Recruitment FAQ2021-07-27T11:32:43-07:00
I have another program/club in mind, should I try both?2021-06-27T12:35:44-07:00

Absolutely! Most members of the team are involved in school programs beyond rowing and class, whether that is through career-based organizations, hobby clubs, or even other sports, our team finds themselves capable of pursuing their passions while also becoming high-level collegiate athletes.

Will joining rowing interfere with my academics?2021-06-27T12:35:51-07:00

Becoming a UCI rowing team member is more likely to help your grades than anything else. Not only does the program help create structure, which many new college students fail to find in their independent lives, the team provides access to knowledge on most, if not all majors at UCI through teammates. Our team holds a GPA higher than the average undergrad, and the team’s alumni network can also help find jobs and internships beyond UCI.

I don’t think I’m cut out for Rowing…2021-06-27T12:35:59-07:00

The head coach, Austin Brooks, was told that by several people before he proved them all wrong winning nationwide championships. What makes a rower is not genetics but the right mentality.

Does the team travel?2021-06-27T12:36:25-07:00

Yes, the team does travel as part of competing. Although many regattas will take place at home in Newport Bay, other races will take place away. Most traveling is within driving distance in California, such as Mission Bay in San Diego and Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles. The regional championships take place at Lake Natoma in Sacramento every April, which the team will take travel vans to. The national championships are at Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia in May, which the team will travel to by plane. Select team members have also competed at the Henley Royal Regatta nearby London, England, and the team is looking to send more boats in in the future.

How long are races, and when is the racing season?2021-06-27T12:36:38-07:00

During the fall, there will be a few longer distance (5-6 kilometer) races that the team will attend. These are generally head races, where each boat will start along the same course, but spaced apart by a matter of seconds or minutes. These races are generally used to get a feel of racing on the water, and to test endurance in preparation for the main spring racing season. The spring season consists primarily of races over a 2,000 meter race course, starting around February. From there, the team will race every 1 or 2 weeks up until the national championships in May. A small number of select rowers may continue to race and compete until July. These 2 km races take place in an entirely straight race channel, each boat with its own lane, racing side by side.

Do you row in all weather conditions?2021-06-27T12:36:47-07:00

Yes, we row rain or shine. Races will go on regardless of the weather, so we don’t mind practicing in bad conditions either. The only scenario that we don’t row is if it endangers our athletes. Such conditions might be lightning, or thick fog that obscures visibility.

Can boats flip?2021-06-27T12:36:54-07:00

Yes, it isn’t unheard of for boats to flip. Eights and fours are large enough that it’s virtually impossible to flip them, but if you were really trying to, it can happen. Singles and pairs on the other hand, are much easier to turn over. As a precaution, only experienced rowers that know what they’re doing will take out singles and pairs. In order to be on our team, you must be a competent swimmer. As a first year rower, you will be taught the proper techniques to make flipping less likely, so by the time you do row in a small boat, you will be able to do so safely. In the event that a boat does flip, the coaching staff will be able to pick up any dunked rowers on their launch, and turn the boat right side up. See what happens if you don’t tighten your oarlock here.

What time are the practices?2021-06-27T12:37:02-07:00

Depending on the time of the year, our practices times may vary. All of our athletes practice and train a minimum of 15 hours a week. To account for class schedules, normal practice times are from 5:30am to 7:30am, with later practices on weekends and some additional workouts in the evenings.

Note: Due to online classes in response to COVID-19, practice times will likely be later in the morning and much more flexible, since most students have online lectures that can be watched at their convenience.

Can parents, friends or family members watch regattas?2021-06-27T12:37:08-07:00

Yes, we encourage anyone interested to come check out a race! We love having UCI supporters travel with the team, and come to our home races. Depending on the event, locations and availability can change, so look out for spectator information on our race schedule page, or on the event website. Also be sure to follow us on social media for more information. 

