Women's Rowing


  Information Session

August 29 or September 4 @ 4:30-6:30 p.m., Pool Demos - Perkins Natatorium

These will outline what try-outs entail, when, and where they will be. It will also give you an opportunity to try some balance drills in the water in the pool.

Try-outs will last approximately two weeks. During that time we will teach you how to row and handle equipment. Try-outs are open to anyone interested in joining the crew team with varsity athletic experience, regardless of prior rowing experience. It is a way for you to try rowing without committing to the team.

What's Next?
To streamline the Tryout process we would like you to start some of the necessary steps this summer. There will be less meetings and more rowing this way. All division I athletes have to go through this process.

    1) Contact Coach Hooper at jkhooper@smu.edu. Let her know you are interested.
    2) Register with the NCAA Clearing House. www.ncaaclearinghouse.net
    3) Fill out the paperwork I email to you, and bring it to the training room located in Ford Stadium or email it to our trainer Recia Schuil at rschuil@smu.edu.
    4) When you get on campus make an appointment at the Health Center and get your free physical. Use the form I send you.
    5) Take a sickle cell test either at the Health Center or with your home doctor and have them email or fax the results to our training room 214-768-1225 care of Recia Schuil.
    6) Fill out the online compliance information/forms, to make sure you understand the NCAA rules that our Sr. Associate Compliance Director will send you.
  How To Prepare For Rowing

Suggested Workouts

Being a part of the SMU Rowing team requires its members to be at peak physical condition in order to maximize their success in competition. While we are more than happy to help a prospective athlete learn how to train, if a rower already works out five times per week, they will be more than ready for practice.
  • Lots of abs. Don't forget the back, as power is generated from the back to help row. Crunches, bicycle crunches, toe touches, hip bridges, superwomen and oblique crunches are also great ways to prepare the body.
  • Run! Rowing is an endurance sport. Running is higher impact than rowing, but it takes the same kind of lungs.
  • Bike! Biking takes more effort getting out the door than running, but it mimics the leg strength of rowing better than running.
  • Swim! A great way to get a full body workout and prepare the lungs at the same time.

  Contact Information

Jessi Hooper, Recruiting Coordinator
Phone: 214-768-4489
Cell: 214-923-1097
E-mail: jkhooper@smu.edu

Lloyd All Sports Center 206F
PO Box 750315
Dallas, TX 75275

  Frequently Asked Questions

How often do we practice?
Novice practices five times per week in the fall. There are eight sessions to choose from. Practice at the lake will be Monday through Friday 4-6 p.m. and Saturday 7-9 a.m. at White Rock Lake, and on campus Tuesday and Thursday for weights and conditioning 6:30-7:30 a.m.

Where is practice, and how do we get there?
White Rock Lake is five miles from campus. We will carpool and sometimes have access to a university van. On campus, we will practice at Ford Stadium, and when our new erg room is completed in Moody Coliseum, we will be able to utilize that as well.

How often will we travel?
In the fall, novices who are race ready will travel to Austin, Texas, for Head of the Colorado and Tennessee for the Head of the Hooch. These are 5k races. In the spring the novice will race five-six times. The spring is our Championship season with the race distance being a 2k. You will probably miss two Friday's of class in the fall, and three in the spring.

What are we looking for in our athletes?



Student-Athlete Questionnaire

SMU Student-Athlete Policies and Procedures

SMU Sports Medicine Policies and Procedures

Insurance Form

Notice of Privacy Practices

Female Health History Form

Internal Physical Form

Release for Tryouts

AG Claim Form

  Glossary of Rowing Terms

Types of Rowing
SWEEP: Rowing with one oar on one side of the boat. The length of the oar is about 12 feet long.

SCULLING: Opposite of sweep. Sculling is rowing with two oars (an oar on each side of the boat). The length of each oar is about 9 feet long.

Sweep Boat or Shell
There are four different SHELL SIZES, distinguished by the number of rowers in the shell (8, 4, 2, or 1). The symbol following the shell size indicates whether with a coxswain (+) or without a coxswain (-), or whether it is a sculling boat (x). The image above is of stern coxswained eight-oared shell (8+).

SHELL: Another term for a boat, specifically, a boat used in racing.

BOW: End of the boat closest to the direction of travel. See diagram. Also can be used to refer to one-seat, or in conjunction with either four or pair. Bow-four refers to seats four through one. Bow-pair refer to seats two and one.

STERN: End of the boat farthest from the direction of travel. See diagram. Also can be used in conjunction with either four or pair. Stern-four refers to seats eight through five. Stern-pair refer to seats eight and seven.

PORT: Side of the boat to the coxswain's left and to the rower's right. See diagram. The oar sticks out to a port-rower's right.

STARBOARD: Side of the boat to the coxswain's right and to the rower's left. See diagram.

BLADE (HATCHET OR SPOON): The face of the oar that pushes against the water.

OARLOCK: Square latch to hold the oar and provide a fulcrum for the stroke against the rigger.

RIGGER: An apparatus on the side of the boat to provide a fulcrum for the lever (oar).

FOOT STRETCHER: Part of the boat where the shoes are attached and where the rower pushes his legs on the drive.

