The high school seasonal competitive program is run by Westford Academy but is open to residents of Westford and surrounding communities.

2019 Spring
Registration & Tryouts

Westford Academy Crew is holding an open tryout period for students from Westford and the surrounding communities interested in rowing competitively this spring. Students must be in 8th-12th grade, in good academic standing, and able to attend daily practices Monday - Saturday as well as weekend regattas. We practice Mon-Fri from 3:30-6 PM and Sat 8:30-10 AM. See the Westford Academy Crew Facebook Page for our 2019 regatta schedule.

Tryouts will begin Monday, March 18th at 3:30 pm at the Mill Works in Westford and will last one week. Athletes should bring athletic clothes, running sneakers, and a reusable water bottle. Coxswains should have these things as well as a notebook and writing utensil. Coaches will be selecting rowers and coxswains for the men’s and women’s, novice and varsity teams (see below for definitions of these roles).

What are the coaches looking for during tryouts?

Tryouts will take into account all of the aspects that allow an athlete to be successful. Attributes the coaches will consider (in both rowers and coxswains) include:

  • Attendance and preparedness

  • Work-ethic

  • Coachability

  • Sportsmanship

  • Leadership

  • Team-player mentality

  • Positive “I can do it”, “I will try it” attitude

  • Competitiveness

  • Toughness/grit and resilience

  • Technical ability

  • Fitness level and size to strength ratio

For the rowers, coaches will (among other things) look at the results of physical fitness challenges (situps, pushups, pullups, squats/squat jumps, running), a 1 minute watts erg piece, and a rate-capped 2000m erg piece. Coxswains will be assessed on their ability to direct warmups and technical drills, their organizational skills, and the ability to take take initiative, ask questions, and learn from mistakes.

What do I need to do in order to try-out?

Each of the following items are required before the first day of tryouts. Athletes who do not have these items in order must still come to tryouts as planned but will only be allowed to watch, per the rules of WA.

  1. Complete the WA registration requirements by 3/17. This includes:

    1. Register online through Family ID

    2. Have a physical on file with WA dated within 13 months of 3/18

      1. If not turned in to WA by 3/13 this should be brought to the first day of practice instead

      2. Returning athletes with expired physicals will receive an email from the coach

    3. Complete the free online concussion course

  2. Athletes-- complete this Google Form by 3/17: https://goo.gl/forms/UabWd8lEmtyhFgfi1

  3. Complete a swim test at a local pool with a certified lifeguard. While not required on the first day, this is required before an athlete will be allowed on the water. Signed forms should be given to the head coach. Electronic copies are acceptable.

    1. Swim tests can be completed at nearly any local public pool, gym, or YMCA where a lifeguard is present. Call ahead to ask about schedule availability. Cost is generally $5.

    2. Athletes who are certified lifeguards themselves may provide a copy of their certificate

  4. Have a Basic USRowing membership ($9.75) and sign the USRowing waiver

    1. Follow instructions at http://www.usrowing.org/sign-a-waiver/ (our club code is XVNCL, all caps)

    2. All returning athletes from the fall team have this completed already

    3. Only a current basic membership is required for tryouts. Athletes do NOT need higher at this time.

Note: Season fees or arrangements for payment plans with the head coach are due Monday, 3/25. Checks should be made to Westford Public Schools. Sibling discounts are available. We are also happy to work with families to offer financial assistance and/or extra fundraising opportunities for any who might need it-- please contact the WA athletic director jbunyon@westfordk12.edu. We love rowing and do not want cost to be a limiting factor for athletes.

How can I prepare for tryouts?

The best thing to do is to get into shape... or get into better shape by the start of the season. Varsity and returning novices should be comfortable rowing at least two, 20 minute erg pieces (at ~2k + 20” pace). We also recommend that varsity and returning novice complete at least one 2000m erg piece on their own before tryouts. Other cardiovascular-based exercise (running, swimming, biking), as well as body weight exercises (pushups, squat jumps, or sit-ups), will help you prepare. Do what makes you athletic and start doing it today.

Why is WA Crew doing a tryout period this season?

We understand that rowing is a challenging sport with a big time commitment and a lot of unknowns for students who have never tried it. We want to give all students (novice and varsity) the chance to come see what we’re about and be able to determine if we are a good fit for them and, likewise, if they are a good fit for us!

With only three weeks until our first race and two months until our regional championship regatta, it is important for our team to be able to hit the ground running this season. Our coaching staff strongly believes that seats in the boat are earned and not given, so what better way to start off the season than with earning our seats on the team! Tryouts are a great way for us to see what our experienced athletes have been up to all winter and gauge their physical and mental preparedness for a high-intensity season. They also provide a good conversation starting point if coaches feel that athletes might struggle to keep up or need extra support in the season.

Athletes who miss the tryout period will only be accepted on a case-by-case basis as determined by the coaching staff.

I am new to rowing, do I need any experience?

Absolutely none! We want athletes who are interested in working hard and being part of a tightly-knit competitive team. If you’ve never rowed before, DO NOT WORRY.  Everyone will be taught how to row on the indoor rowing ergometer with lots of instruction and feedback from the coaches. You’ll notice that most of the things in the list of attributes coaches look for do not have to do with knowing how to row. There is plenty you can bring to the team already-- come prepared to show us!

Novice, varsity, coxswain... what?

Novice Athletes are those who are in their first year of competitive rowing, regardless of their year in school. The novice teams will spend the year developing their rowing skill and will compete against other novice athletes from schools throughout New England. If you are brand new to rowing, this is you.

Varsity Athletes are those who have passed more than one year from the date of their first competitive rowing event. These individuals are no longer eligible to compete as novices. In some instances, exceptional novice athletes may be considered for rowing with the varsity team. Athletes who were novices last spring will be considered varsity this spring.

Coxswains are the individuals in charge of steering the boats, executing the race plan, and coaching the rowers down the race course. Think of a jockey in horse racing. Due to the nature of the position, smaller athletes are generally better suited for the coxswain’s seat. Both novice and varsity require a strong group of coxswains to be the leaders of the boats and propel our crews to victory. There are no gender-specific rules regarding coxswains, so you will have the opportunity to develop your leadership skills with multiple boats throughout the year. Any individuals under 130 pounds are encouraged to try out as a coxswain.

Please contact Julie Warren, Head Coach for more information or questions.