What are practices like?2021-06-27T12:37:15-07:00

Practices will often consist of a warm-up, possibly with box jumps, then rowing on the water (or erging), followed by a cool down or core work. Practices will generally be 2 hours, but can range from a quick 40 minute erg between classes, to a 3 hour endurance row over the weekend. During spring break, the team will often have double days that might include dodgeball, volleyball, or other activities in addition rowing. Depending on the day, boats and lineups will change around, at least until late in the season when final lineups will be determined.

What is an erg?2021-06-27T12:37:22-07:00

An ergometer, or erg for short, is a machine that rowers use to simulate rowing without an actual boat. This gives athletes the ability to train on land, and helps improve endurance and hone skills that can later be transferred to the boat. Ergs are often used as a fitness measurement to see how strong or fast an individual is, isolating their performance and displaying metrics in a way that isn’t possible in a shell on the water.

Are there different positions in rowing? Are there different boats?2021-06-27T12:37:31-07:00

Yes and yes. Most races that we compete in use what is called sweep rowing. In sweep rowing, each rower has one oar. Therefore there are port and starboard sweep rowers, depending on which side of the boat the oar is on. There is also sculling, which consists of each rower using two oars, one on each side. Additionally most larger boats have a coxswain, or cox for short, which is not a rower. The coxswain steers the boat, gives calls to provide uniformity, technique and motivation, and will work with coaches to help run practices. Regardless of men’s or women’s boats, coxswains can be either male or female.

The primary focus of our team is Olympic, or flatwater rowing. This is rowing in relatively calm and protected waters, such as bays, harbors, or lakes. There is another variant referred to as coastal rowing, which is instead in the rougher waters of the ocean. Coastal rowing shells are built wider than typical rowing shells in order to be more stable for use in the ocean.

As far as boats, we row these:

Single: one rower, sculling. Can be coastal.

Double: two rowers, sculling. Can be coastal. Some coastal races may also include a mixed gender category for doubles.

Pair: two rowers, sweeping.

Quad: possibly a cox, four rowers, sculling. Can be coastal.

Four: cox, four rowers, sweeping. Can be coastal.

Eight: cox, eight rowers, sweeping.

Due to their size, eights are the heaviest, most stable, and fastest racing shells. They are often seen as the primary event.

What if I don’t know how to row?2021-06-27T12:37:38-07:00

Absolutely no experience is required, the team has trained Olympians from college freshman with no previous rowing experience. Fall quarter week zero will include a few short informational sessions, as well as some on-water practices where new members are placed alongside varsity members to learn the basics. As time goes on, practices will progress towards the standard morning times, and novice boats will be formed to prepare for races later in the year.

What is Rowing?2021-06-27T12:37:45-07:00

Rowing is an endurance sport in which boats of 1, 2, 4 or 8 rowers compete in timed races, generally 2 to 5 kilometers in length along a stretch of water. Rowing is what’s called a repetition sport, where athletes use oars to repeatedly take strokes and propel the boat down the course. In order to move a boat efficiently, each stroke must be performed by all rowers in a boat in unison, on both sides of the shell. As a crew becomes more skilled, they are able to take strokes at a faster rate, with more power, and with improved technique. Power, endurance, balance and synchrony are key factors that come into play during a race.

I want to prepare, what should I do?2021-06-27T12:36:18-07:00

While there will be plenty of opportunity to get fit once you’ve arrived, there are also ways to get ahead. The exercise staple of rowers is the “ergometer”, or erg for short. You can find one at many gyms, fitness studios, etc. These are used to train power off of the water so that technique can be the focus while in the boat. Lifting weights, running, or cycling also translate well into the aerobic fitness and strength used for the sport.

Where do I start?2021-06-27T12:36:11-07:00

To let us know about interest in the team, fill out our Recruitment Form! Once filled out, we will get in contact with you. Flyers with more information will also be posted around campus during the first few weeks of classes. If you have any additional questions about the team or rowing in general, you can contact the men’s President, Tyler Williams at tdwilli1@uci.edu, or the women’s President, Dahlia Ordaz at dordaz@uci.edu.

Any additional questions?

