What should I know about crew?

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Rowing uses almost every muscle in your body and is a very physically demanding sport — and you'll be making lifelong friends and having a lot of fun while getting in the best shape of your life.  Crew requires a commitment to teamwork and cooperation with a group, as the Oakton team primarily focuses on boats of 4 and 8 rowers under the guidance of one coxswain.

Crew competes in the spring.  We train in the fall and winter on land, then hit the water in spring (as soon as the ice melts).  Novice rowers have a distinct advantage over other high school sports because Crew does not require previous experience, and many rowers begin in their freshman year of high school.

More great facts about the sheer awesomeness of rowing at USRowing.

Where can I learn to row or Be a coxswain?

You don't need to have rowed or coxed before joining Oakton.  The team is happy to teach anyone to row or cox, but if you want to get a head start, there are some great rowing opportunities for learning to row before you arrive at OHS.  See our Summer Rowing page, or contact a coach or team captain for details.

There are few better ways to learn the value of teamwork than being on a crew team. Every oar-stroke from every rower affects the boat’s success. So if a boat does well in a race, everyone shares in the glory.
— Mary Rowen, So Your Kid Wants to Join a Crew Team

I heard you row at 5 o'clock in the morning.

Nope — college crews row that early, and some summer programs.  High school crew teams practice after school and on weekends.  

How does Oakton Crew work?



In the fall, we have a Crew interest meeting with interested students and parents to provide details about the sport and the club.  We also hold an Open Boathouse Tour, and a fall Learn-to-Row program at Sandy Run, to give newbies a chance to try out the sport and get on the water before committing to winter conditioning.

Starting in mid-November, we have winter conditioning at OHS for those who aren't participating in another sport.  Winter conditioning combines erg training (i.e. rowing machines), running, calisthenics, and weightlifting, and is held after school during the week with some Saturday practices. 

Registration for Crew is ongoing during winter conditioning, and teammates can join up until January.  However, if team size is too large, cuts may be implemented, so full participation in winter conditioning can be very helpful in getting you ready for try-out week in February.

Water practice starts at the end of February, weather permitting.  Water practices are also after school, and on Saturdays in February & March until regatta season starts in late March. 

How do I stay informed OF UPCOMING DATES & when registration will open in the fall?

We use email and Twitter as general communications platforms; make sure you're signed up for the Monday Catch to receive our weekly newsletter in the fall & spring, and follow us on Twitter - @oaktoncrew - for news and updates.  Upcoming dates are usually posted on our CALENDAR as well.

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Yes!  Even though high school crew teams are not supported financially by FCPS, crew is considered a varsity club sport, and athletes are eligible for both varsity letters and academic pins when earned.

I hear names like 'Sandy Run' AND 'VASRA' — What are they?

Sandy Run is the name of our water practice facility, and is also the location of many regattas.  It's a beautiful site on the Occoquan River about 15 miles south of Oakton.  For information on the park, see our WHERE WE ROW page.

VASRA is the Virginia Scholastic Rowing Association.  This organization runs all the high school regattas at Sandy Run and provides a community forum for scholastic rowing programs in our state.  See our VASRA page for more details.  

Crew families are expected to assist during the season by performing volunteer shifts for VASRA and for Oakton Crew.  VASRA shifts are generally at Sandy Run.  Our Support menu details options for VASRA and Oakton duties. 


Yes, the team practices over Spring Break and attendance is required.  Rowers who opt to travel rather than attend practice face the real possibility of losing their seat in a boat.

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crew sounds like a whoooooooooole lot of work.  It is worth it?

Absolutely.  It's the best sport in the world, just ask anyone on Oakton Crew.  And we have eagles. 


In the fall after Learn-to-Row, we'll open registration for the new season of winter conditioning and Crew.  Sign up for the Catch for news updates, or keep an eye on this website for notices of the new season opening.

My family is under financial constraints.  Can I still row?

Oakton Crew seeks committed, motivated athletes regardless of your family's financial resources.  We recognize that Crew is expensive, and if you would like to row but your family cannot meet the costs please contact the Men's or Women's coaches to discuss options.  Additionally, each fall Northern Virginia high school students on free/reduced lunch may apply for funds from the Julia Shew Memorial Rowing Scholarship fund, described here, and if additional funds are needed Oakton Crew may be able to help balance the expense through scholarships.  Please don't hesitate to ask about options.