I have decided not to go through the recruiting process but am going to a college that has a D1 team. What would they think of a walk on with rowing experience?
If you’re a good rower and have decent erg scores they’ll probably love you, to be honest. Experienced walk-ons are great. If you know you aren’t going to go through the recruiting process you can still email the coach(es) and say that you’re interested in rowing at the school and are planning on walking on in the fall. Most, if not all, places will invite you to start at the beginning of the year when all the other recruits start instead of waiting until walk-on tryouts to join the team.
There are a lot more experienced walk-ons than you think too so it’s possible you won’t be the only one on your team. Some people don’t want to go through the recruiting process because of the time/effort it takes (which is understandable), some don’t want to make the commitment just yet, and others get to college not planning on rowing and then realize they actually miss it so they start up again.
Nobody’s going to think you’re lame for not trying to get recruited. Being recruited is cool but it borders on being overrated. If you want to row, email the coaches and get some info from them on how being an experienced walk-on will work. Walking on actually gives you a bit more flexibility to decide in the first semester if this is something you really want to commit to for the next however many years so you might as well take advantage of that and just go for it.