Since Groton’s founding in 1884, rowing has been one of the school’s most important sports. Girls began to row as soon as the school became coed in 1976. This year as in previous decades, the goal of Groton Crew is to teach and hone the skills and joys of rowing through a curriculum of tenacity, self-discipline and sacrifice, competitiveness, dedication-to-team and humility. Achieve these and a winning, if not a championship, season will be assured.
In rowing, Groton competes in the New England Interscholastic Rowing Association (NEIRA) along with over twenty-five other schools, among them Middlesex, St. Marks, Belmont Hill, Brooks, BB&N, Nobles and Greenough, Deerfield, Choate, and Winsor, Greenwich Academy, and Miss Porter’s -- all in 4 person shells with coxswain. Rowing at Groton is a spring sport that begins with preseason practice in mid-March and ends with the NEIRA Championships on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester at the end of May.
This year’s team will be led by co-captains, Ally Dick and Rachel Reed, two talented and competitive oarswomen who last year helped Groton to a second place overall finish at the NEIRA Regatta.
On Wednesday, March 26th, 2014, the 2014 season will begin with a week of preseason training. Two-a-day sessions on the Nashua River and an afternoon trip to Harvard's indoor rowing tanks and stadium will set the pace for a rewarding, eventful and successful season.
Frequently Asked Questions
I’ve heard that Groton is really good in crew.
Over the past fifteen years, Groton has had one of the best crew programs in the country. We are a perennial contender for the New England championships (NEIRA) at Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester. Our crews have competed at the Henley Women’s Regatta in England four times in the past ten years. Our boys program is also very strong; we support each other in practice and at races.
I’ve never rowed before. Is that a problem?
Not at all. Very few people have any experience rowing before they enter boarding school. Rowing here begins with teaching the basics, but very quickly a good, dedicated athlete will be racing. In most years, by the end of the season, some of the best novices will be in the varsity boats.
How do you learn to row?
We begin with some work on the indoor rowing machines (ergometers) to give a basic idea of the stroke. Then we spend about a week rowing in the Barge, a big stable boat that allows you to row without worrying about balance. A few days in an eight, and then you are into our racing boats, fours with coxswain.
What kind of person makes the best rower?
The most important qualities are an ability to push yourself, a sense of rhythm, and aerobic fitness. It is important to realize that rowing is a team sport, and that you must work very closely with four other people in your boat. It is often an advantage to be tall, but many of our most successful rowers have been under 5’8”. If you have enjoyed competitive sports before high school, you will like rowing.
Remember, too, that crew has a unique position for smaller people: the coxswain. A coxswain steers the boat, gives all of the commands on race day, and carries out the racing strategy. It is a great position for a competitive athlete who is not very big.
I’ve heard that it is hard work. Is it fun?
At a high level, rowing is hard work, like all sports. But it is also a great deal of fun. The feeling of being in a fast boat is indescribably wonderful. The teamwork is great. We look forward to getting out on the water all year long.
What kinds of boats do you have?
Like most of the other small schools, Groton rows in fours with coxswain. Fours are very sensitive to balance, and they give you a great way of learning to row very well. We have nine fours and two eights that we use. We are very lucky to have excellent support from our parents and alumni/alumnae. They have allowed us to own the best boats in the world, Empachers and Resolutes. We also have Vespolis and Schoenbrods that the newer rowers use.
Where do you row?
We row on campus. To get to Bingham Boathouse, you take a short walk down a scenic dirt road. The Nashua River is a beautiful and narrow river that is very protected from spring breezes. We have near-perfect rowing conditions every day. Although the Boathouse is very close, many rowers say that “it feels like it is off-campus,” and is an escape from the everyday world of school.
Have any Groton girls continued on to row in college?
Crew offers a great chance to learn a sport that you can continue in your college years. We have had graduates row at most of the major rowing colleges in the country. Alexandra Morss ’09 was captain of the Princeton lightweights and represented the USA at the U23 championships in Austria in a double scull. Julia May ’10 has been a part of three NCAA D3 championships at Williams College. Carmel Zahran ’04 and Amory Minot ’05 both rowed for Trinity College in their varsity eight that won the NCAA division 3 national championships in 2006 and 2008. There are or have been Groton girls rowing at Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Brown, Dartmouth, and the University of Virginia recently.
Give rowing a try! We encourage you to be in touch with the coaches or the captains, Ally Dick and Rachel reed
2013 All varsity boats are again undefeated and each of them finishes 2nd at the NEIRA.
2012 Groton completes a completely undefeated varsity season (top 4 boats) by sweeping the NEIRA championships. The top two boats travel to England to compete in the Henley Women’s Regatta and the Henley Royal Regatta.
2011 Groton wins the School/Junior 8 at the Henley Women’s Regatta.
2010 Faith Richardson ’11 wins a silver medal at the Junior World Championships in Germany in the USA 8..
2009 Faith Richardson ‘11 competes at the Junior World Championships in France in the USA 4-.
2009 Second place in New England. Fourth place at the USRowing Junior Nationals in Cincinnati.
2008 Winners of Reading, England, Regatta Junior 4+.
2006-2007 New England Champions
2002 Winners of Reading, England, Regatta Junior 8 and Senior 8 events.
2002 Anna Sjogren, ‘02 (capt) competes at Junior World Championships in Lithuania in the USA 4-.
1998 New England Champions.
1995 Winners of USRowing’s Junior National Championship, 4’s. New England champions.
1994 Winners of Henley Women’s Regatta high school eight and high school four events.