Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do before joining Men’s Crew at UC Davis?

The first step is to fill out our interest form and to attend an informational meeting (click HERE for more details). You are not at all required to do special training or try to row before joining your Novice Year. Read through this website regarding eligibility and expected commitment level and then show up ready to learn once Novice practices begin. If you have any questions, be sure to reach out to our recruiters at

Am I eligible to row competitively?

Club rowing teams often compete against sponsored (athletics department) teams from other schools. So club programs follow NCAA-like eligibility requirements. These primarily include: 1) minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA at UC Davis, 2) Full-time student status (12 units or more each quarter), and 3) Five year window / 4 years competition. This means you are eligible for five years after you first start full-time classes at ANY college/university, and you can compete for four years within that five year window. If you’re unsure of your specific eligibility, please talk to the coaches. There are some exceptions to those basic rules, so don’t assume that you are ineligible without asking.

What kinds of recruits is Men’s Crew looking for?

Our club seeks athletic, tall, and willing students who are capable not just of working hard in practices but also staying on top of coursework as well. Time commitment for novices is moderate at first, while you adapt to collegiate life and academics. That commitment grows gradually through your first year, culminating in spring racing season. Rowing is a challenging sport and good time management is important. Our rowers major in aerospace engineering, computer science, economics, material science engineering, and more. Additionally, it is a team-driven sport. We row 4s and 8s primarily, meaning one man alone cannot take the boat across the finish line. Teamwork is not an empty term for us. 

What is a coxswain?

Coxswains are a crucial part of rowing. They not only steer the boat, but also guide and lead the rowers through races and practices, and act as a constant source of encouragement and drive. Being a coxswain is a great leadership experience for any student. Coxing is a gender neutral position, and one must be motivated and ready to learn. They need to have the confidence to lead their boat and boost dedication and focus. For more information, check out the following:

What is a Novice Rower?

A Novice Rower is an athlete with little to no experience rowing. There is a substantial learning curve involved when picking up the technique and feel of rowing and the culture/mindset of the sport. Therefore, first-year rowers compete in their own level while experienced rowers compete in the Varsity level. 

What if I rowed in high school?

If you have previous rowing experience and want to row for UC Davis, please get in touch with our recruiters, Andy and Justine, and fill out the interest form. Depending upon your experience, we will find the right place for you on our club. 

Are there size requirements for rowing?

There is no minimum height for rowing, but we do look for taller athletes or those who can make up the difference. The technique of rowing and the emphasis on leg drive favors taller athletes who can typically put down more power over a longer stroke. There is also a lightweight racing category for rowers weighing in under 160 pounds. With enough rowers in this classification, we can put out a lightweight boat for racing. Coxswains are usually smaller (like jockeys in horse racing), typically under 130 pounds.

When are practices held?

For Novices, most initial practices are flexibly scheduled, on campus, and in the afternoons. There you will learn basic technique on an ergometer (or “erg”), and begin building strength and fitness. You also get the opportunity in fall to go out to our boathouse and learn how to row on the water. There you will familiarize yourself with boats and oars, learn boathouse etiquette, and learn basic on-water rowing technique. The schedule will evolve over Winter and Spring quarters, incorporating more regular water practices, with the ultimate goal of reaching peak form for Spring racing.

When is the racing season?

Racing season is primarily in the Springtime, building up through the latter end of Winter Quarter and then kicking off after our Spring Break training camp with San Diego Crew Classic in the beginning of April. Fall Quarter is spent primarily with training and adjusting incoming Novices to the sport and level of commitment. Winter Quarter turns up the dial with our January Mini-Camp and more frequent, more focused on-water practices. 

Do I have to be able to swim in order to row?

It is expected that team members can swim and/or tread water competently. If you’re not confident in your abilities in the water, let us know, and we can help you learn how to tread water during fall quarter. We don’t wear life jackets in the boats, but with the nature of rowing 4s and 8s, there is little likelihood of athletes ending up in the water. If rowers practice on singles on the side, there is a mandatory flip test for handling a boat while in the water and to learn what to do if the unfortunate happens.

If you have any questions or concerns about recruiting, please feel free to contact our recruiters at