First, your rower's coach will tell them the approximate time they are expected to race. Times can move around depending on weather, logistics at the regatta, and other factors outside the coaches’ control – so be prepared to be flexible.
Second, most regattas have schedules and results available on websites like RegattaCentral or HereNow where you can access the schedule, and sometimes live results.
Before a race, there is a lot to do, and we need every rower present to do their fair share. The athletes need to unload the boats, attach the riggers (the part that sticks out from the side of the boat and contains the oar locks), then check over the boats and make sure everything is ready to go.
Before racing occurs the athletes often have time to practice on the course, get final instructions from the coach, and get into a racing frame of mind.
As the end of a regatta approaches, the athletes need to assist in removing the riggers, loading the boats and oars, and making sure we leave our area cleaner than when we arrived.
The only time athletes should arrive late or leave early is when there is an unavoidable conflict, the coaches have been made aware of this (well in advance), and the coaches approved this deviation. This option should rarely be used, if ever.
For away regattas, most people come with their rowers and spend the entire day. The coaches will tell them what time to arrive. if you are coming separately to an away regatta, you will want to get there at least 30 minutes before your rower's scheduled start time. At some venues, parking can be difficult, and it may be quite a walk. You can always come earlier and cheer on the rest of the TRC team!
Regattas take a long time and you will most likely be there all day. Keep in mind that while a race is anywhere from 6 to 20 minutes, you will only see about 1 minute of the race in front of you! In cooler months, bring more layers than you think you need – you will be sitting there for a long time and it is easy to get cold. Check the weather and bring rain gear, if needed. Bring whatever food and drink you would like to enjoy or money to purchase meals on-site (when available). Most people bring folding chairs, binoculars, and cameras. Some bring pop-up shelters to stay out of the sun (or rain). You may want to bring something to do (books, newspaper, work, etc.) since it can be a long time between races that include TRC boats. Some people bring bicycles to enjoy the venue and to follow along the race route. Don’t forget to wear your TRC team gear!
Yes, but it is highly unusual. Generally, a regatta will proceed unless and until the officials determine that it is unsafe. Sometimes a decision will be made that it is not safe for middle school or novice rowers, but is okay for more experienced rowers. We have all been at regattas in the rain and the cold – so remember, bring clothes appropriate to the weather and bring more layers than you think you will need.
First, not all teams, and not all boats within teams, go to all regattas. Some regattas are for everyone, and some are by selection or qualification only. This is indicated on the schedule. Second, only a certain number of boats will be entered in regattas. The coaches try to put together the strongest boats that they can and may be working on line‐ups until a few days before the race. They will let your rower know as soon as possible.
The first boat (often called V1) is made up of the rowers (and the coxswain) that the coaches believe can, together, row faster than any other potential combination. The second boat (V2) is made up of rowers out of the remaining rowers that can row fastest together. The third boat (V3) is the next fastest group.
Junior varsity is not really a common term in rowing. At the high school level, the novice teams are made up of boys and girls new to rowing. After their first year of rowing, a rower will move up to varsity. Sometimes, people will refer to the second and third varsity boats as JV, but that is not really common.
Erg score is only one of the considerations that coaches use to determine the line‐up in a boat. In order to be good, a rower needs not only strength and stamina but good balance and the ability to move in unison with his or her teammates. Superior strength can make up for some weakness in form and the ability to follow the movements of teammates can make up for some degree of lesser strength. The ability to consider the strengths and weaknesses of
each rower and put together the fastest boat possible is one of the core jobs of the coaches.
Additionally, the coaches are looking for kids that they and the rower's teammates can depend on. A rower who misses practices or slacks off during practice may not get placed as highly as their skill level would otherwise warrant.
In general, no. The rowers and the coaches are busy before the race and the area around the trailer is generally very crowded. Although you stopping by will only take a few seconds, there are lots of other rowers in the boat, and lots more boats in the staging area – a parade of well‐meaning parents are not really helpful. Also, the same applies to congratulating the rowers after a race – the rowers will generally find you as soon as they are through with the post‐race activities.
If you printed out the heat sheet from the regatta website prior to the race, or you have the schedule on your phone, you can check a specific race to see which lane TRC is in. If you don't have that info there is usually a parent around who has it and will be happy to let you know.
Also, every rowing team has its oars painted in a unique way and generally wears a unique team uniform. You can usually see the uniforms and oars from fairly far away, but binoculars definitely help!
This is one of the real challenges in being a rowing spectator. For sprint races you can use the line of buoys (perpendicular to the course) or choose a landmark on the opposite shore to track the order of boats as they pass.
Many parents will position themselves near the finish line because the races are long and the boat that is ahead early or midway through the race may not be leading by the time they get to the finish line.
One parent explained it like this, “If they look like they are not working that hard and you don’t see a lot of extra motion or splashing, they are probably doing well. If it looks like they are working really hard, aren’t moving together and you see a lot of splashing – they are probably having a rough day.”
Probably not, unless your rower is in a single. Rowing is a team sport and the kids learn to take pride in their accomplishments as a team. Generally, there will be bunches of TRC parents, siblings, grandparents, and friends in groups along the shoreline, screaming, “GO TRC,” or “T-R-C". We all cheer for all the rowers, the goal is to be the loudest cheering section at the regatta!