About Saline Rowing

We have tried to provide you with everything you need to know about Saline’s Rowing Team. You will find answers to frequently asked questions, board members, volunteer opportunities and needs. You can also check here for rower clothing requirements and transportation for both the regattas and practices.


The following information is for general purposes only and subject to change each year.

  1. Winter Conditioning/ Highly encouraged – Typically begins the second week in January. Parents and / or rowers are expected to provide their own transportation.
    • Erging – Location: Liberty School Practices generally run 3 days per week.
    • Weight & Fitness Training – Location: Saline High School Practices generally run 1 to 2 days per week.
  2. Mandatory “In-Season” Practices – Fall Season: Begins just after school begins through early-November. Spring Season: Begins in March and ends in May/June. Rowers will carpool to practices as assigned at the beginning of the season based on parent transportation consent forms.
    • Erging – Location: Liberty School (until weather permits on-the-water practices at Ford Lake). Practices are Mon- Thurs after school and Saturday morning 9am, when there is not a Regatta.
    • Weight & Fitness Training – Location: Saline High School (until weather permits on-the-water practices at Ford Lake). Practices generally run 1 to 2 days per week after school.
    • Rowing – Location: Ford Lake – once weather permits, all weekly practices will be on the water at the lake. Mon- Thurs after school and Saturday morning, 9am, when there is not a Regatta. During inclement weather, practices will be held at Liberty School.
    • Regatta’s

There are generally four to five regatta’s each season. You can read about “How to Enjoy A Regatta” as written by Kathy Cook, Rower alumni parent. You can also link to view the regatta schedule

Rower Clothing

The only required clothing items are the Saline Unisuit by JL Racing and a white cap available at http://hornetcountry.com. The rowers are required to wear the unisuit and white cap at all regattas.

There are numerous other clothing items available.

Ordering information


How to enjoy a Saline Rowing Regatta

Before the Regatta…

Weather: During the season is your friend! It is great as you can check the forecast in advance and get the hour to hour details which will help you in packing the appropriate clothes.

What to pack: Even if the weather channel calls for great weather, the temperature by and on the water can be very different. Be prepared!

For Spectators:

  • Folding chairs
  • Binoculars
  • Sunglasses
  • Layers of clothes
  • Reading material
  • Camera

For the Rowers:

  • Sleeping Bags (one per rower)
  • Boots – many sites get very muddy!!
  • A towel
  • Plastic Bags for wet clothes
  • Extra food (even though the team stocks up and there is plenty, if your rower likes a certain sports drink or energy bar you will want to bring it).
  • Water Bottles
  • Hats/Gloves in the Fall/early spring
  • Extra clothes including a pair of dry socks for each race, clothes to change into afterwards. Some like to wear wool socks.
  • Hat to keep the sun off in the Spring/early Fall
  • Long/Short sleeve shirt to fit under tank or uni
  • Sweat Pants

Sometimes packing all of the “stuff” in a laundry basket keeps things portable and compact.

Snacks for traveling home – your rower is usually starving at the end!

Be sure that your rower’s clothing is labeled. Remember, everyone has the same team sweatshirt and many items get left behind.

Print off heat sheets before you go! For most races these can be found on www.regattacentral.com click on the event and then on the tab on the left labeled “heat sheet” a few days before the regatta. Highlight your team’s/rower’s races. Some regattas will sell them for \$2 or \$3 at the site, but they go fast.

Be sure to print off directions and important phone numbers like the other drivers prior to leaving!

The night before the regatta

Set at least two alarms!! If you stay in a hotel, ask for a wake up call, but also set at least one back up!!! I have had the experience where we asked for a wake up call, and they forgot. If we hadn’t set an extra alarm we would have been late (does not make for happy rowers or coaches)!

Arriving at the regatta

Plan to arrive early! This will help you get a good parking spot and your rower has alot to do before the first race of the day, even if they don’t race until noon!

It is best to just let your rower go once you are parked and let them find their teammates. Again they have a lot to do.

