Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need prior experience in rowing?

No! One of the best things about crew is “no experience necessary.” All that is needed is a positive attitude, the ability to follow instructions and a willingness to put forth your best effort. You will receive training and conditioning on land, as well as on the water. Experienced rowing coaches will instruct you on the skills needed to be a rower.

How do I join the HHI Crew Team?

Crew is open to all High School age students, at the discretion of the coaches and based upon stature and physical ability. To become a member, you must attend the registration meeting, pass a swim test, pay the team dues and complete the necessary paperwork

 The rowing year includes two seasons, fall and spring.

Do I need to take a swim test?

All new athletes must take a swim test at the Island Recreation Center before going on the water for the first time.  If you have proof of previous experience on a swim team, you do no need to take the test.


The test consists of:

Swimming 1 lap (2 lengths of the pool) fully dressed

Treading water for 5 minutes, immediately following the swim

What is a Coxswain?

The coxswain is usually the smallest in stature member of the team, but is as essential as the rowers themselves. A coxswain steers the shell, motivates the crew and serves as the on board coach both during practice and races. The rowers depend on the coxswain for safety, leadership, managing practice, coordinating efforts, making tactical adjustments while racing and above all, keeping the shell on its proper course.

What should I bring to practice?

  • You will need good running running shoes for land workouts.  Crocs are great for on the dock.

  • a water bottle 

  • Spandex or tight fitting shorts so the material does not get caught in the sliding seat.

  • Fitted work out shirt or t-shirt


  • We recommend sunscreen and a hat or sunglasses to help with the glare from the water.

What else should I know before my first practice?

  • Some additional tips to get you started:

  • Eat a snack in the afternoon that will sustain the energy level needed during practice (e.g. fruit, bagels, whole grain bread, power bars, granola)

  • Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day - every day.

  • Medical tape can be used to protect your hands from getting blisters until calluses are built up.

  • If you are asthmatic, be sure to bring your inhaler.

  • If you wear glasses, bring something to hold them on your head.

  • Use sunscreen; the sun reflecting off the water can result in burns, even on a cloudy day.

  • Get enough sleep. Everyone gets tired at first; strength and endurance come with practice.

  • Do not bring car keys in the boat, cell phones are not allowed in the boat. Coaches are equipped with VHF radios for safety

What if I have more questions?

If you are looking for more information about HHI Crew, email or refer to the appendix at the end of the handbook for additional contact information


Do I need to worry about safety?

Safety is the primary concern of the organization. No one can join the crew team without passing a swim test and undergoing additional water training at the beginning of each season. No boat is permitted on the water without the supervision of a coach in a motorboat. The coaches’ motorboats are equipped with life jackets, whistles and cell phones and radios for emergency communications.


Each practice is attended by at least one adult who oversees the boathouse area while the athletes are practicing. That adult also has instructions on what actions to take in an emergency. This area is where we especially need parent volunteers. Safety is also the reason there is zero tolerance for horseplay during practice and regattas. Each athlete is expected to comply with team rules and to maintain proper behavior at all times.

Athletes who do not obey any coach’s orders will be subject to disqualification from the team. 


How will my athlete get to practice?

Parents of athletes are responsible for providing transportation to and from practices. Plan to arrange or provide your own child’s transportation

to practice during regular school days and during holidays.

How are practices organized?

Practices include both land training (running, stair climbing, erg work and strengthening exercises) and rowing on the water.

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