Bowdoin Rowing competes in the top tier of NESCAC and NCAA Division III competition, and contributes significantly to the mission of the College, its coastal character, and its history. Founded in 1858, the team is the college’s first intercollegiate sport. All experience levels are welcome!
Remigio Delectate et Remigate Velociter: Have fun, go fast
If you are a high school rower interested in rowing at Bowdoin, our coaches are eager to hear from you! They would be happy to introduce you to the College and the program.
Please complete our Prospective Student Questionnaire. You are also welcome to contact Head Coach Doug Welling at [email protected], or Assistant Coach Ry Hills at [email protected] to discuss rowing at Bowdoin.
If you are an athlete interested in joining Bowdoin Rowing and have not rowed before, we would love to have you! More than half of our team never rowed before coming to Bowdoin. Please email [email protected] for more information.
FAQs About Rowing at Bowdoin
Do I have to know how to row to join?
No! About 75% of our team learned to row their first year at Bowdoin. During the fall, those interested in rowing can join a two-week learn-to-row program. During this time, you will learn the technique and terminology of the sport and try your hand at taking strokes on the water. Following this learn-to-row period, you will have the opportunity to join the team as a novice and potentially race in a fall race.
Do I need to be tall to row?
While height is a large factor in competitive rowing, it is not the defining factor of a good athlete. Strength, aerobic training and an athletic mentality goes a very long way in this sport. If being a rower doesn’t interest you but you want to be involved in the sport, think about coxing! Coxswains are smaller in stature, drive and motivate the boat, and play a primary role in creating the cohesion and speed of their crew. As a coxswain, you will learn rowing technique and how to implement calls that will encourage and help each boat.
What is the weekly practice schedule like?
We typically practice 5-6 times a week: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Wednesday is almost always an off day and Sunday is either an erg practice on campus or a distance row on the water. In the fall, the novice group (those learning to row) practice in the afternoon from 4:30 until 6:45 and the varsity group (those who can row competitively) practice in the morning. A typical Varsity morning practice meets on campus at 5:40am to drive to the boathouse, a 10-15 minute drive down Bath road. After a brief meeting in the boathouse, we’re back on campus in time for 8:30am classes.
What are the racing seasons and how many regattas do we attend?
The fall season is the ‘head race season’, where we race 5k-6k (about 15-25 minute) races in a time trial format against other boats. As a novice rower, you will likely attend 3 regattas over the course of the season around Maine and eastern Massachusetts. Varsity rowers will additionally race in the Head of the Charles, the world’s largest head race regatta that takes place on the Charles River in Boston each year.
The spring season is the ‘sprint season’ where races are 2000 meters in a more traditional lane set up against other boats. We typically begin racing the first weekend in April and have 6 and 7 races per season. Because these races are shorter, some regattas will have multiple events, either a qualifying race and finals, or prelims, semis, and finals over the course of one or two days. Our season ends at the Dad Vail Regatta, the largest collegiate rowing regatta in the US, where Bowdoin consistently races in the grand finals!
How do you train for rowing off the water?
During the winter months, we train off the water on rowing machines called ergometers, or ‘ergs’, which simulate the rowing stroke. We have 25 Concept2 rowing machines (ergs) for use by students at any point during the school year. During February and March, we have organized winter training on the ergs before getting on the water during spring break on our team trip to South Carolina!