FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Email csurowing@gmail.com or Complete the online interest form if you are interested in joining.


Who are we:

We’re the CSU Rowing Team. Officially a student organization/sport club, we think of ourselves as a varsity NCAA team. Since our program started in 2000, the team has seen a steady increase in competitiveness and acceptance as a midwest contender.

What do you do?

We train on the water 8 weeks each semester (and off the water during the off-season) in preparation for competitions against other colleges. We compete against all ohio colleges and universities with rowing teams and also schools from all over the Midwest and east-from Case and JCU to Miami U and OU to OSU, Northwestern, and Purdue. We’ve even raced some ivy league schools. Regattas (competitions) are a lot of fun and always a nice little vacation from home–coming home with medals is pretty great too!

What’s the point?

Depends on who you ask.

Some rowers ran cross-country or played soccer, volleyball, baseball, or football in high school and joined to stay competitive and fit. To them, CSU Crew became the natural next step in their athletic careers.

Some rowers join CSU crew in their off-season of their varsity sport at CSU. Cleveland State’s Crew team has benefited Viking swimmers, fencers, and cross-country runners. Rowing is also a great cross-training sport for basketball and volleyball.

Others join in an attempt to break the monotony of CSU commuter life or invite their floor to practice–or are just looking for something new to do. They enjoy the good friends, fun atmosphere, good times, and quickly realize their athletic competitive selves and that there is a sport out there they are actually good at!

No matter the reason, everyone finds rowing to be something unique and totally different than anything they ever expected to experience at CSU. "I met a lot of awesome people and found a fun way to get myself in good shape. I stayed for the love of the sport, competition, and camaraderie." -Denny. By the way, rowing is one of the best physical activities you can partake in it strengthens all muscle groups and provides a very strong cardio endurance.

I don’t want to row – Plus I hate working out. But I am Tiny, Bossy, and Loud and want to do something!!

You may also be interested in coxing. The Coxswain (pronounced coxin) is the 5th or 9th person in a boat who steers the boat, calls out commands, and motivates the rowers during races. Typically, we want these people to be as aggressive, loud, and as tiny as possible (like under 140 lbs hopefully-since you’d just be dead weight). Please email us if you have any interest in this position – We love our cox’s and always want more!

More Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do you actually have practices at 5:30 in the morning?

A: You’re darn right we do!!! Yeah, we have morning practices, but hang on!! its not so bad– You’ll find that it’s easy to wake up early when its something you have a passion for–and most people quickly develop a passion. So maybe you’ll be late once or twice before that passion thing kicks in. We’ve tried evening practices but a lot of people have schedule conflicts at night.

Q: Can graduate students at CSU participate?

A: Yes Graduate students can join the team because we are a club program. Any CSU student taking at least 1 credit hour can join the team.

Q: I’ve never rowed before. Is that a problem?

A: No way. Almost all collegiate rowers start their rowing careers in college. Your coach will introduce you to the sport and teach you the skills. At regattas, you will be racing with and against others at your same skill level.

Q: Where do you row?

A: The winding Cuyahoga River–and sometimes within the break walls on Lake Erie. Our boathouse is in the flats.

Q: Is there a chance I can fall in the water?

A: No..–well, barely. The oars are locked on the boats and are very buoyant. There is virtually no risk of the boat tipping over (conditions would have to be ridiculously insane). It’s happened once in our team history (since 2000). In the event of an accident, all our coaches are all CPR certified and equipped with proper safety equipment.

Q: What muscles do you use the most?

A: Rowing is an amazing workout. It is a total body workout, building on nearly all muscle groups and aerobic abilities. It is a great aerobic workout and low-impact on the joints. Because rowing is such a thorough workout, rowers are often considered the most physically fit athletes.

Q: I’m tiny and I weigh 110 lbs. Is there a place for me?

A: You know it! Little people fit in perfectly as coxswains. This is the only person in the boat not rowing but they are the eyes and ears of the boat. They steer, command, and motivate the rowers, and play the most important role at practice and competition.

Q: Semester Fees? What Fees?

A: Because the CSU Rowing team is considered a club sport and not a varsity program, we have to come up with our own money for regatta and boathouse fees, and equipment maintenance and purchases. This is done by fundraisers and a individual rower fee of $200 per semester and coxswain fee of $60.

Q: How time consuming is this?

A: Our season goes for the first half of fall semester and the second half of spring semester. During season, we practice 5 days a week. Practices go for about an hour and a half or two. We go out of town to compete about 3-4 weekends per semester-these regattas are usually on Saturdays, so we get there Friday evening and come back Saturday evening. Places we travel to include Pittsburgh, Philly, Miami U, Ohio U, Columbus, Indiana, Michigan,Washington D.C.and West Virginia. For spring break, we’d like to go down south to Florida or Tennessee for some training and fun times.

Q: How many people are typically on the team

A: It varies, we’ve had as much as 27 rowers on the team. On average we have ~14 rowers and 2 coxswains.

Q: When do you allow people to join the team?

A: Fall Season we usually only recruit during the first 3 weeks of school. During the Winter Training/Spring Season you can join the team Anytime between January – March, after we get on the water after spring break we do not accept new rowers because it slows down the teams progress in learning how to row because we’d have to teach new rowers the basics.

Q: Are there try-outs?

A: No, everyone who joins will get to row at practice and race. However, there is try-outs for the Varsity boats. You’re first year you’ll row novice, but if your strong and pick up the technique quickly you’ll be put in the Varsity boat.


During on-water season (first 8 weeks of Fall, second 8 weeks of Spring), we’ll meet every weekday (5:30am) at the Cleveland Rowing Foundation boathouse (between the flats and Tower City Amphitheater). We go for a run, do a circuit workout, and exercise on ergometers (indoor rowing machines) or row on the water for about an hour. Morning practices usually let out by 7:15-7:30, giving more than enough time to return to campus, shower, and attend 8:30 classes–probably 8:00 labs too. From January till spring break, the team has winter conditioning practices four days a week.

Regattas (races):

Fall races are 5,000 meter beat the clock races. Spring races are 2,000 meter head-to-head sprint races. Because rowing isn’t sanctioned by the NCAA, we compete against all collegiate teams–large and small-at the same level. We regularly compete against such schools as Ohio State, Michigan, Miami, Northwestern, Purdue, U of Chicago, Pitt, Notre Dame, etc. In a race, rowers are categorized by sex, weight, and experience. For men, lightweight cut-off is 165 lbs and for women, 135 lbs. We usually attend about 4 regattas per season.


Come and give it a shot!

Contact us if you want in, or just some more information:


Rowing is the ultimate walk-on sport. (It’s easier to get started than you think.)



Reasons to Join


  • It’s fun!
  • Stay in shape during college!
  • Meet new people
  • Try something new!
  • Explore Cleveland’s waterways and view of downtown from the river
  • NO Experience Necessary – 95% of the team never new how to row prior to joining
  • Compete against local colleges, Ohio Colleges, even Ivy League, and international crews!
  • Challenge your athletic ability