Contact AJ Brooks, UCI Crew Head Coach at austin.brooks@ucirowing.org

Frequently Asked Questions

Any lasting words of advice for the 2021 Crews?2021-06-27T13:09:31-07:00

Get outside as much as possible doing hikes, runs, rides and whatever you can to stay in shape and protect yourself from the coronavirus. Rowing and social life will resume in good time. Friendships and bonds with crew-mates will endure the pandemic isolation and last a lifetime. Savor every moment!

Do you stay in touch with any of your teammates? Do you ever get together?2021-06-27T13:08:55-07:00

I keep in touch regularly with several of my UCI crewmates. Dan Angress was my “Best Man”, and I was “Best Man” at weddings for Karl Schnakenburg and Jay Collins. Over the past decades, I’ve also kept in touch with Dave Lebel, Bill Imhof, Mark Oemcke, Mark Bradburne, Peter Johnson, Jeff Brown, Christer Fiegekollman, Paul Marron, Val Valenti, Mark Orme, Didi Yeh, Mike Gilb, George Basile, Kim Reynolds, Stan Townsend, Bruce Ibbetson, coach Mike Sullivan, and a few others.

The 50th reunion of The Newport Regatta and UCI Crew in 2015 was an especially fun weekend. Conversations with old friends from my UCI rowing days picked up right where they left off, decades earlier. Our friendships and laughter hadn’t lost anything as we recalled old stories about crazy pranks and fun times we shared so long ago. The “Old Guys” match race was a blast too.

In 2019, Dave Lebel and I arranged for a group of us to attend ACRA on Lake Lanier in Gainesville, GA where Dave lives. We had so much fun, that we’re already planning for ACRA 2021 in Oakridge, TN.

I’d go anywhere with my UCI crewmates and do just about anything for them. They’re the greatest friends I’ve ever had and I’ll always be thankful and proud that I had the opportunity to row with them on The UCI Crew.

Do you have a favorite race or memory of racing?2021-06-27T13:08:24-07:00

Racing at the collegiate level was like taking a very hard final exam except that your results are instantly known by all, the moment you finish. The preparation was hard work and the pre-race buildup, intense and stressful. The finish couldn’t come fast enough and the physical pain to get there was harder than anything I could have imagined. That all went away the moment the bow crossed the finish line and the cox yelled “paddle”! If we were lucky enough to win, the overwhelming elation was indescribable. I’ve never experienced anything like it in anything I’ve ever done. Too bad we didn’t win more. But then, how could anyone ever get too many wins?!

Unfortunately, I remember my first 2KM race more than any other. I was in the novice 8 rowing against UCLA on Bologna Creek. To reach the 1KM mark seemed like hours. Unfortunately, my crewmate, in the 4-seat,  jumped the slide around the 300M mark and wasn’t able to recover. To make matters worse he was by far the heaviest dude in the boat. So, our 8 became a 7 and we had to dig painflly deep to pull his 220 lb dead weight for an eternity to reach the finish line. That was the longest, but NOT the most forgettable race of my rowing days.

My favorite race was the 1979 dual meet UCI vs. Long Beach. I moved from Novice 8 to JV8 as the racing season began my first year. We ended up winning our race in Marine Stadium of Long Beach. We led from start to finish but the Varsity 8 lost. Of course, we didn’t let that put a damper on our big win! We were on cloud 9, celebrating while our varsity teammates quietly discounted our, comparably, tiny JV win. We were later advised that we showed too much enjoyment in spite of the V8 loss. Of course, the V8 had the last laugh that year when they avenged that loss and came from behind to beat Long Beach at the Western Sprints on a cold, windy Lexington Res. in Los Gatos. The JV8 took third. But, we were all so stoked and proud of our V8 crewmates that we all feasted that night at Charlie’s Chili and had a blast!

