Frequently asked questions

How many students row at Brookline High School?

Crew has the highest number of participants of any sport at BHS. There are four teams: two for girls and two for boys. First-year rowers and coxswains are on the Novice teams, and the experienced rowers and coxswains are on Varsity.

Where do they train?

The team uses the Boston Latin Boathouse on Soldiers Field Rd in Brighton (1345 Soldiers Field Road Brighton, MA) for training and boat storage. The team pays a fee for this use. We try to be good citizens at BLS since we share their facility and they have been great hosts to-date.

What is BHS involvement in the crew team?

FoBR works closely with the BHS Athletic Department and pays for many of the coaches, insures, maintains, and repairs the boats, and provides transportation to some races.

Who runs the BHS Rowing program?

Brookline Rowing is run by the coaches in close coordination with FoBR.

What are the hours for practice?

Practice at BLS runs from 3:00 to 5:30 on weekdays from early March through May; there is also practice on Saturdays before the regatta season. There are usually two practices each day during the April school vacation week (except for Patriot’s Day). Races are held on most weekends from early April to the end of May.

What makes a good rower?

Rowing is not the right sport for everyone. In addition to athletic ability, a rower or coxswain must be willing to constantly sacrifice for his or her teammates and to give maximum effort every day at practice. It is the consummate team sport.

A good rower has to have three primary athletic qualities: One is stamina…Secondly they have to have wonderful balance and timing…And then finally the third quality is just raw power… (Stephen Gladstone, Men’s Head Coach, U. of California – Berkeley)

What is an ERG?

An ergometer is an indoor rowing machine – also known as the ultimate torture machine. To learn more about how to erg, go to the following web site: Concept 2 – Technique Videos

What will my child’s costs for rowing be?

The cost for the general program is set by the high school and is paid directly to the town. In addition, Friends of Brookline Rowing collects a food fee at the beginning of the season to supplement the food committee run by FoBR at all regattas. Food fees can be paid here.

Varsity athletes must buy their own uniforms, which cost about $70. Novice uniforms are provided by BHS and must be returned washed at the end of the spring season.

Your child may wish to purchase crew t-shirts at some of the big races for about $15. Most rowers are more comfortable wearing spandex shorts. Varsity athletes may choose to buy a team boathouse jacket, which is a good wet weather repellent. These jackets are popular among our athletes, but are not required. They cost about $170. Captains also organize other optional team gear.

A fee is paid for varsity and novice athletes to participate in the winter training program. The annual varsity winter training trip during February vacation is paid by the family of each athlete. The approximate cost of the Winter training trip is about $1,200.

FoBR provides scholarships when needed.

What do the Friends of Brookline Rowing pay for?

FoBR pays about $30,000+ each season in operating expenses.
These include:

  • Coaches stipends;
  • Insurance for all boats;
  • Maintenance and repair boats;
  • Ergs and stationary bicycles; and
  • Scholarships, awarded on an as-needed basis.

The FoBR pays for 100% of all equipment.

Where does FOBR get its funds?

The Friends of Brookline Rowing has two major fund raising events during the year. The Crew-a-thon is held every spring. Groups of athletes go door-to-door throughout Brookline asking for funds. Parent contributions make up at least 50% of the funds. The Erg-a-thon is held in the early fall. Rowers and coxswains ask family and friends for pledges as they row on ergs set up in Coolidge Corner.

Why does FoBR assess a fee for food served at regattas when each family pays BHS an athletic fee each spring season?

The athletic fee goes to BHS, which in turn pays some of our operating expenses such as the rental payment to the BLS Boat Club, a portion of coaches’ salaries, and most of the costs of transporting boats and athletes to regattas.

The food fee goes to pay for supplies, the trailer, supplemental food at all the regattas. Most regattas are all day events where the rowers are fed throughout the day. We also rely on parents to provide a wide array of food for the athletes and families throughout the day.

How many races are there during the season?

There are races on most weekends in April and May. Crews that qualify for Youth Nationals continue into early June. Please refer to the schedule on our home page for race dates.

What should my child bring to crew practice?

A t-shirt, a polypro long-sleeve shirt for early spring practice, spandex shorts, running shoes, socks, and a water bottle. The river is very cold in March and April; long spandex pants and long-sleeve tops are very important. Hats and sunglasses are needed too. No gloves. Most kids wear spandex shorts or pants so that the hem can’t get caught on the seat or slides of the ergs or the shells. An extra set of dry clothes for after practice isn’t a bad idea either.

What is my responsibility as a parent?

Many hands are needed to support the team at regattas. Besides financing, driving to practice and races, and cheering at races, help is needed for the Erg-a-thon and the Crew-a-thon fund raisers.

How would you describe watching a race?

Occasionally it rains and is cold. Often it is beautiful. Parents arrive in plenty of time to stand around talking and waiting for the race to begin, checking their watches regularly. The races start late. You squint (even with binoculars) trying to see if the kids coming down the river have the appropriate color oars/boat/uniform. (Each team has uniquely painted oars.) You cheer for about 30 seconds as they row by and then you wait around for the boat to come out of the water so that you can have your child pretty much ignore your presence or perhaps ask for money to buy yet another T-shirt. Even though your child is bound to say “don’t bother coming to the races”, you really should come and see what they are spending all that time doing after school. FoBR sets up tents (bought with contributions from previous fund raisers) and provides food and drinks for the athletes and families. Come to at least one race to see the set-up and where your contributions are going. We can’t emphasize it enough – ignore your child and make a point of coming to the races. Find our tents and introduce yourself around. Join the FoBR family!

What should spectators bring to a race?

These are mostly all-day events, but you can arrive and leave at any time. Dress for the weather (layers are best); unlike your athlete you won’t be moving to stay warm. Bring good binoculars, maybe a folding chair, a camera, an umbrella, and a smile.

Is there any summer, fall, or winter BHS crew activity?

Our coaches are working on expanding our summer and fall programs to include all of our athletes. Winter training (erging, running, weight training, and yoga) is held at BHS from about November 1st until the beginning of the spring rowing season. There is a separate fee for Winter Training (see the payments page.)

Can rowing help my child get into college?

We like to think so, but it is hard to tell. Rowing seems to help women more due to Title IX. Scholarships do exist — again mostly for women. However, even colleges without rowing programs look on rowers as students who have demonstrated amazing dedication to a most disciplined sport.

How do I get information during the season?

Information is provided through emailed notices and the Friends of Brookline Rowing web site.
Most information is provided through email to parents since notices sent home with the rowers always seem to end up at the bottom of a backpack, usually wet. To get onto the email list, send an email to the roster coordinator listed on the FoBR Volunteer page.

Are there any good books on rowing?

There are some excellent books on the subject for both rowers and parents:

Mind Over Water: Lessons on Life From the Art of Rowing by Craig Lambert
The Amateurs by David Halberstam
Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
The Red Rose Crew: A True Story of Women, Winning, and the Water by Daniel J. Boyne