Novice Parent Information

Welcome Freshman and Novice Parents to OLMA Crew !

Suggestions and Advice from Varsity Parents:

  • Crew tends to run late. CST stands for Crew Standard Time and it is not in sync with EST.
  • Your daughters will be getting wet so they should wear layers, and have lots of spare clothes, especially socks. (Keeping a towel in your car for seat protection is a good idea.)
  • The girls will go through many pairs of flip-flops. They float away, get embedded in the mud, or wind up in another girl's crew bag. Go to Old Navy and buy a half dozen pairs.
  • Label all clothing items. The girls have the same bags. They sometimes stuff their clothes in the wrong bag and occasionally even take the wrong bag home.
  • Be on time. (We use EST for this). If your daughter cannot make practice or a regatta, the coaches need to be notified ASAP. There is a lot involved with making boat line-ups (i.e., experience, body weight/size, row port/starboard) and one missing rower may prevent a boat from going out, which can affect many other rowers.


  • We travel to regattas as families. Travel arrangements are up to the individual families and our Hotel Reservation Committee will try to reserve a block of rooms for all crew girls and their parents. A girl may travel and stay with another family, but CANNOT stay in a room by herself.
  • Regatta venues vary from location to location. Familiarize yourself with the location by going to the regatta website. Links are on our website homepage in the Regatta Schedule. Typically, the girls need to be there early, especially coxswains, regardless of when the race is scheduled. They meet at the boat trailer, not the tent. Some venues require offsite parking, then you need to take a shuttle to the water. We generally drop the girls so they can find the boat trailer, then the parents go find the tent. We never know where our tents will be set up. Most sites are first come, first served. A couple of venues have reserved spots, but even those we will not know about until we get there and find them. The key here is to be early. Sometimes you can even park close if you get there early enough. To avoid lugging what you are bringing, get there early, find where the tent is being set up, drop your stuff and then go park.
  • The Food Tent is parent run. The food tent is very important since regattas are typically an all day event. It is a place for the girls and their families and guest to get food, drinks and shelter from the elements, as well as a place for socializing. To be successful, it requires full participation. Beginning Autumn 2015 parents will be asked to contribute a fixed fee per rower for food, snacks, and drinks during scheduled regattas.  The OLMA Crew Tent has a food trailer ("chuck wagon" in crew parlance), which is equipped with crew tents, a grill, tables, and general cooking supplies. The Crew Tent is operated by all the parents with the organization of a crew tent committee.  Assistance setting up and breaking down the crew tent as well as packing and unpacking the chuck wagon is vital to our continued success.
  • Suggested items to bring are: chairs, binoculars, blanket, raingear, boots. Prepare for all weather conditions. Don't worry--- the "fashion police" are not welcome at regattas. NOTE: Rain will NOT stop the races unless there is lightening, high winds or floating debris in the river.
  • The girls usually load the boat trailer the day before the travel day. After the regatta and before departure from the regatta, the coaches will inform us the time to be at the boathouse for the girls to unload the boats. It is usually that night. All members of the team are required to participate. Parents are NOT to carry any equipment unless asked specifically by a coach.
  • Being an outdoor water-based sport, crew is highly dependent on the weather. While we will row in the rain, we do not row in the event of lightening or winds that create choppy water (white caps). In the event of questionable weather, the coaches make the final determination of whether or not the girls will row. Many factors go into this decision: the girls rowing experience, their previous experience with the venue, the coaches knowledge/experience with the venue, temperture, wind and travel conditions. Each venue responds differently with changes in weather. Weather prior to the event also impacts a venue. A lake's water level may rise not creating much of an issue but the same weather may cause a river to flow faster, having currents that may be dangerous or even carrying debris, that can severely damage the boats and/or injure the girls. While other teams may continue to row, safety is our chief concern.

Crew Terminology:

Your daughters will start using words or terms that may not be familiar to you. The following is an overview:

  • A boat is also referred to as a shell.
  • There are 2 types of boats: Sweep and Sculling. In Sweep boats, each rower has one oar and in Sculling they have two. OLMA boats are Sweep.
  • We have 8-boats and 4-boats. An 8-boat has 8 rowers plus a coxswain, a 4-boat has 4 plus a coxswain.
  • The Coxswain is the one responsible for steering and race course strategy. The coxswain either sits in the stern or lies in the bow of the boat. They are the "Captain" of the boat. Also known as the Cox.
  • Cox Box - Portable voice amplifier; may also optionally incorporate digital readouts displaying stroke rate, boat speed and times.
  • Blade - The spoon or hatchet shaped end of the oar. Also used to refer to the entire oar. Each boat's blades have a unique design that identifies the team or club.
  • Stroke is the rower closest to the stern of the boat, responsible for the stroke rate and rhythm.
  • Seat number - A rower's position in the boat counting up from the bow. In an eight, the person closest to the bow of the boat is "bow," the next is 2, followed by 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and finally 8 or "stroke."
  • Lightweight - A rower whose weight is 130 pounds or less. Lightweight rowers are required to weigh-in before race events.
  • Port - A sweep rower who rows with the oar on the port or left side of the boat.
  • Starboard - A sweep rower who rows with the oar on the starboard or right side of the boat.
  • A glossary of more rowing terms is attached below.
As a novice parent, you will have many questions. The varsity parents have all gone through the "novice stage" and will be happy to answer any questions.
E Hughes,
Aug 30, 2015, 5:06 PM