Below are answers to frequently asked questions for potential OU rowing student-athletes. View more information about the sport here and more about tryouts and the OU rowing team here.
Do I need experience to try out for the team?
No. We have a novice team designed for first-year rowers, including many with no prior experience. You will spend a year with this team learning the sport with many others who are also new to rowing. We also have a varsity team for those who have rowed in high school or who have finished their novice year. Rowers across the country have gone from being walk-ons with no rowing experience to Big 12 champions, NCAA champions and even Olympic champions. Ten of the twenty members of the 2012 United States Olympic team were walk-ons in college with no rowing experience.
What do I need to do to try-out?
There will be an informational meeting the first week of school in the fall. This year’s meeting will be held on Sunday, Aug. 25 at 6 p.m. at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. At the meeting, we will hand out some paperwork, talk about the team, introduce the coaching staff and some current rowers and further explain the tryout process. If you cannot attend the meeting, please email Coach Gresson.
If I don't know how to row, how will you decide who makes the team at tryouts?
Tryouts will last six days, beginning Wednesday, Sept. 4, and running through Tuesday, Sept. 10. You will spend time learning how to row in a boat as well as on rowing machines (ergometers). We will also do different activities to determine your athleticism. We are looking for overall athletic ability and a positive attitude. Most of all, we are looking for individuals who show the most potential as a rower and team player.
Are there different positions on the team?
Yes. There are port and starboard positions for the rowers. Port side rowers use an oar that is attached to the left side of the boat and starboards use one attached to the right side. There is also the position of "coxswain". The coxswain usually sits in the stern of the boat and is responsible for steering, calling commands, assisting with technique and providing motivation for the rowers during races and practices. If you are less than 120 lbs., you may want to consider becoming a coxswain.
How big is the team?
There will be approximately 50 rowers on the novice roster.
What are practices like and how often are they?
After the initial try-out period, practices will start out 5 days a week, about 1½ to 2 hours a day. Once we get closer to our first fall race, we will begin practices 6 days a week and continue with that schedule for the rest of the year. Practices vary slightly depending on the time of year, but they usually entail rowing on the water, rowing on the rowing machines (ergometers), running, lifting, and flexibility/body core exercises. During the fall semester, we will come up with a practice schedule that will accommodate your class schedule.
Where does the team practice?
Water practices take place at the Exchange Boathouse along the Oklahoma River until the new OU Boathouse is constructed. OU shares its home course on the scenic Oklahoma River with the United States training center. Located in Oklahoma City’s Boathouse District, it is one of the world’s premier sites for rowing.
Land practices take place on campus in the team's training facility at Memorial Stadium. In the spring, the team will move into the OU Rowing Training Center. The Sooners' new home will be one of just several on-campus rowing training facilities in the country and feature a state-of-the-art, 16-seat "moving water" rowing tank, used to simulate on-the-water training indoors. The building will also feature a 2,740-square foot workout area, sports medicine and hydrotherapy room, team room and locker room in addition to office and meeting spaces and storage and laundry areas. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the 24,000 square foot, $6.5 million venue were held in April.
How long is the rowing season?
There are actually two seasons. We begin training for the fall season in September and race in October and November. The fall races are longer, usually about 3 miles in length. When we return from the winter break in January, we begin training for our championship season, which runs from March through May. The majority of racing is 2000 meters, or about 1 ¼ miles.
Does the novice team get to travel too?
Yes. The novice and varsity squads travel together to most competitions around the country. We typically travel with 4 to 5 boats of athletes, as there are different events and boat classifications. The 2013-14 season includes trips to California, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
How much will it cost?
As an intercollegiate student-athlete at OU, almost all of your costs associated with rowing will be covered. You will only be required to pay for a nominal fees associated with registration with the NCAA. We will cover the costs of uniforms, travel, and other expenses related to being a Division I student-athlete.