Once you do arrive, you may not see or talk to your rower much that day. This is OK!! They are under the watchful eyes of the coaches and captains. Again, they have many responsibilities, besides racing, including rigging/derigging, dock support and cheering on their team. If they are busy, that means they are being a good teammate!

Plan to stay ALL DAY!!! Racing usually starts at 8:00am and doesn’t end until around 5pm. This is dependent on many factors, including number of teams, races, heats, and weather. Regattas rarely run right on time. ALL team members are required to stay for the ENTIRE regatta, and are not dismissed until the Coaches have dismissed the whole team!

If you think that you have a conflict and your rower may have to leave early, please let the coaches know at least a week in advance. Entries for most regattas have to be in a week before the race, and changes are not usually permitted. A rower leaving early or not attending could mean that 4 or 8 other rowers may not race!!

The tent

The team has several tents. The big yellow tent is generally reserved for the rowers. Little siblings are usually welcomed as well. This is where they put their gear, sit and relax and be a team.

There are food tents manned by parent volunteers. All members of the team, including family members are welcome to eat. There is usually a wonderful assortment of breakfast, lunch and snack items available, as well as Gatorade, water and hot chocolate.

Parents usually hang out here and then get closer to the water to watch their rower. This is a great place to meet new friends!

Watching the regatta

During the Fall season: These are called “Head Races.” Races are longer (similar to Cross Country), usually 2.5 to 3 miles long. Boats are started in approximately 30 second intervals. Depending on the course, you may only get to see a very small portion of your rower’s race. And, you will not have any idea on how they did until the end of the day. You can watch their “bow number” and see where they are in relation to the other boats, but it is still difficult to figure out really how they did until the results are posted on the board.

Spring Season: These are called “Sprints”. The course is usually 1500 or 2000 meters long. That is one of the reasons they do all of those lovely “2Ks” in winter training. These are easier, in many ways, to watch as it is true head to head competition. This is where the binoculars come in handy! Also our oar colors are black or yellow. Many parents look at the oars to see if they are our boats.

After you watch your rower’s race, as happy and proud as you are, don’t approach them. When ready and able they will come to you. – Really they will! After they get off the water, they immediately have a boat meeting with the Coaches. This is a no parent zone! (Same goes for the boat meeting right before their race). The rower will then go get food and use the bathroom and then may find you. But if they don’t remember, it is OK!

Other “No parent Zones”

  • On the Docks – This is an extremely busy place.
  • Rigging/Derigging boats – The rowers are very busy during these times and the equipment is large and expensive!

Taking pictures: It is often hard to take good clear pictures as the boats are large and moving fast, but taking pictures is strongly encouraged! Your best opportunity to take pictures is when they are leaving or returning to the docks, Loading the boat, or getting the boats ready to race. Candids are great! If you do take pictures talk to a Board Member. The team gathers as many photos as possible during the season to use for newspaper articles, the end of the season video and we usually hand out a CD-ROM with all of the pictures we can gather at the banquet!

Cheering for your rower: They say they can’t hear us, but cheer loud anyway!!!! Especially as they approach!

T-shirts: Every regatta has a t-shirt for sale. This will usually cost between \$15 – \$25. These are nice and good mementos of the season. Often parents have keepsake quilts made out of the shirts when their rower graduates. Some regattas also sell rowing jewelry. These make great gifts!

At the end of the regatta

  • Take a few moments to make sure your rower has everything, sweats, shirts, hats etc.!!!
  • Help take down the tents and pack up the food trailer.
  • Most rowers sleep on the way home! Make sure you can stay awake for the drive.
  • Most importantly! Congratulate your rower on a great day!!! No matter the outcome!!

Finally, ENJOY every minute of watching your child/children participate in a truly unique sport! It is worth the early starts, long days and ever changing weather. It will too soon be the last race of their Senior Season, and you will wonder where did it go? The lessons they learn as part of the team will serve them well beyond high school!

