T.C. Williams High School Crew
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Frequently Asked Questions about T.C. Crew


Q. What is TC Crew?
A. "TC Crew" is the informal title of the TC Williams High School rowing program-one of the oldest and most successful in the country. Established in 1947, TC Crew annually involves 150 and more student athletes and is known for its tradition of excellence. The TC rowing program is recognized for its top-notch facilities and equipment, the quality of its coaching staff and its success in national and international competition. TC Crew athletes are also outstanding students who are strongly committed to academics.
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Q. What's rowing all about?
A. Rowing is an exciting competitive sport involving skill, teamwork, strength and stamina. There are teams for girls and boys, organized by skill, and in some cases age and weight. Crews are identified by the number of rowers in a shell, or boat - normally with 8 rowers (an "eight") or 4 rowers (a "four) - and have an on-board captain known as the coxswain. There are also doubles and singles. Equal sized boats race against each other on 1,500-meter courses.
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Q. What about the facilities and equipment?
A. TC rowers train and practice on the Potomac River at the Dee Campbell Rowing Center - which everyone simply calls "The Boathouse." Built in 1987, the Boathouse is located at the end of Madison Street in Old Town Alexandria. The equipment-including the shells, oars, and rowing machines, or "ergometers"-is well maintained and put on a replacement cycle to ensure that the team has safe and up-to-date equipment. The Boathouse includes a fully equipped training and weight room available to athletes. TC Crew's facilities and equipment are the envy of many college rowing programs!
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Q. Who are the coaches?
A. TC Crew's coaches are experienced, professional and committed to ensuring that participating in TC Crew is a positive experience for all student athletes. Our head coaches are recognized by college and high school coaches, and were cited by the Washington Post as among "the best in the business." Jon Schildknecht has coached a dozen years for TCW and Pete Stramese has been the head coach for ACR as well as TC Crew. The coaching program focuses not only on good rowing technique and intense training for strength and endurance, but also on mental preparedness, sportsmanship and teamwork. Many of our younger coaches graduated from the program and returned to coach at TC Williams. All our coaches are trained and certified.
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Q. When does the season start?
A. Practice begins in late February for the competitive season, which is in the spring. Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) activity buses provide transportation for athletes in the spring from the schools to the Boathouse and after practice to various locations around the city; parents are great at carpooling, too. We usually have our first regattas in late March and continue through Virginia, regional, and national championships in late May or early June. Some boats extend the season by trips to the Canadian championships, and sometimes even the Henley Regatta in England. There are also opportunities for training or off-season competition through summer and fall programs, as well as winter conditioning. Many of our spring rowers are all-around athletes who participate in other sports in the fall and winter.
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Q. Do you need experience?
A. No. We welcome the chance to teach the sport to students at any level.
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Q. How are crews (or "boats") selected?
A. The coaches will conduct tryouts at the beginning of the season. They look for the most compatible and competitive talent they can, factoring in experience, skill level, athletic performance, fitness and initial scores on the ergometers, or "ergs." The lightweight boats have weight limits - up to 150 pounds for lightweight boys and 130 pounds for lightweight girls. Other than that, the choices are wide open and are made from a fresh start each year.

During the season, everyone rows at some level, and almost all rowers will participate in at least one regatta.  We are fortunate enough to have enough coaches and equipment that no one is cut from crew unless they violate rules.
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Q. What are the academic requirements?
A. The requirements are the same as for all other TCW sports. It is noteworthy that participating athletes have excellent academic records; grade point averages of crew teams are often among the highest of TCW sports teams. The discipline and time-management skills needed for outstanding athletics translates into excellence in schoolwork.
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Q. Is it safe?
A. Rowing is a low-impact sport that focuses on conditioning the athlete for strength and endurance. All rowers must pass a swimming test. If that presents a problem, we can arrange to make lessons available. Our coaches are trained for any emergency situation. First and foremost, we emphasize boat safety and the proper use of the equipment.
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Q. What is the cost?
A. There is no cost to the athlete other than a uniform fee, which is about $50. Financial assistance is available to those who have difficulty paying for a uniform. Most other rowing programs in the Northern Virginia area are club sports, which require substantial fees (often hundreds of dollars) per season. Because TC Crew is a varsity sport, the coaches' fees, transportation of boats and athletes, boathouse maintenance, insurance and hotel accommodations for out-of-town regattas for athletes during the regular season are covered by the school system. Our active Booster Club (which parents are urged to join at $45 per family) raises funds to buy state-of-the-art boats, oars and equipment. The Boosters also ensure that athletes are fed at out-of-town regattas. Parents are asked to contribute a fee (about $45) at the beginning of the season to help defray the costs of food at these events.
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Q. Sounds good! How do I sign up?
A. Registration takes place at the Boathouse at the beginning of each season. For the spring season, registration is usually is the third week of February for returning rowers.  Look for time and dates on information sheets posted in schools, or here.   You can also call the TC Athletic Department at (703)824-6860 or e-mail the girls' head coach or the boys' head coach.
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Q.What are the Top 10 Things to Know about Rowing?
A. We created a small guide listing the top 10 things to know about rowing and other useful tips.  More detailed information is available on our Rowing Terminology page.


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