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FAQs for Parents


What is crew?
Crew is the sport of rowing. In crew, an oarsman sits on a sliding seat facing backwards and uses his arms, back and legs to move the boat forward in one smooth motion. Crews are identified by the number of rowers in a shell, or boat. They race against other teams on measured courses. Montgomery Boat Club (MBC) is a sweep (each person holds one oar) program training in eight- and four-person shells.  Take a look at this exciting video showing the US compete in Olympic rowing.

When and where does MBC train?
We train six days a week (Mon thru Sat) with 5 of those days on the Anacostia River at Bladensburg Waterfront Park (4601 Annapolis Road, Bladensburg, MD 20710). A bus transports the team to the river on weekdays after school leaving from Churchill HS parking lot. Transportation on Saturdays is by parent car-pool.  We also hold one  land practice each week typically on Wednesdays or Fridays.  Fall practice runs from approximately late August through the middle of November.  Spring practice runs from early March through May.  From early December through the end of February, MBC holds three to five indoor training sessions per week after school.  This is called Winter Conditioning.  Our coaches lead the team in technical and endurance workouts on the ergometer (rowing machine) and strength training in the weight room.  During the MCPS Spring Break, rowing "camp" is held most days for the spring break week in Bladensburg via carpool.

Does my child need prior experience?
No experience is necessary to join MBC. New rowers will have a one- or two-day land orientation before our coaches introduce the first water sessions. All novice boats are accompanied by a coach in a motor launch at all times.

What are the requirements to register for the team as a novice (first year)?
A mandatory swim test is required of all novices for safety reasons. You do not need to be a fast swimmer. The swim test consists of:

  • A 100-meter swim (four lengths); any stroke; time does not matter.
  • A five-minute period of treading water.
  • While treading water, you must put on a life vest.

When and how do we register?
A rower must register each season (Fall and Spring) and pay that season’s dues using MBC's SportsEngine on-line registration system. The Board will notify rowers of the upcoming registration/payment obligations by email together with a link to the on-line registration site.  Once a rower is registered and has paid the season’s fee, the rower is then added to the team roster.

When does the team compete?
MBC / Churchill Crew enters several regattas each season.  See the regatta schedule here.  Parents need to transport their rower to regattas.  For away regattas when an overnight stay is required and a parent is unable to attend, it is the responsibility of the parent to coordinate the oversight of their rower with another parent and also inform their coach.  All rowers must arrive at the official start time and are not dismissed to leave until all after all races are complete and the boats are de-rigged (or if permission from their coach).

How is MBC funded?
Our club is entirely self-funded. Membership fees cover transportation to practice, coach salaries, insurance, USRowing and regatta fees and more.  We successfully raise funds through a capital campaign to purchase and maintain our equipment. Every student/family is responsible for meeting annual fundraising goals through team-sponsored fundraisers. These contributions help MBC secure its own equipment and remain a viable organization.  There are many opportunities throughout the year for rowers and parents to get involved in fundraising events.

Who runs MBC?
While experienced coaches train our team, MBC is entirely run by parents. It takes a lot of work to run a Crew team. Our Board members (run by solely parents) administer different aspects of the team (equipment, fundraising, social, finance, etc.) and every family is expected to take on their share of responsibility to make our program a success.  We are actively seeking parent involvement in the areas of corporate sponsorship, equipment maintenance, fundraising, outreach and more.  Tell us how'd you'd like to get involved.

How do I know if Crew is right for my kid?
From a physical point of view, Crew is an all-body sport that requires strength and stamina. It will get you in incredible shape!  It also requires tremendous concentration and teamwork. As such, Crew helps rowers develop strong leadership and collaborative skills and also makes them very focused.  MBC members have a great time and work hard developing their rowing skills. We hope you’ll let them give it a try!

Will I get a refund if my kid doesn't like it?
Crew is not for everyone so we urge first-season (novice) rowers to sign up for our trial period, available in the Fall and Spring seasons. For a non-refundable fee of $200, your child can attend practice for two weeks to decide. If they love it, the balance of the season's dues will automatically be charged to the card you used when you registered. If they don't like it, just let us know and the balance won't be charged.
For returning (Varsity) rowers, those who register but have to drop out, for any reason, prior to the start of the season will receive a 100% refund less a 5% processing fee. If a varsity rower must drop out within two weeks of the start of practice, he/she will receive a 50% refund. After the two weeks of practice, all registration fees are forfeited.
For Winter Training, there is no trial period or refund.