Row Hard Hornets!!

Regatta Food

Everything a Parent and Rower needs to know about food at Regattas:

  1. Every rower must pay a specified amount each season to cover food and drinks for all rowers as part of their dues. Family members and guests pay an additional “optional” fee which is established each season. This information is presented at the Parent / Rower meeting.Family and Guest Regatta Food Form
    Regatta Food Menu
  2. We serve approximately 80-100+ people each regatta, depending on number of rowers.  We serve approximately 150 people at each banquet.
  3. Rowers and family members are served breakfast, lunch and snacks at each regatta.
  4. Food is served ‘tail-gate’ style, with breakfast served as soon as possible upon arrival and set-up.  Lunch is served at approximately 11:30, with rowers eating at various times depending on when they row.Parents at the food tent
  5. We have the following equipment we use at each regatta:
    • Two three-burner propane stoves and one portable grill
    • One large tent for the rowers and three smaller tents for cooking and eating.
    • Five tables for food preparation and food presentation
    • Three large coolers, and two large drink dispensers
    • Two large chafing dishes
    • All disposable plates/cups/bowls/utensils
    • Assorted pots & pans
    • Trailer to haul all equipment and food to each regatta
  6. All rower family members are responsible for set-up of the tents before the regatta.
  7. All rower family members are responsible for clean-up of site(s), take down of tents and loading the equipment trailer.
  8. We are in need of many volunteers to help with the regatta food. Volunteer opportunities will be explained and / or requested at the Parent / Rower meeting each season. The following is a general outline of regatta food volunteer opportunities (Volunteer Positions & Responsibilities
    • Food Coordinator – Jean Ward
    • Shopper – Cecilyne Penny
    • Head Cook – Jean Ward, Trish Jansa
    • Food Trailer Organizers (regatta prep. / packing) – Cheryl Brill
    • Food Trailer Transportation – VOLUNTEER NEEDED
    • People willing to help cook breakfast and/or lunch.
    • People willing to check drink/food supply during regattas.
    • People willing to bring baked goods to each regatta
  9. The following are examples of staples that are available at each regatta:
    • Bagels & cream cheese
    • Granola bars
    • Oatmeal
    • Nuts, crackers or
    • Chex mix type handy-to-grab snacks
    • Ramen Noodles
    • Fresh fruit
    • Fresh vegetables (salads or vegetables & dip)
    • Bottled water, hot chocolate, coffee and tea

Rowing Glossary

aligner: An official who’s responsible for aligning boats evenly evenly for a fair start.

aligner’s hut: A hut or gazebo on the starting line, occupied by the starting judge and the aligner.

articulated Oars: A type of forward facing rowing system using oars with two shaft segments separated by a direction reversing mechanism at the oarlock. This type was featured in the movie “U S Marshals”. Not to be confused with the FrontRower system, which uses a different principle. Also known as “bow facing” oars.

back splash: Spray toward the bow from an oar that enters the water on recovery.

backstop: A small block on the bow end of the slide, which holds the seat on track.

beam: Width of the boat to the outside edges of the planking, usually at the widest section.

blade: The part of an oar that pushes against the water.

blade work: Lifting, lowering, and feathering the oar blades.

boot: A device that holds the bow of a boat until the starting signal, when it drops below the water.

bow: The forward part of a boat.

bowball: A round rubber protrusion attached to the bow of a shell for protection.

bowman: The oarsman who sits nearest the bow.

bowside: The left side of the shell, from the point of view of the oarsmen, who face the stern. By extension, the oarsmen whose oars are in the water on that side.

bow facing oars: See articulated oars.

bucket rig: An arrangement on an eight or a four so that Riggers 2 and 3 are on the same side of the boat.

button: A collar on the shaft of the oar that keeps it from slipping through the oarlock. It can be adjusted up or down to increase or decrease the rower’s leverage.

cadence: The beat at which the oarsmen are rowing. With coxed crews, the coxswain often raps out the cadence to keep the oarsmen pulling together.

