Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Fall and Spring Crew?

Spring crew is the varsity season for rowing. Fall crew is a club sport.
In the fall the races are called "Head Races" or "Regattas" and are generally about 3 miles in length. These races are done against the clock and the fastest time wins. There are large amounts of entries in each event - sometimes as many as 70 boats, as we experience at the Head of the Charles in Boston, MA. The fall is more like a long distance run. The fall season is a great time to improve our endurance and begin the training necessary to compete in the spring against the other CT public school rowing programs. The fall is also a great time for the new rower to start the sport. Because the fall is a club there are some fees involved. These fees cover race registrations and some of the transportation.
The spring season is the season where each athlete has a chance to earn a varsity letter - the sport is recognized as a varsity sport in the spring, thus there are no fees. The racing in the spring is a sprint race where the competitors are all lined up at the start and the first one across the line wins. The race course is 1500 meters. New rowers can also start in the spring. The spring season is the major focus of the program and all training and racing leads up to the CT Public School Championships and The New England Interscholastic Rowing Championships. The training is more intense and the commitment is at a higher level than in the fall. There are 13 public schools in CT that have rowing programs. We also race against some private schools, primarily at the New England's.

What other ways can I support the team?

Fundraising ideas are always needed. Supervising at a fundraising event. Communicating with other parents and sharing information. Check with the coaches if there are any supplies that are needed - and donate if you are able. Supporting and encouraging good study, eating and sleeping habits in your child. Try to support not "over-scheduling" your child. Read about rowing - there is a lot of information available on the internet. And lastly, speak positively and often about MHS Crew wherever you get an opportunity. Many are not familiar with what we do or that we even exist. Promotion helps to create opportunity!

Is this sport safe?

There is an inherent risk in many things we do in our lives. In light of this, all coaches are trained in safety and are CPR/FA certified. All coaches are recognized by the State Board of Education as certified coaches and have been thoroughly reviewed and trained. At MHS Crew we have an annual meeting with local police, fire, emergency management and parks and rec department to review and revise as necessary all safety protocol. There is a very well developed safety plan including parameters for practice and communication procedures. We have a direct line to Middletown dispatch in case of emergencies. Every rower must pass a swim test and are taught how to utilize safety equipment, i.e. life jackets. All rowers are also required to view a safety video specifically developed for crew. Any and all concerns should be immediately brought to the attention of your child's coach.

What should my child bring to practice each day?

The coaches have often said - be prepared for any season of weather on any day. It can be beautiful on land but by the time practice rolls around and your child is on the water rowing the temperature can drop 10 degrees, for example. Each rower and coxswain should bring plenty of clothing to each practice: extra socks, long sleeve and short sleeve tshirts, sweatpants, spandex leggings and long sleeve shirt, stocking cap, baseball cap (for sunny days), sunglasses, layers, layers, layers...and then some additional dry clothes. A rain jacket that allows for movement but is not too bulky or lose is good. The rowing jackets help with this and are highly recommended. Also bring a water bottle, inhaler if prescribed, a healthy snack, sunblock and a positive and winning attitude!

Why do practice times vary so much?

Basically because we are at the mercy of the weather and the river. While it is the goal of the coaches to get as many rowers time on the water, often the conditions of the river make it hard to plan exactly how a practice will go. Water time is precious but the safety of all rowers/coaches is the number one concern. If weather keeps the team off the water, often they will run, erg, work out and practice might end sooner. If the weather cooperates, coaches will try to take advantage and stay out a bit longer. It's the nature of the sport.

Why is there a Food Tent fee if my child brings food to each race?

Because of the amount of time spent together on race days we often prepare three meals for each rower. The fee covers the main dish/meat and then we ask each rower to bring smaller items. The $15.00 Food Tent fee is a ONE TIME fee per season.

How do I know what food item my child is supposed to bring to each race?

The Food List for each race is emailed to each racer, posted in the boathouse and available here on the website.

What is the best way to view a race?

Race day schedules will be available at the Food Tent. This will help you know what boat your child is in and what time they will be racing. There is a lot of "down time," in crew. Please join us at the Food Tent/Parent Area. We have chairs, coffee, cowbells to ring, and a lot of enthusiasm. We'd love to have a loud, noisy group cheering for our kids.

What is expected of me on Race Day?

Bring a well rested racer to the boathouse early in the morning. (If you are not volunteering then go home for a nice nap, breakfast, etc) Return to watch your child race. Be respectful of the fact that your child is on a TEAM and he/she is supposed to spend most of their time with their teammates and coaches. Down time is hard for athletes as well and they need to stay focused and in the game. Let the coaches coach (who knows anything about crew anyway??) And again.....PLEASE get involved with the other parents and have fun cheering for our team.

What does "I caught a crab," mean?

You will soon find out that Crew has a language of it's own. Please check out our "Crew Terminology" page. Catching a crab is not a good thing!