At the end of the ’79 season, Bob Newman took the UCI V8 to England to race at Henley. He then left UCI to coach at our rival, UCLA. Mike “Sully” Sullivan took over as head coach and I moved into the V8 boat. Sully, arranged for the JV8 and V8 boats to travel and compete in the “Opening Day Regatta” in Seattle, WA. It was a ton of fun, even if we didn’t win the race. Sully arranged for us to get a personal tour by Stan Pocock of his boat building workshop. As a young engineer, it was a fascinating experience!

Who were your coaches? & any specific memories of your first day of practice?2021-06-27T13:07:37-07:00

I will always be thankful that I was approached by UCI Crew coach, Bob Newman, while registering for my first semester of classes in the fall of 1978 as a transfer student. Bob convinced me that rowing would be great for me, and that I could be great at rowing. Although, I’m pretty certain my 6′ 4″ height had a lot to do with that. Bob was a larger than life man by all accounts and a very convincing, if not intimidating, recruiter for his own cause as coach. He explained that as a novice, I would start trial workouts with the freshman in afternoon sessions just a few days a week. If I liked it, I could continue in the winter and spring quarters as a full-time member of the team. Like there was no pressure to continue and I could quit anytime….yeah, right!

After my first workout in the Pocock eight, I was hooked and found an instant connection with my future crewmates in the boat. How could I ever quit, or much less, miss a workout and let them down? What would they say?

I don’t think I’m cut out for Rowing…2021-06-27T12:35:59-07:00

The head coach, Austin Brooks, was told that by several people before he proved them all wrong winning nationwide championships. What makes a rower is not genetics but the right mentality.

Any lasting words of advice for the 2021 Crews?2021-06-27T12:44:33-07:00

I always felt that rowing well was its own reward.  Yes, it feels great to win and go home with the competing team’s shirts.  But the best is, after hundreds and hundreds of hours of practice, to feel the boat lift up and plane on top of the water and the sound of air bubbles under the boat.  That is truly what it is all about.

How has rowing affected you in your later life?2021-06-27T12:44:04-07:00

I have tried to bring focus, intensity and commitment to all that I do: in my career and to be a successful spouse and parent. Sorry academia but rowing is hands down my best experience at Irvine.

Do you have a favorite regatta?2021-06-27T12:43:38-07:00

It was Duvall Hecht’s birthday and we were in Marina del Rey and all three of his boats became victorious over Stanford his alma mater and came up to us on the dock and said “boys no better birthday present”

What did being UCI first captain of the crew mean to you? Any specific moments of leadership you can highlight on?2021-06-27T12:43:03-07:00

I was so proud of being Coach Hecht’s first UCI team captain.  There were several bigger, stronger guys (Paul Ryan and Don Burns to name a couple) on our team.  I’m not quite sure how the voting worked, but I got the feeling that there were competing first choices which cancelled each other out and I was fortunate enough to be enough people’s second choice to be elected team captain.

Coach Hecht provided the leadership focus for all of us: there were no individual stars.  We were a team of 8 oarsmen and a coxwain.  We each needed to carry our load by not only rowing well, but rowing together.  Coach Hecht developed each boat like a finely tuned 8-cylinder race car.  Each practice, he would move the coach’s launch alongside each position and calmly, but firmly address each of our rowing techniques: “Reach a little farther.  Get your whole body into your stroke.  Work on getting that oar in and out of the water without a ripple.  That’s it, now keep it up.” And on he would move up the boat to the next position.  No yelling.  No screaming.  Just focus, intensity and commitment.

What was it like to be a part of the team in 1965?2021-06-27T12:41:24-07:00

Everything was new and exciting: new school, new crew team and coach, new boathouse and equipment and, for all of us, a brand new sport.  You didn’t have to worry about competing for a position on the boat against guys who might have 4-5 years rowing experience, because none of us had any!

Who were your coaches? & any specific memories of your first day of practice?2021-06-27T12:42:36-07:00

Duvall Y. Hecht (How can you NOT row for a coach with a name like that!)
1965 was the first year for the UCI crew.  We were all green and Coach Hecht didn’t want any of us putting our foot through a George Pocock shell the first week (or ANY week), so… enter the UCI rowing barge, on which we rowed for the first several weeks.  Coach Hecht figured out on which side of the boat (port or starboard) we rowed best and we learned how to get our oar in and out of the water without ‘catching a crab’.

