What is BLS Crew?

BLS Crew is a competitive high school program for boy and girl rowers. Our rowers compete successfully on the local, state and national levels. The BLS Crew team has over 120 athletes participating each year.

What is the difference between a club and an official sport at BLS?

BLS Crew operates as a club. This means that the organization, while supported in certain ways by the school and bound by certain guidelines of the school, is governed and funded by the independent Board of Directors of the 501(c)(3) Friends of BLS Crew, Inc. BLS Crew finances the program through rower fees, fundraising events, and donations. All administrative, organizational, maintenance and other functions of the organization are performed by parent volunteers.

 

Do I need experience to join?

Almost all rowers who join BLS Crew have never rowed before. Through daily practices with top rowing coaches, rowers get into excellent physical condition and learn rowing skills and teamwork. If you are strong and tall, you may naturally be a good rower. If you are small and lightweight, you may make a good coxswain. Whatever your physical make-up we can teach you to be a good rower.

 

What types of students should consider Crew?

BLS Crew is designed to provide a rich athletic and personal experience for students of all types. The program Mission Statement highlights that "We understand also that sport, especially at the middle and high school levels, is more than a venue for competition but also one for developing vital life skills and a strong sense of self." Rowers come in all shapes and sizes. Although being tall can be an advantage, not being tall does not mean you would not be a good rower. The most important attributes of a rower are attitude, technique, and physical fitness. Rowers of all sizes are able to learn “boat-moving” skills and can train to improve their endurance. Because the coxswain does not row, smaller and lighter athletes are usually chosen for that position.

What makes a good rower?

A good rower demonstrates three things: Good attitude (being coachable and listening). Skillful technique (developed over many strokes). Toughness and endurance (developed through running, rowing, and erging.)

What makes a good coxswain?

Because a coxswain does not row, smaller and lighter athletes are usually chosen for the position. A successful coxswain is confident and able to motivate others. The coxswain must be able to anticipate what lies ahead, whether in the boat while maneuvering to the starting line, navigating a race at top speed, or on land when directing rowers carrying a boat through a crowd.

Is Crew an easy sport to participate in?

Crew is not an easy sport. It requires endurance, strength, and a willingness to work hard. Crew asks a lot of you, but it delivers much in return: overall fitness, top-notch competition, a strong bond with your team, school pride, and potentially a sport to continue with in college, among other benefits.

 

What is the difference between a Novice and Varsity Athlete?

All first-year rowers are Novices. In both the Spring and Fall seasons, Novices learn the basics of boat safety and technique, train, and compete in Novice events. With the exception of some of the youngest Novice rowers, all rowers who have completed one Spring Novice season are automatically members of the Boys or Girls Varsity Teams the following Spring season. Varsity team rowers earns varsity letters at BLS.

Are there cuts from the team?

No. BLS Crew does not have cuts. It does have requirements which include practice attendance and participation in team fundraising efforts.

What season is crew?

The primary interscholastic crew season is the Spring, and BLS Crew also runs a Fall program as well. Spring training begins in January indoors and moves onto the water when river and weather conditions are appropriate. Starting in early April, regattas or other events take place on most weekends through the end of the school year. The Fall season begins in late August and runs through mid-November. BLS Crew also runs a summer training program for experienced rowers and Learn-to-Row sessions for brand-new rowers.

What is the attendance policy for Varsity Athletes?

Athletes are expected to make all doctor, dentist, etc. appointments before or after our

season. If necessary, they should occur in winter training, and the athlete will

make up the workout. Athletes can miss a maximum of 3 practices the entire season, but are not expected to use this amount. This number will not count due to illness or injury, although coaches must receive an email or text message by noon that day if an athlete misses practices for these reasons. Athletes must inform the coaching staff two weeks before a race if they have a conflict.

Where do we row? What time are practices?

In the winter, before outdoor practices are possible, athletes practice at the school. In the Spring and Fall, the team rows on the Charles River from the BLS Boathouse near Christian Herter Park in Brighton. This location is immediately next to Northeastern's Henderson Boathouse, about 30 minutes by public transportation from BLS. Rowers typically take the MBTA bus after school to Brighton. Practice times vary by squad and can be found in the season- and squad-specific pages. After practice rowers are generally picked up by parent carpools, or can take public transportation. Like other Spring Sports, BLS Crew holds practices during Spring break.  

Does the team practice at the boathouse on days with bad weather?

Normally, yes. Even when the weather is not favorable, we can still accomplish similar training at the boathouse.

Where does the team compete?

The Crew team participates in several regattas during the Spring and Fall seasons. We compete on the Charles River, Merrimack River (Lowell), Lake Quinsigamond (Worcester), and Lake Cochituate (Wayland), to name a few. Most of these regattas are held on the weekends during April, May and early June, as well as October for the Fall season. In addition, selected boats may travel to national events in June.

What is expected of Crew parents?

Operating a successful program involves a deep level of parental engagement. As we practice off-site from BLS and do not receive transportation support from the athletic department, parents are responsible for transporting their athletes home from practice (most take public transportation to practice) and to regattas. Parents are also expected to volunteer in capacities such as Board members, regatta organizers and volunteers, boat and boathouse maintenance, fundraising, website maintenance, chaperones etc. Parents are also expected to participate in the team’s fundraising activities.

Why does the team have rower fees?

Crew is a varsity sport at BLS but does not receive any funding from BLS/BPS, and a contribution for only about 4% of its budget from BLSA. Friends of BLS Crew, Inc., a nonprofit organization run by parent volunteers, is responsible for raising the money to pay for the entire program, including the racing shells, coaches' salaries, boathouse costs, and equipment. While rower fee payments are requested, financial aid is available and Friends of BLS Crew is committed to making sure that crew is affordable for all BLS families. Rower fees should not be a barrier to any athlete considering participation in the Crew program. The Crew team also raises money through various fundraising events, and all team members are expected to participate in the spring Ergathon fundraiser.