regatta is like a track meet for rowing teams. Some only have 2 or 3 teams and are done in a couple hours, others are large all-day events with 20 teams or more. An individual rower may be in 2 or 3 races on a given day.

What is the skinny on rowing in college?
There are a few hundred college rowing teams in the US. Some operate as varsity programs, others as clubs with varying sponsorship from the school. Over the years we have had dozens of alumni go on to row in all levels of collegiate rowing.

How about athletic scholarships for rowing?
Most of the scholarship money for rowing is on the girls side of the house, which is a Title IX fact of life. There are some schools that offer scholarships for boys but they are fewer.

Do only 'olympic-class' athletes get scholarships?
No, Just as in other sports, there is a wide diversity of college programs in terms of size and prominence which in turn provides opportunities for a wide range of rowers.

THE TEAM

What is Edgewater Crew?
Edgewater Crew is a rowing team made up exclusively of Edgewater High School students, both boys and girls. It was started in the 1963-64 school year and has not missed a year since.

How many people are on the team?
Most years we have had 50-60 boys and girls at any one time, but there is no upper limit. The more people we get, the more boats we put on the water and enter races.

When does practice start and when are roster cuts?
Practice starts at the beginning of the school year and there are no roster cuts. When you come to practice and commit to join, you are on the team.

Can I join if I am not an Edgewater student?
We can only have current EHS students on the team, the only exception being home-schooled students who live in the EHS school zone. If the high school you attend doesn't have a rowing team, there are a number of multi-school club teams in this area that would love to have you.

Where does Edgewater Crew practice?
Our boathouse is less than 3 miles from campus at Lake Fairview Park at 2200 Lee Road - between Orange Blossom Trail and Edgewater Drive.

When are practices?
Weekdays starting 1 hour after school gets out, and on Saturday mornings when there isn't a regatta. Days off vary during the year; see the website Calendar for details.

What do I wear/bring to practice?
Wear non-baggy shorts (spandex is your friend) and a t-shirt you can tuck in. Have socks and shoes you can run in and a personal water bottle is a good thing to have. Hat/sunglasses are optional.

I don't drive, how do I get to the boathouse from school?
If your parents aren't available to transport you, we can put you in touch with other parents and older rowers who will be happy to give you a ride or develop carpools.

When and Where are regattas held?
Regattas are always on weekends, usually just on Saturdays. Locally, we race at home on Lake Fairview, and also race on Lake Maitland and Turkey Lake. We also will row at places around Florida like Jacksonville, Tampa and Sarasota.

Which rowers actually get to race?
Everybody races. We schedule races at regattas so everyone who has been training and is able to compete gets in at least one race. There are a few regattas which have scheduling rules which prevent us from getting everyone in a boat if we have an odd number of rowers, but we make every effort to minimize those occurrences.

How do you determine who races in which boat?
The coaches determine in practice which combinations of rowers make the fastest boats. The fastest combination races in the 1st Varsity category, the next fastest set of rowers race in the 2nd Varsity (or JV) category and so on. First year rowers race in their own category called Novice and Freshmen can race in Freshman-only events. Each category races against boats from other teams in the same category.

All of this sounds like a lot of time, how do I balance crew with school?
It is a challenge, but we ease you into it. 1st year rowers (novices) practice fewer days a week to start and gradually ramp up to more in the Spring. When you compare, this isn't much different from what other sports call for in time commitments.

Still, I've heard that when you join crew you won't have time for anything or anybody else, is that true?
No, that's false. While some rowers will choose to make this sport the center of their life outside of school, we have seen many rowers over the years who were active and in leading roles with the EHS band, yearbook, school newspaper and student government as well as have outside school activities such as Scouting and religious groups. The key to such multi-tasking is to develop good time management skills and communicate with coaches well in advance to find solutions to scheduling conflicts.

What if I am a serious student with a heavy academic workload, can I maintain that with Crew?
You can and you will have plenty of company on the team. More than 80% of our upperclassmen in the last 9 years have been National Honor Society members, and 3 of the last 6 EHS valedictorians rowed for Edgewater Crew. Academic achievement is the norm here, not the exception.

Does the team ever travel out of state?
We like to schedule an overnight trip in the Fall and another in the Spring, however this is subject to our roster size and expenses. While not on the schedule this year, we have attended the Head of the Hooch in Chattanooga in early November and the John Hunter Regatta at Lake Lanier GA in late March. These are major regattas at world class venues which make great opportunities for rowers to compete with high school teams from throughout the southeast. In both cases we travel by chartered bus and stay at hotels with parent-chaperones following OCPS regulations for overnight trips.

Do you ever travel farther?
If a boat does well enough at the State Championships, we can send it to a National-level championship regatta in the Northeastern US at the end of the Spring season.

How does Edgewater Crew help in getting kids rowing scholarships?
Athletes who row here get training, experience and exposure necessary for recruiting, and Edgewater's rowing reputation is well known in the collegiate rowing world. Our coaches are also well versed in the college search/recruiting process and can assist rowers in making preparations for pursuing collegiate rowing and scholarships.

