About K-State Rowing: Questions & Answers
WHAT DOES “NOVICE” MEAN?
The Kansas State women’s rowing team is a varsity sport sponsored by the K-State Intercollegiate Athletic Department. Women’s rowing is a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sport. The team is comprised of two groups: Novice and Varsity. The novice squad is made up of all first-year collegiate rowers including freshmen and transfer students, while the Varsity squad encompasses all returning athletes. Both groups share equal status. The novice team is NOT the jayvee (JV) team! The novice travel and compete at the same regattas as the varsity, but the race classifications differ. Novice teams race other novice boats, so that all first-year rowers compete against each other.
WHEN DO YOU PRACTICE?
The rowing team trains year-round, beginning in August and concluding with the Central Region Championships and NCAA Championships at the end of May. We divide our year into three segments, each with a different objective and training routine. The objectives in the Fall (August-November) are to learn the fundamentals of rowing, develop and increase strength and fitness, establish friendships and get a firm hold on academics. Each fall there are two or three races. The months of December and January are winter-training months. We use the winter months to enhance muscular strength and endurance, and improve cardiovascular fitness. The rowing team utilizes 40 Concept II indoor rowing machines and the 13,000-square foot Newell Strength and Conditioning Complex. The third segment begins in February when the team resumes practices on Tuttle Creek Lake. We utilize our enhanced strength and fitness acquired in the winter months to fine-tune our rowing skills for the racing season which begins in March.
HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU SPEND PRACTICING EACH WEEK?
Women’s rowing abides by NCAA practice regulations, which limit a student-athlete to 20 hours of training per week. We train five days per week August through January. From February until the conclusion of the season we practice six days each week.
WHAT IS A TYPCIAL ROWING STUDENT-ATHLETE?
There are two positions in rowing: the coxswain (pronounced cox-sin) and the rower. Both positions require individuals who are competitive in nature and have the desire to challenge themselves and others both athletically and mentally. Rowers tend to be tall. The most successful rowers are generally over 5-foot-10. But, the key ingredient to a great rower is determination and competitiveness. No prior rowing experience is required to participate in rowing in fact, 95 percent of the current team did not row prior to college. Most of our team participated in basketball, volleyball, swimming, track and field or soccer as high school athletes. Typically the coxswain has a light, lean body, and is willing to learn a new and demanding sport. It is uncommon to have an experienced coxswain on the novice team. Coaches are aware of this and teach you everything you need to know. The height of coxswains vary, the weight range is between 100-120 pounds. In the boat, the coxswain steers the shell (boat), motivates the athletes, helps the rowers make technical changes and executes the race or practice plan.
WHEN DO YOU COMPETE?
The spring racing season runs mid-March through the end of May. Regattas are scheduled on weekend dates only. Some races are just one-day events, while others run on Saturday and Sundays. Class time missed by rowing athletes is rather minimal. The Athletic Department pays for all travel expenses.
WHERE DO YOU COMPETE?
Typical destinations for our away competitions are Oklahoma, Iowa, California, Texas, Tennessee as well as within the state of Kansas.
WHAT DISTANCE IS A RACE?
Rowing competitions are called regattas. The standard spring racing distance is 2,000 meters (approximately 1.3 miles). It takes a women’s eight oared shell about seven minutes (depending on wind and water conditions) to complete the distance. The start of the race is exciting and physically demanding. The team must pry the shell from a stopped position; as the hull begins to move, they increase the number of strokes taken each minute. The first two minutes of a race is a bit like a sprint. The team then shifts into a rhythmic, but demanding pace for the middle minutes, or "body" of the race. Approaching the last two minutes, the team again swings up the stroke rate and sprints for the finish line.
COMMON ROWING TERMINOLOGY:
TYPES OF RACES:
Head Races: Head races usually take place in the fall on rivers; hence, the Head of the Charles, the Head of the Iowa, etc. Crews start onto the course one after the other about 15 seconds apart and navigate three miles of river. Whoever completes the course in the shortest amount of time wins.
2,000-Meter Competition: National, World and Olympic competitions are 2,000 meters or approximately 1- 1/4 miles. Most courses are divided into six buoyed lanes, allowing six boats to participate at any one time. If more than six crews are entered in an event, heats and semifinals may be run to determine who races in the finals. Each race takes between six minutes, 30 seconds and eight minutes depending on boat class as well as wind and water conditions.