Question of the Day

How does getting weighed in work during the spring season? I’m a coxswain for a collegiate men’s team where the weight minimum is 125. I’m naturally under 110, so what’s going to happen? Sand bags? Will it be a problem?

Nope, it’s not a problem at all. The weigh-in procedure may vary amongst regattas so you’ll have to ask your coach to find out the specifics for the ones you’ll be attending. Some require weigh-ins the day before (IRAs and Sprints, for example), some require it no less than two hours before your event, some don’t weigh in coxswains at all, and some have you weigh in each day of competition. It just depends on the regatta. If you’re under the weight minimum, you’ll be required to carry either sandbags, weight plates, or whatever you come up with to make up the weight into the boat with you. They must be placed in the coxswain’s seat with you, NOT distributed throughout the boat (that will get you DQ’ed). At the end of the race the officials will ask that you hold up your weight so they can see that you brought it with you and that it’s in the coxswain’s seat, not somewhere else in the boat.

If you know ahead of time that you’ll be under the weight minimum, you’re almost always allowed to provide your own external weight. It has to be in the form of sandbags or plates though, not extra layers of really heavy clothing. This is highly suggested by most regattas if you require more than 10lbs of extra weight, that way they don’t have to give you all of their sand to carry in the boat. Most regattas also require that you label the weights you use with your name and/or team, regardless of whether they are yours or belong to the regatta.

Here’s a PDF from the IRA that details their weigh-in procedures for coxswains and lightweights if you race there. If you scroll down to page 6 you’ll find the information about coxswain weigh-ins. That should give you a decent idea of how the process goes.

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Question of the Day

As a coxswain are you treated differently as a recruit to a D1 college as opposed to a varsity cox who walks on the team? Or is it rare to have someone walk on a crew team who coxed through high school?

I don’t think it’s rare to have a 3 or 4-year coxswain walk on to the team. If they’re not 100% positive that they want to cox in college, they might forgo the recruiting process and go to walk-on tryouts to get a sense of what the team is like, what the commitment is like, and whether or not it’s something they really want to pursue. I think as a recruit you might be given slightly more “responsibility”, for lack of a better word, because the coach already has a sense of your abilities whereas with walk-ons, depending on where the need for coxswains is, you might be lumped in with the rest of the recruits or you might start off with the walk-on rowers as they learn how to row. Every team approaches it a little differently.

This is also why I always recommend that coxswains email the coaches if they’re thinking of walking on, that way they can at least introduce themselves and give them an idea of their background, skill level, etc.

How to Survive Winter Training: Solidarity

Previously: Rowers || Coxswains || Music + TV || The light at the end of the tunnel

Winter training undeniably has its downsides, especially for those of us in the Northeast or Midwest where the cold, snow, ice, etc. can keep us inside for 4-5 months but it’s … comforting, I guess? … to know that we’re not the only ones.

Some of us might experience better weather or milder winters than others but regardless, something to keep in mind is that no one is doing anything different than you are right now. We’re all doing the same erg workouts, we’re all spending time in in the weight room, we’re all biding our time until we can escape to warm weather for a week … bottom line is we’re all putting in the work. The only difference is the quality of that work.

Below are some winter training videos from various crews that show how they spend the winter months. If you’re starting to feel burned out, watch these for some motivation and remember that we’re all in the same boat (…pun maybe intended?).