canvas: The tapered section of a boat between the bowman and the bow of the boat or between the coxswain and the stern. So called because it used to be covered with canvas. catch: The portion of the stroke when the oar initially engages the water.

carry: The distance a boat travels between strokes.

catch: The portion of the stroke when the oar initially engages the water.

catching a crab: Unintentional failure to release the oar blade from the water at the end of the drive portion of the stroke.

check: Slowing or stopping a boat’s forward progress by reversing motion of the rower’s body mass.

check it down: An emergency command from the coxswain to jam oars into the water in order to stop the boat.

course: A straight area in the water, typically 4 to 8 lanes wide, for rowing competition. The standard Olympic course is 2,000 meters long.

cox: Short for coxswain.

cox box: A small electronic device that amplifies the coxswain’s voice and also gives a readout of information, such as the current stroke rating.

coxed: Descriptive of a boat or crew that has a coxswain.

coxless: Descriptive of a boat or crew with no coxswain.

coxswain: The helmsman, who has two important jobs: To keep the boat moving straight by making minor corrections to the rudder, and to keep the oarsmen rowing at the desired stroke rate.

deck: One of the sections of a shell near the bow and stern that are covered, usually with thin plastic or fiberglass.

dig deep: To thrust an oar too deeply into the water, resulting in loss of power. Also “knife in.”

dinghy: A small boat often carried on a larger boat and sometimes powered by oars.

displacement: The amount of water displaced by a boat, i.e. the weight of the boat. Also, a type of hull that moves by displacing water rather than riding on top of it or planing

dory: A flat bottomed boat with no structural keel and with bottom planking running lengthwise. Traditionally used as hand-line fishing boats lowered from mother ships in late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Featured in the movie “Captain’s Courageous”.

double: A sculling boat for two rowers.

drive: The portion of a stroke, between the catch and the release, when the oar is forcefully moving through the water.

eight: Sweep-oar boat with eight rowers and a coxswain.

ergometer: A stationary rowing machine that allows indoor practice. Erg, for short.

feather: to turn the oar blades parallel to the surface of the water to reduce wind resistance on the recovery portion of the stroke.

fin: The skeg.

finish: The final portion of the drive, just before the oar is taken out of the water.

fixed seat rowing: Traditional rowing system in which the rower sits on a thwart or board positioned crosswise in the boat. Does not promote the use of the powerful quadriceps muscles of the leg to drive the boat.

flat water rowing: Refers to rowing in calm smooth water as in the sport of racing in narrow beamed shells.

foot: Stretcher See stretcher.

four: A sweep-oar boat for four rowers. There is competition for fours with coxswain and fours without coxswain.

frig rig: See tandem rig.

FrontRowe: A patented forward facing rowing system which uses oars which are levers of the 3rd order, can be powered by arms or legs and features automatic blade work (lowering, lifting and feathering of the oars).

front splash: The spray that’s kicked up when the oar enters the water at the catch.

front stop: A small block on the stern end of the slide, which holds the seat in place.

full paddle: The highest level of power possible from an oarsman.

full pressure: Same as “full paddle.”

gate: A bar across the oarlock that keeps the oar from popping out.

German rig: The arrangement of an eight so that riggers 4 and 5 are on the same side while the others alternate port and starboard.

grabbing air: Powering the oar when it is above the surface of the water, as may happen in the trough of a wave.

gunnel: See gunwale.

gunwale: The top of the side of a boat.

hatchet: A large oar blade shaped somewhat like a hatchet.

hold water: A command from a coxswain to the oarsmen to place their blades horizontally in the water to slow the shell quickly.

hull speed: The maximum speed at which a displacement type hull will move easily. The longer the waterline length, the higher the hull speed.

inboard: The distance from the end of the oar’s handle to the portion of the button that touches the oarlock.

inside hand: The hand closest to the oarlock.

