Hi!! I’m a high school junior, and recently I’ve been looking at colleges. At my high school, I’m a mid-pack rower, but the colleges I’m applying to are for academic reasons, and most of them are D1 and way too competitive for me as a rower. I’m 5 foot 8 and 123 lbs, and I’m considering becoming a men’s cox. Do you think that it’s a good idea? I’m already familiar with rowing, but due to my size and lack of experience, would it be a better idea to try as a rower? I really love the sport and want to participate during college, so whatever you think is best!
Hi! I’m assuming by too competitive you mean that your times wouldn’t stand up against the other rowers, not that the sport itself is too competitive in terms of the commitments, etc? If it’s the former then I’d say look for local clubs around the university and see if you can start training there. If you want to keep racing you could pick up sculling and go to regattas like Club Nationals, Canadian Henley, Independence Day Regatta, etc. over the summer. That way there’s no conflicts with school and you would set your own training schedule. I personally don’t know that much about sculling but from everything that I’ve heard from friends and other coaches, it helps your sweep rowing a ton.
As far as becoming a coxswain for a men’s team, it’s worth looking into if you’re really interested in it. You’re a little taller than most coxswains but in the grand scheme of things it’s weight that matters, not height. Plus, the men’s minimum is 120lbs so you’re good with that given your current weight. You can walk on to the team with no coxing experience – plenty of people do it – so it’s really your choice, just don’t expect to get recruited as a coxswain since you don’t have any experience with it.
I think based on what you said about looking at colleges for academic reasons (priorities, man – good for you!) finding a local club that you can row out of on your own schedule would be your best bet. I think most clubs have lower fees for college students, although I’m not sure if that applies year round or just in the summer. Another thing worth looking into though!