Rowing Resumes, References, and Regatta Results

By Sparks Editorial Staff | July 1, 2014

Our consultants are often asked “what regatta results belong on my rowing resume?” or “what should my coach put in their reference?”

There is a general human desire to standardize things. Much like what we’re about to discuss in this article, many have asked us about parity according to division in erg scores – i.e. “what’s a good erg score for Division I women’s rowing?” The answer depends on the school – some Division I programs recruit slower ergs than some Division III programs. The same could be said of rowing resumes, regatta results, and references.

Rowing Resumes: Resumes are helpful for some coaches. But just as a pretty resume without basic qualifications won’t get you through the door for a job interview, neither will a pretty resume without the basic qualifications: erg score, GPA, and SAT/ACT score.

We sometimes see students who list extracurriculars in hopes of supplementing their basic qualifications. This doesn’t work and may lead some coaches to question students’ priorities. If the student is applying to a school that is a reach for him or her athletically, it may also lead some coaches to conclude the student does not have the time to make it to their erg standard. Along these lines it is helpful for students to list the amount of seasons (Fall and Spring are two seasons) they’ve been rowing and even how many times they’ve tested 2K erg as this is a helpful indicator of potential.

Not all coaches want a resume. Some prefer that recruits go to the website and fill out the online recruiting form, and if your basic qualifications line up with what they’re looking for, they’ll be in touch. This is a consequence of the pure volume of recruits some programs see. As we’ve said elsewhere, rowing is unlike other sports in its recruiting economy given the volume of potential recruits and how late students may develop into good oars people. As such, some coaches can only afford the time to look at a student’s immediate stats amidst a demanding schedule and hundreds of interested recruits.

Regatta Results: Listing regatta results is more basic than many assume. If the regatta is not international (Canadian Henley), national, or championship level, don’t include it. If the result is from novice year, do not include it.

Results are taken more seriously from small boat events given they are more indicative of the athlete’s boat moving ability. And erg score underlies results – we recently saw a very unique case of a student recruited at a top five Division I program who actually had very little water time (he was from a dry area where there are no teams) and absolutely zero regatta results, but who possessed a top 1% erg score. Regatta results are only important insofar as they demonstrate commitment to the sport and future talent potential; rowing is not like a sport where competition determines ranking or points and as such, results should be regarded as supplementary unless the competition is on the international (or potentially national) level.

Coach’s Reference: Your high school coach’s reference matters. How much it matters is determined by the coach’s relationship with the current staff at the college program, which is generally determined via A) how many students the program has sent to the program in the past and B) the college recruiter’s potential connection with the coach via the smallness of the rowing community. That said, even if your high school coach does not know the college recruiter, the reference will be taken into account – especially for coxswains given the lack of objective standards for selection. You may want to speak with your high school coach about the conversations you’re having with recruiters and the questions they’re asking you; this may help you and your coach better align yourself with the skills and experience the college coach is seeking.

Ultimately, every coach is a bit different in terms of how they evaluate the supplementary information above – and even in how they evaluation the basic qualifications like erg score. We encourage recruits to pursue a genuine connection with college coaches and their recruiting goals before submitting the above (i.e. only initially submitting the uniform qualifications via the recruiting form found on program websites) to save time and make real connections.