I’m a junior in high school and I’m 5’11”. What kind of erg times should I strive for to be recruited by colleges? I’ve heard mix things like sub 8 and sub 7:30 – is there a lot of variation among schools and divisions? I’m one of the better rowers on my team but I don’t know what kinds of times other kids have from around the country. I just started rowing a little less than a year ago and my last 2k was an 8:10. Would I realistically be able to get my time down before college?
I think generally coaches from the top openweight programs are looking for times that are sub-7:30ish. Lightweight women should shoot for times that are sub-7:40 to 7:50ish.
It’s definitely possible to get your time down before college but you’ll have to work for it. It’s not all about erging harder either. In order to go harder, you’ve got to be stronger, which means lifting, doing cardio, core, etc. The seconds aren’t going to come off as quickly as they did when you first started rowing. It’s like trying to lose weight … at first it comes off fast, but the longer you workout, the amount of weight you lose decreases as your body becomes more fit. Ideally if you are looking to be recruited, you would have already started the process of researching programs and contacting coaches in the fall. When you do talk with them, keep open lines of communication throughout the year and update them on any PRs you may achieve between now and this time next year.
There is some variation between divisions due mostly to the differing levels of competitiveness. D1 schools are going to be a lot more strict about erg times whereas D3 schools might be more lenient. Most D3 programs are clubs, not varsity (and the ones that are varsity can’t offer athletes scholarships anyways), so the majority of people on the team don’t start rowing until they join. I think on the club team I coach now there is only one rower (of 35-40ish) who rowed in high school. There are most likely some subtle differences between what individual universities are looking for as far as erg times though but to find out what they are, you’d have to reach out to the coaches and ask. The Ivies, Washington, Cal, Stanford, etc. are all very strong programs that tend to attract rowers with exceptional times.
In terms of finding out times of other people in the country, there are a few ways to find out, all involving a decent amount of research on your end. The first is to ask. Talk with your current coach or any alumni rowers from your program who row(ed) in college. Your coach should have a general idea of what previous rowers in your program had if you can’t actually talk with any of them. Second, ask people on Reddit. The rowing community is pretty vast on there and most people are willing to share their times if/when asked (although this question gets asked a lot so search the sub before starting a new thread).
Related: Hey I’m currently a sophomore & I’m interested in rowing in college. An older teammate suggested I make a beRecruited account. What are your thoughts on the website? Is it helpful? If so, what are your suggestions about keeping it updated? I feel weird writing about myself! Should I list any regatta my boat has placed in or just major races?
Third, go through sites like CollegeConfidential and beRecruited.com. CollegeConfidential isn’t limited to rowing, so you’ll have to search “rowing”, “erg times”, etc. in the forum to bring up specific results, but there are a lot of great questions and even more great answers on there. The vast amount of information can be overwhelming though. beRecruited.com is something you should consider looking into if you’re serious about being recruited.