How do I keep up with what is going on at Edgewater Crew?
This website is kept up to date on a daily basis with all public activities of the team and there is a Facebook page for users of that service. We also have a members-only network that provides necessary information to parents as the year proceeds. We have periodic informational meetings at the school during the course of the year and you can always email a Board member or speak with a coach after practice.

THE WORK

How does one join the team?
Come to practice. You are welcome to train with the team for 2 weeks at no charge or obligation. If after that time you decide to stay, we'll put the joining process in motion.

What are the requirements to join?
1. An OCPS physical exam form signed by a doctor stating that you are in proper health to train.
2. You must be an EHS student who is eligible to compete in athletics which includes maintaining a minimum 2.0 GPA with each semester report card.
3. A parent will need to fill out some forms and pay a registration fee to get everything set for the year.
4. You need to be able to swim.


What expectations come with joining?
We expect our athletes to adhere to the same code of conduct that athletes on other EHS teams must follow. While we are not directly supervised by OCPS or the EHS administration, we place the same rules and regulations on ourselves. These policies are listed in the Rowers Handbook which is accessible on the About Us page of this website.

I hear Crew is expensive, as in real expensive, how much does it really cost?
That depends. We have had some parents spend as little as $100 out of their pocket to put their student through 4 years of crew.

You're kidding, nothing costs that little!
Yes, most sports leagues, music lessons, camps and other youth activities cost a lot over the course of a year. The difference with Edgewater Crew is that we provide 'equity-account' opportunities that enable parents and rowers to apply credits to their monthly bill. Some do a little and some do a lot, depending on how much they want to end up paying out of pocket.

What kinds of activities? Selling stuff door-to-door that nobody wants to buy?
Our primary activity is working as volunteers in concessions stands at the Amway Center and Citrus Bowl events. We sell poinsettias during the holidays, something we have found that people and businesses do want to buy. We also have advertising sales in our Yearbook, ergathons for rowers to collect sponsors and we are always looking for other opportunities that will bring in revenue which can be credited to rower accounts. Some parents have paid their entire financial obligation (except for the first registration fee) for all 4 years of their rower's tenure.

Okay, but if I want to just pay by check, how much is it, and what about extras?
The annual cost is set each year based on the operating budget. This year a 1st year rower's total for the year is $1530. That includes a rowers uniform and tshirt - if you wanted to buy team merchandise that would be extra, but purely optional. Overnight regatta trips, such as the State Championship regatta at the end of the season, have extra charge to cover hotel rooms. On day trips to another city in the state you might be asked to contribute some gas expense to whoever is driving your rower, but everything else is covered in your dues.

Are these dues paid all at once?
No. The Registration Fee is due when a rower joins. That helps get us started for each season and shows that you are serious about being on the team. After that fee, payments are billed monthly in equal payments. If you are working equity account activities, the credits you earn can cover charges to your account, and you can carry a surplus over to the following year. Details and caveats are listed in the Rowers Handbook.

Does Edgewater Crew get any funding from the school or government?
Not a dime. The school is supportive in publicizing the team on campus, but it does not have funds to allocate to crew. OCPS only gives funding for sports that all schools can field. Financially we are on our own for every cent we spend.

How do you pay for big ticket items like boats?
We also engage in team-wide fund raising activities that go toward capital fund expenditures and seek donations and corporate sponsorships.

What is this 'Orlando Rowing Association' I see references to?
Orlando Rowing Association (ORA) is the non-profit corporation Edgewater Crew parents formed in 1967 to provide financial and logistical support to the team. ORA's 501 c 3 status allows it to hold fund raising events, get sales tax exemptions, and take donations that are often tax-deductable. Its bylaws are posted on the team website.

Who runs ORA?
ORA is run by a Board of Directors (usually numbering around 12) which is elected by the membership at ORA's corporate Annual Meeting in May. The Board elects officers and manages the corporation for the following school year.

Who is eligible to serve on the ORA Board?
Any ORA Member in good standing.

Who are ORA members?
All parents of current rowers on Edgewater Crew are ORA members with voting rights at the Annual Meeting. Edgewater Crew alumni may also purchase a membership.

Does the ORA Board run the team, as in deciding who rows on which boats?
No. The ORA Board hires coaches to run the team and make all athletic decisions. The ORA Board runs the business that supports the team and sets policies for the Coaches to follow.

What are ORA Committees?
ORA Committees do the actual work needed to support the team, such as having food for the rowers at regattas, equipment upkeep, recruiting efforts, etc. All Edgewater Crew parents are encouraged to participate on a Committee whose activities interest them and match their skills.

Is any one paid by ORA?
Only the hired coaches. All ORA members are volunteers when it comes to their time and talents.

Does ORA run any other rowing programs besides Edgewater Crew?
ORA also sponsors the Saturday morning Junior Eagles program for Middle School students and Edgewater Masters for adults.