The Value of Rowing Crew


Crew is a sport unlike any other; you endure physical tests that push you beyond your limits while forming long-lasting relationships with team members. In this way, crew is the true meaning of a team.  With up to eight rowers in each boat, each pulling complementary oars, the effort of each person is vital to the boat’s success. But teamwork is primary, and not just on the water.

From carrying the 200 pound boat to and from the water, getting it prepared for the race, and making sure everyone is ready to enter the open water, teammates bond in a special way. There are two main seasons for crew, fall and spring.  The difference between the two seasons is similar to cross country versus track. The fall season is long distance rowing and the spring season involves short “sprints.”

Miss Schirippa ’10

Some of our faculty are experienced rowers as well. Miss Schirripa ‘10, a Holy Cross Graduate and a Montrose alumnae, rowed crew both in high school and college.  Miss Schirripa started rowing her sophomore year in high school for Community Rowing Inc. (CRI). She continued rowing through her years at Montrose and college at Holy Cross, where she also became team captain.

Miss Schirripa said that rowing strengthened her work ethic, goal setting and teamwork abilities: “Through rowing I was able to learn how to set strong goals and then make plans to achieve those goals. Rowing demands a high level of hard work and commitment. Through goal setting I learned how to never give up and to work hard in order to achieve those goals.”  While participating in crew, Miss Schirripa had to learn how to use the various talents and skills of her teammates for the good of the team.  Miss Schirripa would love to start a crew team at Montrose not only because of her love for crew, but also because she thinks that it would be a great sport for Montrosians.

Miss Fisher

Ms. Fisher also participated in crew throughout high school, and was the captain of her team senior year.  While crew is traditionally a two season sport, Ms. Fisher participated in crew all year round. Rowing in the fall and spring, she trained in the winter and worked out throughout the summer.  Ms. Fisher said that crew strengthened her tenacity and perseverance. “A crew race is one of the most physically exhausting and painful experiences that I have ever endured in my life. The rower has to leave everything out on the water. The last 500 meters require the rowers to stroke at the highest speeds with the hardest pressure, and the very last few hundred meters of the race require the entire boat to sprint. Even if I was tired during a race, I never failed to pull out some stored energy for the sprint because the pressure was intense.”  Ms. Fisher added that crew has instilled in her several virtues.  Crew taught her humility and patience when she or others made a mistake that slowed the boat’s progress. Ms. Fisher also referenced the importance of teamwork. In crew, you have to always give your best effort, not only for your own personal gain but also for your team. Although there are many challenges that come with starting a crew team, Ms. Fisher would also be very enthusiastic if Montrose athletics could expand to include crew.

Crew and Montrose Athletics

Athletic Director, Coach Blackburn shared enthusiasm for the continued growth of the athletic program and the idea of offering a crew team to Montrosians.  She also has first-hand experience, attending a crew regatta for two former seniors who rowed for CRI. Two of our very own Montrose Alums, who were three-sport athletes in high school, picked up crew in college. Coach Blackburn said, “I do, I think Montrosians would be interested, first in doing a learn-to-row program, then in a team.”

Despite the obstacles that would come with starting a crew team, the support from faculty and students would be the driving force that could make a Montrose crew team possible. As Miss Schirripa stated, “Crew is a unique sport that teaches you practical and important life lessons. The skills you learn in rowing, hard work, teamwork, goal setting, are skills that you will use beyond rowing. Rowing is a great sport because really anyone can do it. With hard work and dedication, anyone can succeed at the sport. Those looking to join a sport where teamwork is crucial and there is no one ‘star’ should join rowing. Crew is a place where everyone comes together to use their talents for the good of the team.”

I had the opportunity to row for Wayland-Weston Crew fall 2013.  Rowing crew was one of the most rewarding decisions I have ever made.  The team comradery paired with the intensity was incredible.  I was able to make great friendships, and I hope someday to share this experience with other Montrosians.