Mandatory Meeting/Tryout Information
Primary Meeting: TBA
Alternate Meeting: TBA
* Dates for the Fall 2013 will be determined by June
Join Louisville Rowing!
- No Experience Necessary -
The University of Louisville is offering you the unique opportunity to be a Division I athlete on a nationally ranked team and no prior rowing experience is necessary.
We are a top 20 ranked team, and we compete against the best in the nation. While some of the athletes on the team who achieved this distinction were recruited and rowed in high school, more than half of our varsity roster is comprised of women who had never picked up an oar prior to coming to the UofL. These walk-ons began their careers on the novice team, learning how to row, and competing against novice teams from other schools around the country.
Rowing is the ultimate team sport that attracts enthusiastic, motivated and fit people who enjoy being outdoors and are looking to meet a great group of people and get involved with something new during their university experience. Most successful candidates were athletes in high school coming from a diversity of sports like basketball, swimming, volleyball, cross country, soccer, track, equestrian, and lacrosse. However, for some this is their first experience with organized sports.
You will be taught everything you need to know, just come with an open mind and be willing to work hard! The commitment is large, but the opportunity to represent the University of Louisville on the national stage, vie for the honor of being a Big East Champion, and the chance to be surrounded by an exceptional group of teammates is incomparable.
Cardinal rowing is a fully funded varsity sport, which covers all costs associated with practice and competition (practice gear, uniforms, travel expenses), access to our outstanding sports performance and conditioning staff, as well as personalized academic support. Following your novice year, opportunities exist for outstanding novice walk-on rowers to become eligible for performance based athletics financial aid.
Novice Walk-Ons Who Became All-Americans!
(Prospect, KY 2005)
(Louisville, KY 2007)
So you're thinking about trying out...
Frequently Asked Questions
Q Why does Louisville have a novice walk-on rowing team?
A Rowing teams carry rosters of up to 70 women, but the opportunities to row at the junior level are limited, so the pool of experienced rowers coming out of high school is small. The team at Louisville, along with the other 87 Division I schools with women's rowing teams, is comprised of recruited athletes who rowed in high school, but the balance of the roster is made up of women who started their rowing careers as walk-on novice. Most successful candidates for the novice team were high school athletes coming from sports like basketball, cross country, swimming, soccer, and softball. However, every year there are some walk-ons who have no prior experience with organized sports.
These walk-ons spend one year on the novice squad learning how to row and racing novice walk-on teams from other schools. Many current and former US National Team members and Olympians started their rowing careers as novice walk-ons.
Q What are tryouts like?
A We start off the process with a timed mile run to get a baseline on your fitness, and then meet at our indoor training facility and spend a week teaching you the basic rowing stroke on an ergometer/ indoor rower. At the end of the week you will take a 1000 meter erg 'test' where you put into practice what we have been working on all week and race through the 1000 meters as fast as you can. While you are learning something new, the coaching staff are assessing three things
1) Effort- this is a sport that rewards hard work. We need to know you know how to work hard and push yourself to be as fit, strong, and technically proficient as you can be.
2) Attitude- enthusiasm, focus, mental toughness, competitiveness, team oriented attitude.
3) Potential for speed- aptitude for the sport, athleticism, fitness, size.
Cara Littleton (4th from left)
Walk-on in 2009 from Bowling Green, Ky., & Greenwood High School;
High school cross-country runner and basketball player.
Lauren Mensch (3rd from right)
Walk-on in 2007 from Elizabethtown, Ky., & John Hardin High School;
High school softball and basketball player.
Q What is the time commitment?
A During the fall semester we practice in the afternoons from 3-5 or 5-7 M-F, and Saturday mornings from 9-11. We travel to one race during the fall which will take place the first weekend in November, and we go to Tampa, FL for a week long training camp over Winter Break. November- January is our off season, and our practice schedule is greatly reduced. Spring semester we are in season, and because you will be able to set your class schedule around practice there is only one practice time, 3:30-6:30 M-F, Saturday 9-11. Over Spring Break we have a training camp in Austin, Texas. We travel to five races during the months of March and April, and the season is over the last weekend in April.
Q How much does it cost?
A NOTHING. We are a fully funded sport, and uniforms, practice gear, and travel expenses are covered by the athletic department.
Q I am worried I won't be able to do a sport and keep on top of my school work.
A As an athlete at the University of Louisville, you will have access to the outstanding academic support, free tutors, early enrollment provided to all student athletes. In the Spring of 2011, we had an average team GPA of a 3.23. In fact, the average student-athlete GPA at UofL is higher than the average general student body's GPA. Click here to read more about UofL Academic Services.
Q Who do we compete against?
A We are members of the Big East Conference, and our season culminates with the Big East Championships the second weekend in May where we compete against Connecticut, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Syracuse, Villanova and West Virginia to be Big East Champs. Every year our out of conference schedule is a little different. Examples of other crews that we race includes, but is not limited to, Indiana, Tennessee, UCLA, Duke, Michigan, Michigan State, Virginia, Ohio State, Texas and Oklahoma.
Q What are races like?
A The fall season the length of races varies (depending on the body of water) but are usually around 3 miles and take around 15 minutes to race. These are called 'head races', and are raced in a time trial format, where each team starts at 10 second intervals, and you don't know how you've done until the times have all been calculated. Spring is our championship/ NCAA season, and all the races are 2000 meters and last around 6 minutes, 30 seconds. This is either done in a head to head, two school duel format, or at regattas where you compete against up to six boats at a time and go through heats and semis to make the final six boat race.
Q I heard you need to be tall to be a rower?
A Height definitely helps, but a lack of height can be overcome by effort, technical perfection, and fitness. If you are really small (under 5'4" and 115lbs), competitive, and a strong leader, you are an ideal candidate to be a coxswain- the person who steers the boat and tells the rowers what to do.
Q Who is the person who steers the boat?
A This is the coxswain (pronounced cox'-en) - a person of small stature whose primary job is to steer the boat, but they also play the crucial role of keeping the rowing and rowers coordinated with one another in terms of timing and rhythm, executing drills and workouts on the water, marshalling the boat around on land, keeping their crews organized during land workouts, and executing the race plan on race day. Coxswains need to be confident, competitive leaders, who are able to earn the respect of the rowers in their boat. Coxswains wear a microphone headset that is attached to speakers which are run underneath the seats in the boat so the crew can hear the commands.
Q How do I make the varsity team?
A At the end of your novice year, you will have the opportunity to tryout for the varsity squad based on a 2000 meter erg test and the coach's discretion. Scholarships are available.