Italian rig: The arrangement of an eight so that bow and stroke riggers are on the same side while the others alternate port and starboard.

knife in: See dig deep.

keel: A longitudinal timber that extends along the center of the bottom of a boat.

layback: The backward lean of an oarsman’s body at the end of a stroke.

let it run!: A call from the coxswain to stop rowing at the finish, letting the boat glide through the water and coast to a stop.

lever: A rigid bar used to apply pressure at one point along it’s length by applying a force (effort) at a second point and turning about a third point or fulcrum. There are 3 classes of levers, called 1st, 2nd, and 3rd order. Oars having the fulcrum located between the handle and the blade are levers of the 1st order. Oars having the handle located between the fulcrum and the blade are levers of the 3rd order.

loom: The shaft portion of an oar.

lunge: An abrupt lean of the body before the catch, which can throw the oarsmen out of timing with the rest of the crew.

Macon: Traditional oar blade having a long narrow tulip shape curved or “spooned” surface.

mechanical advantage: Can be either a force advantage or a speed advantage. In the case of oars, the advantage is a speed advantage with the blade moving faster than the handle.

miss water: To have too short a drive, usually caused by not getting the blade into the water quickly enough at the catch.

oar: A pole with a flat section, known as the blade, near the end, used for propelling a boat through the water.

oarlock: A pivot attached to a boat and which holds an oar.

oarsman: A rower of either sex.

oar on gunnel rowing: Traditional rowing system having the oarlocks mounted on the gunwales. Requires a boat with a wide beam for sufficient spread between the oarlocks.

off keel: Descriptive of an unbalanced boat.

on keel: Descriptive of a balanced and level boat.

open water rowing: Rowing in water which may have waves and wakes, as opposed to flat water rowing.

outboard: The distance from the oarlock to the tip of the oar’s blade.

outside hand: The hand farthest from the oarlock.

paddle: To row gently, with minimum force.

pair: A sweep-oar boat for two rowers. There is competition for pairs with coxswain and pairs without coxswain.

pin: A metal rod upon which the oarlock is mounted.

pitch: The angle at which an oar is set in the water.

port: The left side of a boat. port rig An arrangement in which the stroke rows on the port side.

power ten: A series of 10 powerful strokes, usually either to gain on a crew that’s leading or to open a larger gap over a crew that’s trailing.

puddle: The water movement caused by the action of the oars. The size and shape of the puddle are indications of the amount of power put into the stroke.

pulling boat: A boat designed for comfortable rowing rather than racing or utility use.

quadruple: A sculling boat for four rowers. Often shortened to “quad.”

race pace: A stroke rating that a crew can hold for an entire race.

racing start: The opening strokes of a race, which are typically rowed at a high cadence to get the shell moving rapidly through the water.

rating: The number of strokes per minute a crew is rowing.

recovery: The portion of the stroke, between the release and the catch, during which the oar is brought into position for the next stroke.

recreational rowing: Rowing for recreation (enjoyment) rather than as a sport (racing).

regatta: Competitive rowing race.

release: Portion of the rowing stroke where the blade leaves the water.

repechage: A round of competition for boats that lost in a preliminary heat. Top finishers in a repechage continue to further rounds.

rig: Rowing gear.

rigger: A device that connects the oarlock to the shell.

rocker: Upward curvature of the bottom of a boat at the ends.

rowlock: Another name for the oarlock.

rudder: Movable fin at the aft end of a boat used for steering

rudder cable: A rope or cable operated by the coxswain to turn the rudder.

run: The distance a boat travels during one stroke.

rush the slide: To move from the recovery to the catch too quickly, often the result of a lunge.

scull: To propel a boat with a single oar off the stern. Also, to propel a boat using a pair of oars, one in each hand, as in sculling. Also, a boat used for sculling. Also, an oar.

sculling boat: A boat designed for sculling as defined by racing organizations.

sculling: A type of rowing sanctioned by racing organizations, in which each rower faces backwards and uses a pair of oars which are levers of the 1st order.

