The Spackenkill Rowing (or Crew) Team is a fall sport offered by the school Athletic department. The Spackenkill Rowing Club (SRC) is a parent run organization that supports the team (see About page). The teams are organized with a Varsity Men's Coach, Varsity Women's Coach, and Novice Coach. Athletes (students) must sign-up with the Athletic department (participation form, medical clearance, and academic eligibility). Rowing is a club sport and is not fully funded by the Athletic department, so the athletes must also register with the SRC and pay dues. Athletes are required to pass a swim test prior to going on the water. No experience is required and walk on athletes are encouraged to join. First year athletes who demonstrate the endurance, strength and technique will be moved from Novice to Varsity.
The Sport of Rowing
Rowing is a team sport that requires dedication and intense training, exercising all the major muscle groups. The sport will improve cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength. Although rowing tends to look like an upper body sport, the strength of the rowing stroke comes from the legs. The rowers face the stern (back) of the boat with their feet secured sit on a sliding seat. The oars are approximately 12 feet long and outriggers hold the oarlocks away from the boat allowing the rower to transfer power moving the boat forward. Blisters on the hands are a common problem until calluses are formed.
The Spackenkill Rowing Club practices and competes in coxed sweep boats (single oar per rower). A coxed four (4+) boat is about 40 feet long with 4 rowers with a coxswain in the bow (front) or stern (rear). A coxed eight (8+) boat is about 55 feet long with a coxswain in the stern. Teamwork is paramount as the rowers match their desire, talent and technique.
Winter conditioning for the varsity men and women's team will start in the beginning of January. Details will be determined by the coach but generally practices will be after school at the high school Monday to Friday. Athletes participating on other sports teams during the winter are not required to attend.
The spring season starts in the beginning of March. Until the river is free from ice and the docks are put in, practice will be held at the high school.
Once the docks are in, all practices will be held at the boat house. A bus will transport athletes to the Boathouse, leaving the High School around 3:00PM, leaving Todd Middle School around 3:10PM and arriving at the boathouse around 3:30PM. All athletes must be picked up after practice at the boathouse; please follow the boathouse traffic and parking rules.
All practices are scheduled by the coaches and communicated directly to the athletes (typically cell phone). Changes in the practice schedule should be expected (coach availability, school events, etc). Typically the novice practice will start at 3:30PM with the arrival of the bus and end around 5:30PM. With practice on the water, the teams may start/end at different times because they may need to share equipment (boats/ergs). The coaches may also schedule time in the boat house tanks - this may be an evening or weekend. As the season progresses and there is more daylight, practices will be extended.
In preparation for NY State Championships, the first varsity boats may have additional morning practices. Morning practices are only scheduled with agreement from coaches and participating athletes.
Conditioning on the land will include running, indoor rowers (or erg), weight lifting, and cross training. On water training will be in coxed 4 or 8 boats with the coach in a launch. Getting out on the water depends on the number of seats in boats and weather, so athletes must be prepared each day for both land and water workouts. Safety is the top priority so adverse weather conditions such as lightning, wind, and fog may limit on water training. .
Spackenkill competes in the Hudson Valley Rowing League. Typically the varsity team will compete in the Hudson River Indoor Sprints, an erg competition at Marist College, prior to the on water competitions. Local regattas are held at the Hudson River Rowing Association Community Boathouse are typically (WARS, Dutchess Cup, Triangulars, League Championship, & Row for the Cure). The varsity team will travel to Saratoga (Saratoga Invite and NY State Championships) and West Point (O'Neill). Varsity boats that qualify may also travel to the Stotebury Cup and/or Nationals.
The Novice team will compete locally (WARS, Triangulars, Novice Championship & Row for the Cure) and will also travel to West Point (O'Neill).
The school will provide transportation to and from all away meets for the athletes. Any athlete not traveling to or from an away meet must give the coach a completed transportation form.
The regattas are competitive sporting events and coaches determine the lineups for the boats entries, it is possible that not all athletes will compete. Coaches will communicate the lineups with the athletes.
The club supports the team at regattas by providing meals for the athletes and Spackenkill spectators (family & friends welcome). While at the regattas (home and away) - the boathouse or boat trailer is the "locker room" for only athletes and coaches. Parents, friends, and family can visit with their athlete by the food tent.
Boats Racing shells, or Olympic class boats, are either Sweep boats where each rower has one oar (approximately 12 feet, 4 inches long) or Sculling boats where each rower has two oars. The rowers feet are secured and there is a sliding seat. Outriggers hold the oarlocks away from the boat.
Sweep boats - each rower uses one oar.
Pair: 2- Straight Four: 4- Coxed Four (Four): 4+ (~41 feet long & 115 lbs) Eight: 8+ (~65 feel long and 200 lbs)
Sculling boats - each rower uses two oars.
Single: 1x Double: 2x Quad: 4x
The “x” indicates a sculled boat, the “-” indicates there is no coxswain in a sweep boat, and the “+” indicates there is a coxswain in the sweep boat. The cox in an eight boat is always in the stern; four boats can have cox in stern or bow (less common).
Coxswain or Cox - an important member of the crew who sits stationary facing the bow, the "in boat coach" responsible for race strategy, stroke rate per minute, feedback, steering, motivation....
Cox Box - electronic device which gives a readout of various information, such as stroke rate and is connected to a headset and loudspeakers to amplify the coxswains voice. 'Cox-Box' is a registered trademark of Nielsen Kellerman.
Foot Stretcher - where the shoes are attached and where the rower pushes his legs on the drive.
Slide - the tracks in which the seat rolls.
Bow - front of the boat. Also a term for the rower in the number 1 seat in the bow of the boat.
Stern - back of the boat.
Port - coxswain's left and the rower's right. A port-rower's oar sticks out to their right.
Starboard - coxswain's right and the rower's left. A starboard-rower's oar sticks out to their left.
Stroke - one full motion of the oar to move a boat. Consists of the catch, drive, finish, and recovery. Also a term for the rower in the stern of the boat responsible for establishing the crew's rate and rhythm.
Feathering - rotating the oar so the blade is parallel to the surface of the water.
Stroke Rate - number of strokes per minute.
Power 10 - coxswain call to take 10 strokes that musters all the strength the rower can give.
Set (the boat) - keeping the balance of the boat steady, centered, and level so it doesn't rock side-to-side.
Catch a crab - when the blade gets caught in the water making the oar handle fly up or towards you, crabs are more easily caught in choppy water.