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Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  What if I have no rowing experience?

This is not a problem since most students that join Spartan Crew have no rowing experience.  Our coaches will provide you with the instruction and training to help prepare you for the spring rowing season.  We encourage all new and returning rowers to participate in Spartan Crew winter workouts.  Although not a mandatory training session, winter work outs provide an exceptional opportunity to get ready for the upcoming rowing season.


Q:  Is there a body height or size required for rowing?

No.  Rowing can be done by anyone; however it takes a lot of dedication.  You need strength, endurance, and technique.  All of these traits will be developed through the crew program.  A racing boat (or shell) consists of four or eight rowers and a coxswain (pronounced cox'n).  The rowers row the boat. The coxswain steers the boat, gives instruction, and is a motivator. The Spartan Crew program provides opportunities for everyone and can help a non-athlete become highly trained and competitive as a result of participation in crew.


Q:  Are there tryouts for the WS Crew Team?

No.  You can join as long as you come with the attitude that you want to actively participate and support the Team. There are no individual stars; this is truly a team sport.  This means not missing practices (without the coach's approval), training hard, following the coach's instructions, supporting Team fundraising events, and complying with all the registration requirements.


Q:  As a club sport, can I still earn a varsity letter?

Yes.  Varsity letters are awarded for efforts during the competitive regatta season.  These are presented at our end of year award ceremony.  The coaches have developed lettering criteria and those requirements are listed in the West Springfield Crew Handbook.


Q:  How big is the team?

Our most recent year had more than 70 rowers on the roster.


Q:  How do I join the WS Crew Team?

Everything you need to register is available online at this website on the registration tab. Please submit your contact information on our potential rower interest page, or email info@spartancrew.org to get on our potential rower interest list.


Q:  Who are the Novice Liaisons and what do they do?

Our Novice Liaisons are listed under the "Contact Info" link on our main page and can be contacted at novicereps@spartancrew.org.  They are parents of experienced rowers.  The job of the Novice Liaison is to answer questions and provide information for parents of new rowers.  Rowing is a brand new world to novice parents with new terminology, practice times, forms, etc.  If you have any questions or can't find the information that you need, our Novice Liaisons should be your first contact.


Q:  When does the rowing season begin and where does the team practice?

In past years, rowing teams may start practicing on the water toward the end of February. The specific date varies each year and is provided from the coaches.  Crew is a spring sport at West Springfield High School. We practice on the Occoquan River at the Sandy Run Rowing Facility. This Facility is run by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority and is approximately ten miles from the high school and about a 15 to 20 minute drive.  The Team meets after school five days a week for about two and one-half hours.  In addition, there are usually Saturday morning practices until the competition part of the season begins.  The final schedule depends on the coach's requirements and availability.


Q:  How can I get my homework completed between school and practices?

You must learn how to budget and manage your time.  Crew is a demanding sport, but if you plan ahead, manage you time, and devote the necessary time and energy in the right places; you will cope with the obligations of your school and sport.  In the process you will become a better student and athlete.


Q:  Is there bus service available to go to and from practice?

No; however, the Team provides assistance in setting up carpools to get the rowers to and from the Sandy Run Rowing Facility during spring practices.  Carpools are formed in late January once the roster has stabilized.


Q:  When and where are the competitions held?

The racing competitions are called regattas and are organized and governed by the Virginia Scholastic Rowing Association (VASRA).  In past years, the local competitive season begins at the end of March with the "Polar Bear Regatta" and ends in mid-May with the "Virginia Scholastic Rowing Championship Regatta".  The regattas are held on Saturdays.  The majority of regattas occur at the Sandy Run Rowing Facility on the Occoquan River.  After the Virginia Scholastic Rowing Championship Regatta, which ends the local competitive season, there are two away regattas to cap off the year.  First, the Team takes a three-day trip to Philadelphia, PA for the Stotesbury Cup Regatta on the Schuylkill River.  Second, qualifying boats (based on final standings from the Virginia Championships) have the opportunity to compete on a national level at the Scholastic Rowing Association of America Championships.


Q:  How much does it cost to join crew?

Membership is comprised of three elements: Booster Fee, Spring Dues, and Fundraising Support.  It is necessary for each crew member and family to vigorously participate in all three areas in order for our sport to run smoothly, efficiently, and ensure growth.  Fees are established by the Board each fall. The fundraising support figure can be raised entirely by the rower (and family members) taking an active part in the many fundraisers held by the team throughout the school calendar year; not just during the spring competitive season.  If you plan to join the Spartan Crew Team, then start participating in our fundraising activities.  The additional help is always welcome.


Q:  Why does crew cost so much?

The West Springfield Spartan Crew Team does not receive funds from either the Fairfax County School System or our own West Springfield High School Booster Club like other sports.  It is actually listed as a "club" sport; however, we follow all rules and regulations of the Virginia High School League (VHSL) and West Springfield High School.  All of the expenses involved for the Team as a whole and for each individual rower must be paid for by the crew members.  Due to the nature of the sport, the majority of the funds collected are used to provide the team with a competent coaching staff and safe, effective equipment.  A smaller portion of operating costs consists of insurance, regatta entry fees, boat storage, administrative expenses, etc.

The commitment of time and energy that is required by our coaching staff is tremendous.  They conduct winter workouts and spring season practices Monday through Friday and attend the regattas which usually take up most of their Saturdays.  Spartan Crew recognizes that coaches are key in providing an atmosphere that is safe and conducive to the development of a competitive team.

Equipment, including boats, oars, launches (plus motors and gasoline), cox boxes, the boat trailer, etc., must be kept in good working order to ensure integrity of performance and safety for the rowers.  While rowing is not considered a dangerous sport, rowers do compete in many conditions that could be hazardous if equipment were not in good working order.  Also, purchase of equipment is quite expensive. See The Equipment tab for some examples.


 Q:  What is VASRA?

VASRA stands for Virginia Scholastic Rowing Association.  This is an organization comprised of public and private schools from Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, and Prince William counties in Virginia. VASRA sponsors the spring regattas as well as sets forth the governing rules of the member schools.