SKEG: Fixed plastic piece beneath boat for stabilization (keel). The rudder is mounted on it. It is also called a fin. The skeg (incl. rudder) can break off in shallow water. It can also break off by hitting the dock when putting the boat in the water or taking it out. Please be careful!

SLIDE: The tracks in which the seat rolls.

BACK STOP: A small block on the bow end of the slide, which holds the seat on track.

FRONT STOP: A small block on the stern end of the slide, which holds the seat in place.

RUDDER: A little fin on the bottom of the boat that the coxswain can control to steer the boat.

COXSWAIN: A very important member of the crew. Their primary job is steering but they also provide feedback during races about location on the course, relative position to other crews , and stroke rate per minute. They serve as an in-the-boat coach during races. They call power 10s and encourage the crew. However, they do not say, "Stroke, stroke, stroke."

COX BOX: A small electronic device which aids the coxswain by amplifying his voice and giving him a readout of various information, such as stroke ratings.

The Stroke

STROKE: One full motion to move a boat. Consists of the catch, drive, finish, and recovery. The stroke can also be used to refer to the person who sets the pace in the stern most seat of the boat.

CATCH: The part of the stroke where the oar enters the water.

DRIVE: Part of the stroke where the rower pulls the blade through the water using legs, back and arms to propel the boat.

LEG DRIVE: Term used for driving the legs against the foot stretchers on the drive.

LAYBACK: Term for how much you lean back at the finish. Too much is bad, too little is, well, bad also.

FINISH: Part of the stroke after the drive where the blades come out of the water. The rower removes the oar from the water, by first pushing downward then away with the hands.

RELEASE: Another term for finish.

FEATHERING: Rotating the oar in the oarlock so that the blade is parallel to the surface of the water. Roll the blade with your inside hand (hand closest to the blade) so the blade is parallel to the water, concave upwards. This is done at the start of the recovery, and the blade is squared again before the end of the recovery

RECOVERY: Part of the stroke where the rowers comes back up the slide slowly towards the catch. The oar is pushed away from the body by extending the arms, reaching the body forward and compressing the legs so the shin is vertical, preparing for the next Catch. The oar should not drag on the water.

STROKE RATE: How many strokes per minute are being taken.

Rowing Commands or Terms

READY ALL, ROW: Coxswain call to begin rowing.

WAY ENOUGH: Command for rowers to stop, while letting the boat run. Usually given a 2-stroke warning, as in, "In two, way enough." Rowers know that in one (said at the catch), rowers complete one full stroke; and in two (said at the second catch), rowers complete this second full stroke and end at arms away, blades squared, boat balanced. Note: In an emergency, the command is "Way enough, hold water!" Stop whatever you are doing and hold water.

CHECK IT DOWN: Coxswain call that makes all the rowers drag their oar blades through the water perpendicularly. Blades are squared and partly buried, effectively stopping the boat. Used in landings, turns, before race starts, etc.

HOLD WATER: Coxswain call similar to "Check it down."' Akin to braking hard. Blades must be square and buried, oars held tightly to break the boat's momentum. Very important in emergency situations, also used before race starts, turns, etc.

LET IT RUN: Coxswain call for all rowers to stop rowing and pause at the finish, letting the boat glide through the water and coast to a stop. Used as a drill to build balance.

ONE FOOT UP, AND OUT: Command for exiting a sweep boat. Procedure is as follows: The outside hand holds the oar away from the body. The inside hand holds the gunwale to the dock. The inside foot is removed from the foot stretchers and placed on the step-in board, the body weight is shifted forward as the rower stands supporting himself on their inside leg. The outside is placed on the dock, as the rower gets out of the shell.

POWER 10 (or 20 or 30, etc.): Coxswain call to take a certain number of power strokes. A power stroke is a stroke that musters all the strength the rower can give.

RUN: The distance the boat moves between strokes. Long run is very good. Run can be visually measured by the distance between the last puddle made by two-seat and where eight-seat's blade enters the water.

SET (the boat): command to Balance the boat. Generally used when rowers are not rowing but sit relaxed with both hands on the oar as it floats feathered on the water. Each rower setting the boat is actively maintaining a constant oar handle height, thereby keeping the set/balance of the boat steady and centered. Rowers' body leans (or lack thereof) also affect the side-to-side balance.

SQUARE: The blade is perpendicular to the water. Rowing square blades is rowing without feathering during the recovery.

Miscellaneous Rowing-Related Terms

ERG (ERGO/ERGOMETER/ERG MACHINE) - A rowing machine designed to simulate the actual rowing motion; used for training and testing.

REGATTA - An organized rowing race.

HEAD STYLE RACING is done in the fall and can be done on river, where there are twists and turns. The shells do not line-up, but race against the clock, after starting one behind the other, like the time trials in cycling. You need not pass another crew to beat it, but if you pass someone that started in front of you, you have surely beat their time. The race distance is usually 3 miles long.

SPRINT RACING is done with the crews starting with the bow of their shells even a racing parallel to each other. They start together, and the first crew to cross the finish line wins. We do this racing in the spring.

NOVICE - a rower in their first 12 months of rowing. Since it takes most people a while to refine the basics of rowing and racing, they can row against others of similar experience level.

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