Becoming Part of WWU Rowing

Being part of WWU Men’s Crew is being part of a sport and a team that requires dedication, physical strength, and mental fortitude. Rowing is a sport of equal parts finesse and brute force. It is highly demanding of time and energy and is known for creating close bonds between teammates and lifelong friendships. We frequently say that those who row with us for four years have the ability to be successful in anything for the rest of their life, because they’ve developed and displayed the amount of dedication, focus, and effort that success will take. Learn more about our team in the video below made by ’17 alumni, Nic Carter.

The Men’s Crew Program at Western Washington University is always accepting dedicated new athletes. No rowing experience is required to join and there are not tryouts. A hallmark of our team philosophy is to take on anyone interested and work with them to build a competitive and successful collegiate rower. This does not mean that we are a recreational program. While everyone able will race in the fall and early spring season regattas, seat-racing and intra-squad competition will determine racing lineups for competitive late-spring season regattas with only our most competitive rowers traveling to WIRA regatta and ACRA Nationals. Learn more about our team and racing schedule here.

Our coaches are qualified and dedicated, with years of rowing and coaching experience. See the coaches page for more information.

Experienced rowers who have rowed in high school or with other clubs will find Western’s crew program challenging and rewarding. You will have opportunities to “row up” with the returning experienced rowers and will also likely be a leader to your novice classmates as they learn the sport for the first time.

New rowers will be on the water within days-to-weeks of joining in the fall and will be taught the basics of rowing to compete in both fall head races and spring sprints. You will learn the basics of safe and effective rowing on a stationary land machine, followed by a progression to full-speed on-water rowing. The goal is racing at our first fall season races, usually in mid-late-October.

The Novice 4+ that placed third at the WIRA Championships, 2016. Only two members had rowing experience prior to attending Western.

Training Information

Find us at the Info Fair the two days before fall quarter starts for critical information about joining the team.

We practice 4-5 mornings a week during the fall quarter, are on break (with an on-your-own training plan) from Thanksgiving to January, resume practice 4-5 mornings a week through January and February, then begin practice back on the water in mid-late-February as weather allows 4-6 mornings per week. We start practice from 5am-7am Monday-Friday, and at 7am on Saturdays. While this may seem insanely early to you now, most new rowers acclimate and get used to the schedule change by the end of their first season. When it’s part of the culture and you have 30+ other people sharing the experience, it’s easier to get on board! We also have a dedicated team strength coach and have afternoon workouts on the ergometer or in the weight-room.

Novice rowers are slowly assimilated into the rigorous winter and spring seasons, with afternoon land practices mixed in with morning practices 2-4 times a week.

The 2017 men’s novice 8+ won gold at Covered Bridge Regatta in Eugene, OR. Two rowers in this boat had rowing experience.

The 2017 Men’s Novice 8+ won gold at Covered Bridge Regatta in Eugene, OR. Two rowers in this boat had rowing experience.


WWU men’s crew is almost completely self-funded. We minimize personal dues as much as possible, instead fundraising through donations and our highly successful Rent-a-Rower program. Individuals are responsible for their own apparel as well as $100-$300 of dues per quarter depending on costs, fundraising, and the racing schedule. We rent vans and carpool to all regattas except the 1-2 per year that require flights. Hotel travel is limited to a few occasions per year. Travel costs are minimized as much as possible but are still an individual responsibility. We never want payment to stop someone from rowing and will always work to find a payment plan or fundraising option that allow you to participate on the team.


Contact us if you are interested in more information or would like to come out and observe a morning practice. You can also check out the Men’s Crew booth at the fall annual info fair, attend our fall season info meeting, and attend the first few land-based practices with no commitment. Keep up to date on current recruitment events by following us on Instagram @wwurowing and on Facebook at WWU Men’s Rowing.