I have another program/club in mind, should I try both?2021-06-27T12:35:44-07:00

Absolutely! Most members of the team are involved in school programs beyond rowing and class, whether that is through career-based organizations, hobby clubs, or even other sports, our team finds themselves capable of pursuing their passions while also becoming high-level collegiate athletes.

Will joining rowing interfere with my academics?2021-06-27T12:35:51-07:00

Becoming a UCI rowing team member is more likely to help your grades than anything else. Not only does the program help create structure, which many new college students fail to find in their independent lives, the team provides access to knowledge on most, if not all majors at UCI through teammates. Our team holds a GPA higher than the average undergrad, and the team’s alumni network can also help find jobs and internships beyond UCI.

What is Rowing?2021-06-27T12:37:45-07:00

Rowing is an endurance sport in which boats of 1, 2, 4 or 8 rowers compete in timed races, generally 2 to 5 kilometers in length along a stretch of water. Rowing is what’s called a repetition sport, where athletes use oars to repeatedly take strokes and propel the boat down the course. In order to move a boat efficiently, each stroke must be performed by all rowers in a boat in unison, on both sides of the shell. As a crew becomes more skilled, they are able to take strokes at a faster rate, with more power, and with improved technique. Power, endurance, balance and synchrony are key factors that come into play during a race.

Does the team travel?2021-06-27T12:36:25-07:00

Yes, the team does travel as part of competing. Although many regattas will take place at home in Newport Bay, other races will take place away. Most traveling is within driving distance in California, such as Mission Bay in San Diego and Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles. The regional championships take place at Lake Natoma in Sacramento every April, which the team will take travel vans to. The national championships are at Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia in May, which the team will travel to by plane. Select team members have also competed at the Henley Royal Regatta nearby London, England, and the team is looking to send more boats in in the future.

How long are races, and when is the racing season?2021-06-27T12:36:38-07:00

During the fall, there will be a few longer distance (5-6 kilometer) races that the team will attend. These are generally head races, where each boat will start along the same course, but spaced apart by a matter of seconds or minutes. These races are generally used to get a feel of racing on the water, and to test endurance in preparation for the main spring racing season. The spring season consists primarily of races over a 2,000 meter race course, starting around February. From there, the team will race every 1 or 2 weeks up until the national championships in May. A small number of select rowers may continue to race and compete until July. These 2 km races take place in an entirely straight race channel, each boat with its own lane, racing side by side.

Do you row in all weather conditions?2021-06-27T12:36:47-07:00

Yes, we row rain or shine. Races will go on regardless of the weather, so we don’t mind practicing in bad conditions either. The only scenario that we don’t row is if it endangers our athletes. Such conditions might be lightning, or thick fog that obscures visibility.

Can boats flip?2021-06-27T12:36:54-07:00

Yes, it isn’t unheard of for boats to flip. Eights and fours are large enough that it’s virtually impossible to flip them, but if you were really trying to, it can happen. Singles and pairs on the other hand, are much easier to turn over. As a precaution, only experienced rowers that know what they’re doing will take out singles and pairs. In order to be on our team, you must be a competent swimmer. As a first year rower, you will be taught the proper techniques to make flipping less likely, so by the time you do row in a small boat, you will be able to do so safely. In the event that a boat does flip, the coaching staff will be able to pick up any dunked rowers on their launch, and turn the boat right side up. See what happens if you don’t tighten your oarlock here.

What time are the practices?2021-06-27T12:37:02-07:00

Depending on the time of the year, our practices times may vary. All of our athletes practice and train a minimum of 15 hours a week. To account for class schedules, normal practice times are from 5:30am to 7:30am, with later practices on weekends and some additional workouts in the evenings.

Note: Due to online classes in response to COVID-19, practice times will likely be later in the morning and much more flexible, since most students have online lectures that can be watched at their convenience.

