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Information for Novice Rowers and Parents

To prepare for the spring season, every rower (unless participating in a winter sport) is strongly encouraged to participate in winter land training.  Winter training at Robinson starts in late November and runs until water practice begins.  Water training at Sandy Run begins in late February, subject to weather conditions, and continues through May.  Practices are held Monday through Saturday, after school 4:00-6:30 pm and Saturdays 8:00-11:00 am.  Coaches drive a launch (motorboat) alongside boats to provide instruction.

Regattas season is March - May and take place on Saturdays.  For more information about regattas see the separate information page.  The majority of the regattas are held at Sandy Run and qualifying boats may attend State and National regattas.  

Team Communication

In addition to emails and website updates, the team uses Slack to communicate amongst the coaches, rowers, and parents.  I would highly recommend downloading Slack from the Google or Apple app store and requesting access to the Robinson Crew Team channel.

Slack - Google Play

Slack - Apple App Store

What to Bring to Practice

Robinson Crew practices and competes in harsh weather conditions. Weather can change quickly, so always be prepared for heat, sun, wind, rain, or cold.  Here is a list of clothing and equipment all athletes should have with them:

  • Water bottle!  There are water fountains at the boathouse, but athletes need drinking water while out in the boats, in cold or warm weather.

  • Running shoes, athletes run after practice.

  • Nylon or synthetic shorts or warm-up pants. Athletes must wear form-fitting shorts or pants. Loose or baggy shorts or pants are not allowed, as they may get caught in the boat slides.

  • A short-sleeve or long-sleeve shirt made from technical fabric such as Under Armor, Patagonia Capilene, or COOLMAX. These fabrics keep you warmer and drier by wicking moisture away from skin.

  • A polar fleece jacket or sweatshirt.

  • A knit hat (not a baseball cap) during cold weather.

  • Sunglasses (or a baseball cap for warmer weather) to protect your eyes from the glare reflecting off the water.

  • Gloves.

  • Rain gear.

  • EXTRA CLOTHES. It is likely that you will get wet while out rowing. Water splashes, and occasionally the wake from a motor launch can splash over the gunwale of the boat, leaving you drenched. It's a necessity to have a warm, dry changes of clothes.

  • Sunscreen.

Boats or "shells"

The type of boat (or "shell") Robinson uses is called an "8 boat", because it carries 8 rowers. These boats use sweep rowing, in which each rower uses one oar.   In addition to rowers, every boat has a coxswain (a.k.a. "cox"). The coxswain is the person who steers the shell, coaches the rowers about technique, pacing, and power, executes race strategy, and provides leadership and encouragement. Coxswains are often selected from the lighter athletes to reduce weight on the boat.  Men and women compete separately. The most competitive boat is designated the "1st 8" (men's or women's), the next boat is designated the "2nd 8", and so on. Coaches decide who rows on every boat, and make changes throughout the season.


Sandy Run Regional Park

Sandy Run Regional Park is situated on the Occoquan Reservoir at 10450 Van Thompson Rd, Fairfax Station, VA 22039.  The easiest way to get there from Robinson is to follow 123 south until you fire station at the corner of Hampton Rd.  Turn right on to Hampton Rd and drive 3/4 mile to Van Thompson Rd and take a left.  Follow Van Thompson Rd until you reach the park but please be mindful of the speed limit.

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