What are the coaches looking for in a rower?
First and foremost, coaches look for commitment.  Rowing is a demanding sport, and like most sports, demands a day-in, day-out commitment to practice and improvement.  Second, coaches look for physical ability. It is important to note that with regular practice and conditioning virtually every student can develop his or her physical ability to the point where they can row competitively.  Finally, coaches look for a positive attitude toward the program, the sport, and toward their fellow rowers.  Crew is a team sport, where successful boats succeed as a result of each rower playing his or her role. Mutual support and encouragement are vital to a team’s success.

For practices what are the coaches expectations?
All rowers must provide their upcoming weekly schedule to their Coach using TeamSnap (They will receive an invite directly from their coach.) The coaches will plan practices and lineups based on this information, so it is critical that a rower keeps their attendance up to date in TeamSnap.   

If a rower wishes to be considered for a priority boat and race at every regatta he/she must sign up timely for all practices, regularly attend all  practices and rank well on the objective criteria listed below set by the coaches. Please speak to their coach in regards to specific details on each.

1. Weight adjusted erg score
2. Seat racing
3. Technique (style points; better form scores higher)
4. Attendance
5. Physical Fitness (running time, pull-ups etc.)

What if my child misses practice or can't make it to a regatta?
Like all high school sports, attendance is mandatory. If your child must miss practice or a regatta due to illness or academics, he/she must let the coach know in advance or as soon as possible. We are seeking students who are committed and dedicated to the sport. Because we train for regattas by boat, a rower who misses practice or a race affects his or her teammates because they must practice as one unit. If a rower frequently misses practices, they will most likely be unable to compete in regattas. Regatta participation is at the coaches’ discretion.

Does my child need to attend Winston Churchill High School to belong to the MBC Team?
No, while most members of MBC attend Churchill High School due its historical origination, it is not a requirement.  You do need to be registered in 9th - 12th grade.  Churchill Crew partnered with Montgomery Boat Club in 2015 so that students from other schools can participate.  

How do I register my child?
On this website, navigate to Get Involved/Join Crew.  Read what you will need to have with you at time of registration and sign up!  There is a separate registration for Fall and Spring seasons.  Most rowers make a commitment to row for both seasons because they love it so much, but it is possible to only row one season.  After you register your child, make sure they also sign the US Rowing Waiver (nominal fee) in order to be able to compete in regattas.  For more questions about registration , contact our registrar.

How does my child receive a uniform?
During the registration process, sizing information will be collected.  This information will be transferred to the entity that orders all uniforms.  Uniforms are custom-made and take several week to arrive.  Once they arrive, they will be distributed at practice.  While kids wear their uniforms proudly at all regattas.  For more questions about uniforms contact us.

How do I purchase MBC T-shirts, tech shirts, Boathouse jackets, hats, magnets, camp chairs, duffel bags, blankets, etc.?
We encourage rowers and all members of their family to wear/carry as much MBC apparel/gear as possible!  (Also:  they make great holiday presents!)  From this website, navigate to Program/ MBC Store

When can my rower order a Boathouse jacket?
The Boathouse jacket is the symbol of an experienced rower and need to be earned.  The coaches will explain how this works.

Has MBC been sponsored by any High School?
MBC is considered a club by local High schools.  It is not sponsored by the school as no crew team is sponsored by MCPS in this county.  The team receives no financial support form the school or MCPS.  All funding comes from rowers, their families, friends, fundraising events and corporate sponsors.  For more about sponsorship, click here.  In addition to registration fees, there is a requirement of a capital contribution per rowing family.  There are many ways to satisfy this requirement.

How can I join a car pool?
Usually, car pools form naturally by neighborhood.  In fact, the rowers usually figure it out themselves!  If you are new to the team and want to know how to use our team car pool go to Info for Parents/Join Carpool.

I took some awesome photos of the last regatta!  How do I post these for others to see?
Great and thanks!  You can post them on the Montgomery Boat Club Facebook group page, Instagram.  You can also upload them to our sites located on our Multimedia page.  Also, follow us on Twitter @rowingmbc. 

MBC sounds like a great experience for my child and I would like to become more involved.  How can I get more involved in helping the team?
Wonderful and welcome aboard!  Check out the list of activities here that you can help with.

I still have questions.  Who can I contact?
No problem, we'd love to hear from you.  You can email your question by submitting it to our Communications Director

Also, for an additional understanding of rowing check out ...