seal launch: A method of launching a boat by boarding it while on a dock and sliding the loaded boat into the water.

set: The boat’s balance, a delicate property that’s affected by the posture and timing of the rowers as well as by qualities of the boat itself.

sheer line: The line formed by the uppermost portion of the sides of the boat.

shell: A racing boat.

single: A sculling boat for one rower.

skeg: A fixed fin at the aft end of a boat to help tracking.

skiff: A flat bottomed boat with no keel and crosswise planking, usually used for utility purposes. Also any small boat.

skying: A poor rowing technique in which the blade is too high above the surface of the water at the catch.

slide: A set of runners holding wheels for each seat in a boat.

sliding rigger: Rowing system using a fixed seat and moving oarlocks to develop leg power. More efficient than a sliding seat, this system won the world championships for men’s singles in 1981, 1982 and 1983, before it was outlawed by race sanctioning bodies.

sprint: 1) The last 500 meters of a 2,000-meter race. 2) A race substantially shorter than 2,000 meters.

square: To turn the oar’s blade so it’s perpendicular to the surface of the water. The blade is squared at the end of recovery, in preparation for the catch.

starting dock: A dock at the start line where the boats are aligned before the race.

starboard: The right side of a boat.

stern: The aft end of a boat.

stretcher: Device used in sculling boats for clamping the rowers feet to the boat.

stroke: 1) The total rowing motion, including catch, drive, finish, release, and recovery. 2) The rower nearest the stern, who sets the cadence for the rest of the crew.

sweep: The oar used in a sweep-oared boat; as an adjective, descriptive of the boat itself.

sweep-oar rowing: Rowing with a single oar, gripped by both hands.

tandem rig: A rowing arrangement in which each set of two adjacent riggers is on the same side of the boat.

toe: To operate a rudder that’s controlled by the foot.

touring: Rowing for pleasure.

touring rowboat: Rowing boat optimized for comfortable long distance rowing.

track: A U-shaped piece of metal that keeps the wheels of a seat on a straight path. A slide is made up of two tracks.

tumblehome: Sides of the boat leaning inward to narrow the width at the gunwale.

wash out: To bring the blade out of the water before the drive has been completed, thus losing power.

waterline beam: Width of a boat at the loaded waterline.

waterline length: Length of the boat at the loaded waterline.

wherry: Lightly built boat designed for comfortable rowing rather than racing or utility use.


There are two competitive rowing seasons: Fall and Spring.The Fall season consists of longer races (like cross country) and the Spring is “Sprint Season” (like track). Most new rowers join in the Fall to get experience, learn to row, and prepare for the head to head competition in the Spring.

Regatta Central https://www.regattacentral.com/index.jsp
Info can be found here for most of the regattas we attend.

Saline Rowing Alumni http://www.salinecrewalumni.webnode.com/
For past members of the Saline Rowing team.

Wyandotte Boat Club
Wyandotte Boat Club
We go here three times per year or more.

Ann Arbor Rowing Club http://www.a2crew.com/
Our neighbor club, where many of our members row during the summer.   A friend that has supported our growth from conception.

USRA http://www.usrowing.org/index.aspx
The United States Rowing Organization, great site for lots of rowing info.

Row 2K http://www.row2k.com/
Great Rowing site for up-to-date rowing info.

Vespoli Boats http://www.vespoli.com/
The boat company that makes our boats

Concept 2 http://www.concept2.com/us/default.asp
The company that we buy our “ergs” and oars from. Great site for rowing training info.

EMU Crew http://emucrew.com/default.aspx
We have alumni who row here and Coaches who rowed here.

Also we share Ford Lake with them and they have been very supportive of us.

U of M Women’s Crew
M GoBlue
Another program that has been very supportive of us and offers rowing camps in the summer.  They are also our neighbors on Belleville Lake.

We have alumni who row here, and Coach Matt’s alma mater.

MSU Crew
MSU Crew
We have alumni rowing here.