Men’s Club Rowing Gears up For Season

If you’re looking to increase your endurance, push your mental toughness to new limits, and become part of a team of friends with whom you will spend about 18 hours a week, then the Seattle University men’s rowing team might be for you.

And if all of those benefits don’t sound exciting enough, consider this – the Seattle U men’s rowing team has won national championships. Two members of the men’s team, Dan Harrison and Chris Schultz, placed first in the national championship in June 2013. Traveling across the United States and taking gold in races isn’t an opportunity that most other club sports can offer.

Members of the SU Men’s Crew Team practice on Lake Washington.

Rowing is a sport that doesn’t get much attention from spectators or press, but is growing in popularity on college campuses. At Seattle U, the women’s team is part of the NCAA and the men’s team is a club sport that competes with other university club teams. The men’s team here was started in 1965, and is considered young compared to many older teams across the country, such as the Harvard team which has been competing since the 1840s.

The men’s team is currently preparing for the spring racing season, when the team will travel to Tacoma, Eugene, and Sacramento, among other places. The racing season accumulates to the National Championship in Georgia.

The first race of the season is on March 1 and is a scrimmage with Western Washington University. That same day, the rowing team’s annual Ergathon takes place in the Seattle University Quad. The event is a fundraiser for the rowing team and Seattle U students are encouraged to come out and cheer on the rowers.

The men’s rowing team has about 22 members and is always looking for recruits. Because the men’s team is not part of the NCAA, it recruits both men and women for rowing and coxswain positions. Megan Conville is a coxswain for the men’s team and also the vice president of the team. She is excited about the upcoming season and to see the hard work of training start to pay off.

“It[training] is a lot of work, and I’m excited about what will come after the winter training season,” said Conville regarding the start of the racing season.

The men’s team does not practice with the women’s team, but the two teams are close and see each other at regattas. The major differences between a club team and a Division I team is the funding, which for the club team comes from University Recreation, team dues, and fundraising.

“A club team doesn’t have the same funding as a varsity sport,” said the novice team coach Morgan Frost. “That includes funding for the team and also funding for student athletes. It makes it pretty cool that all of the guys on the team are…committed to this and they’re not getting anything in return other than pure love of the sport and racing for Redhawk pride. You actually have to pay to be a member of the team.”

The team practices six days a week, with practice in the evenings Monday through Friday and on
Saturday mornings.

For anyone thinking about joining the team, both Conville and treasuere Matthew Sneed have great things to say about their experiences with rowing.

“My favorite part is the friends and the bonds that you make,” said Sneed. “The team is like a second family – they’re some of the closest friends that I’ve made here at school.”

Both Conville and Sneed learned to row in college and Frost said that many collegiate and professional rowers learn in college. In fact, 50% of the Olympic Men’s 8+ didn’t learn to row until college, according to the Seattle U men’s team’s website. According to Frost, none of the men on the novice team this year started with any experience.

“Last year was my first year ever on the men’s rowing team,” Sneed said. “It was my first experience rowing ever. I had done sports since I was little, and coming to college I was looking for something to do, something to compete in and rowing provided the best opportunity for that for me.”

“For me, I had friends in high school who rowed and were recruited,” Conville said. “So when I got to college I decided it would be fun.”

Whether you’re interested in joining or just coming out to watch a regatta or two, make sure you check out the men’s rowing team here at Seattle U.

“It[the team] has really been picking up momentum over the last two years with winning a national championship in the men’s pair event last year,” Sneed said. “And you get the feeling that we can be a larger presence on this campus and that people know who we are now as a club and that it’s a fun experience to be a part of.”

Alaina Bever

Alaina Bever is a sophomore mechanical engineering major interested in bioengineering. This is her second quarter as a staff writer for The Spectator. In her free time, Alaina enjoys running, baking and writing.


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  • Sam Nelsen

    Nicely written! Good to see some coverage of the team.

    Slight clarification: the team not only competes with other clubs teams, but with all DI, DII, and DIII programs on the West Coast, except for a very small handful (namely, UW and Cal). At the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship Regatta last year, in Sacremento, Dan and Chris won against varsity and club crews (as well as gold the year before).

    Before Nationals last year, the team also competed at the largest intercollegiate rowing regatta in the US, the Dad Vail Regatta, in Philly, placing 4th against varsity and club crews.

    As the article mentioned, they went on to win against the fasted collegiate club crews in the country on Lake Lanier, Ga, home of the 1996 Summer Olympic course.

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