Can parents, friends or family members watch regattas?2021-06-27T12:37:08-07:00

Yes, we encourage anyone interested to come check out a race! We love having UCI supporters travel with the team, and come to our home races. Depending on the event, locations and availability can change, so look out for spectator information on our race schedule page, or on the event website. Also be sure to follow us on social media for more information. 

What are practices like?2021-06-27T12:37:15-07:00

Practices will often consist of a warm-up, possibly with box jumps, then rowing on the water (or erging), followed by a cool down or core work. Practices will generally be 2 hours, but can range from a quick 40 minute erg between classes, to a 3 hour endurance row over the weekend. During spring break, the team will often have double days that might include dodgeball, volleyball, or other activities in addition rowing. Depending on the day, boats and lineups will change around, at least until late in the season when final lineups will be determined.

What is an erg?2021-06-27T12:37:22-07:00

An ergometer, or erg for short, is a machine that rowers use to simulate rowing without an actual boat. This gives athletes the ability to train on land, and helps improve endurance and hone skills that can later be transferred to the boat. Ergs are often used as a fitness measurement to see how strong or fast an individual is, isolating their performance and displaying metrics in a way that isn’t possible in a shell on the water.

Are there different positions in rowing? Are there different boats?2021-06-27T12:37:31-07:00

Yes and yes. Most races that we compete in use what is called sweep rowing. In sweep rowing, each rower has one oar. Therefore there are port and starboard sweep rowers, depending on which side of the boat the oar is on. There is also sculling, which consists of each rower using two oars, one on each side. Additionally most larger boats have a coxswain, or cox for short, which is not a rower. The coxswain steers the boat, gives calls to provide uniformity, technique and motivation, and will work with coaches to help run practices. Regardless of men’s or women’s boats, coxswains can be either male or female.

The primary focus of our team is Olympic, or flatwater rowing. This is rowing in relatively calm and protected waters, such as bays, harbors, or lakes. There is another variant referred to as coastal rowing, which is instead in the rougher waters of the ocean. Coastal rowing shells are built wider than typical rowing shells in order to be more stable for use in the ocean.

As far as boats, we row these:

Single: one rower, sculling. Can be coastal.

Double: two rowers, sculling. Can be coastal. Some coastal races may also include a mixed gender category for doubles.

Pair: two rowers, sweeping.

Quad: possibly a cox, four rowers, sculling. Can be coastal.

Four: cox, four rowers, sweeping. Can be coastal.

Eight: cox, eight rowers, sweeping.

Due to their size, eights are the heaviest, most stable, and fastest racing shells. They are often seen as the primary event.

What if I don’t know how to row?2021-06-27T12:37:38-07:00

Absolutely no experience is required, the team has trained Olympians from college freshman with no previous rowing experience. Fall quarter week zero will include a few short informational sessions, as well as some on-water practices where new members are placed alongside varsity members to learn the basics. As time goes on, practices will progress towards the standard morning times, and novice boats will be formed to prepare for races later in the year.

I want to prepare, what should I do?2021-06-27T12:36:18-07:00

While there will be plenty of opportunity to get fit once you’ve arrived, there are also ways to get ahead. The exercise staple of rowers is the “ergometer”, or erg for short. You can find one at many gyms, fitness studios, etc. These are used to train power off of the water so that technique can be the focus while in the boat. Lifting weights, running, or cycling also translate well into the aerobic fitness and strength used for the sport.

Where do I start?2021-06-27T12:36:11-07:00

To let us know about interest in the team, fill out our Recruitment Form! Once filled out, we will get in contact with you. Flyers with more information will also be posted around campus during the first few weeks of classes. If you have any additional questions about the team or rowing in general, you can contact the men’s President, Tyler Williams at tdwilli1@uci.edu, or the women’s President, Dahlia Ordaz at dordaz@uci.edu.

Any additional Questions?

Contact AJ Brooks, UCI Crew Head Coach at austin.brooks@ucirowing.org