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Rowing Walk-On Frequently Asked Questions

Rowing Walk-On Frequently Asked Questions

What if I haven’t rowed before?No worries! NO EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY. We will start from scratch and teach you everything you need to know about rowing at a pace that won’t overwhelm you, but will get you up to speed quickly. Within your first year, you could be competing for ACC and NCAA Championships!

Who are you looking for?We’re looking for athletes who:• Are ideally 5’8″ or taller (rowers) OR 110 lbs or less (coxswains)…though anyone can tryout • Will work hard• Are team players• Have a positive attitude• Love to compete and win!

How much does it cost?NOTHING. Clemson Rowing is a fully funded, Division I varsity sport. If you make the team, all costs are covered (gear, travel, etc).

What’s the time commitment like? When is practice?To start, we will practice 1.5-2 hours a day, Monday-Friday. Practice time for the year is 4:45-6:45pm, but early on you’ll come to one of multiple sessions from 3:30-7:00pm to give you more individual attention. We add Saturday practices in October, and there are additional weight training sessions with our strength coach starting in November.  

What about balancing rowing with school?As a student-athlete, you will have access to Vickery Hall academic support services which include priority scheduling, private tutoring, additional advisors, enrichment programs, career services, etc. We have rowers in a huge spectrum of majors, from engineering to architecture to education to French, and our team GPA is 3.24.    

Will I have time for other things (e.g. sororities)?  During the tryout period, we will accommodate the rush schedule as best we can. Then if you make the team, you will want to devote a lot of time to rowing! But our athletes still have some time for intramural sports, part-time jobs, sororities, and other interests.

What if I’m out of shape?It definitely helps to be in shape because you’ll learn faster. That said, we are willing to train and develop anyone who has a great attitude, works hard, and shows athletic potential.

When are tryouts?Tryouts will start the first week of classes, but we’ll do pre-tryout physicals earlier. Physicals will happen the Sunday before classes start, just after move-in.

What are tryouts like?We start with a week of introductory meetings, followed by a week of indoor rowing. At the end of the second week you’ll do a number of baseline fitness tests, and then we’ll select the team. During those tests we’ll be looking not just for scores, but for effort, attitude/tenacity, and potential.

Who do we compete against? Where are races?Teams we’ll compete against for ACC Championships are Boston College, Duke, Miami, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Syracuse, and Virginia. While most of our races are at home on Lake Hartwell, we take a trip or two each spring to race against other national powers. We’ve traveled in recent years to race Boston University, Yale, Cal, Stanford, Ohio State, and Michigan.

What is the difference between novice and varsity?You’ll be in the novice group, which is comprised of athletes in their first year of college rowing. You will compete against other schools’ novices. The varsity group is predominantly upperclass rowers, and they form the boats that compete for NCAA Championships. (Many of them are former novices!)In the spring, top-performing novices can be given the opportunity to earn seats in the varsity NCAA boats.

Other questions?Contact novice coach Mandy Merritt at