novice rowing


Join the three-time National Champions and 10-time Big Ten Champions today!

No previous rowing experience is required! We teach a new group of Buckeyes to row and compete every year.

The Ohio State Women’s Rowing Team has a great opportunity for the best athletes in the State of Ohio and across the country. We are looking to recruit tall, strong people that want to contribute to the legacy of Ohio State Rowing. No rowing experience is necessary!

We are recruiting for the 2023 and 2024 Novice Rowing teams! Tryout Process for the 2022/2023 Novice Rowing Team begins in August 2022! Any current Ohio State student can come to an information meeting in August 2022 (see dates below) to learn more about the program and get started on the next steps. In the meantime, if you have questions or want to introduce yourself, feel free to reach out!

Recruiting for the 2025 recruiting class will begin in June 2023. If you are interested in learning more about the team or know someone who would be a great rower, you use the links below to let us know!

The first step to joining the team: attend an information meeting. See dates below:

  • August 21 at 7:15pm – Ohio Union, 2nd Floor, Traditions Room
  • August 22 at 6:00pm – Ohio Union, 2nd Floor, Traditions Room
  • August 23 at 6:00pm – Ohio Union, 2nd Floor, Student-Alumni Council Room


Ohio State Women’s Rowing relies heavily on tall high school athletes that are excited to try something new and determined to be champions. We can give the right athlete what they need to know to be part of one of the most competitive Division 1 programs in the country. Don’t consider yourself to be tall? We have just the thing for you! Keep scrolling to learn more about “coxswains”.

— Learn and be a part of a new and upcoming sport
— Be a part of a team with incredible teammates who may become your lifelong friends
— Have connections to hundreds of alumni in countless career fields
— Learn how to endure, push yourself, accomplish your goals, and be your best self
— Learn valuable life skills that you can’t learn out elsewhere but can be applied anywhere


A novice rower is an athlete in their first year of collegiate rowing. At Ohio State we specifically design a program that will teach our novice everything they need to know to compete with, and against, other elite athletes. 90% of our novice team has no previous rowing experience. On the 2016 NCAA team (that placed 2nd in the nation) 12 of 25 athletes started on the novice team. After novice year, athletes transition to the varsity squad where you compete with the best rowers from the US and around the world. You bring the grit, we give you the training.

Novice simply means that you have not rowed before and you are new to the sport.

This term is widely used in rowing to organize teams, classify races, and develop training strategies.

If you choose to join the Ohio State Women’s Rowing team as a novice, you are a varsity athlete and you represent the university much like any other Buckeye would.

No, Ohio State Women’s Rowing is not a club. We are a fully funded NCAA Division I team that competes in the Big 10 Conference. Ohio State does have a club team that operates as a separate entity.

Someone with a combination of the following:
— Grit and determination– the willingness to show up to practice every day and give the team your full effort no matter what
— Resiliency – ability to learn, adapt, and progress
— Athletic Background
— Team player
— Height (5’8” or taller or tough enough to make up the difference) and long wingspan
— Competitiveness and strong desire to win
— Great work ethic
— Willing to represent Ohio State with pride and be a Buckeye!

Not very tall but still want to be a Buckeye? We have the perfect thing for you. Be a coxswain!

What is a coxswain?
— The coxswain is an essential part of our team as they are responsible for steering the boat, communicating with the coaches and coordinating the power and rhythm of the rowers.
— There is only one coxswain in each boat so it is a competitive position.
— A typical coxswain is 5’5” or shorter and weighs around 110lbs.
— We look for athletes that have clear communication skills, have a desire to be a leader, and are competitive and motivated.

Ohio State women’s rowing has won 3 National Championships. We made history in 2018 by sweeping the Big Ten Championship; winning all seven events (five varsity and two novice). The two gold medal novice boats were full of people who had never taken a stroke before their first year!

We have also won 10 Big Ten Championships. You can be a part of the legacy of champions. As a Buckeye you will race with and against the best.

In the fall semester, we practice 5-7 days a week. Practices are held at the Schumaker Complex and at our Boathouse on the Scioto River. Fall practices start the second week of class.

We start with basic technique on the erg (indoor rowing machine) and functional movement/strength. From there we progress to rowing on the water while always expanding your cardio base and core strength. We use our winter season to get fit – consisting of running, erging and strength training. As soon as the weather allows we get back out on the water and row. Each day we build on the day before (physically, mentally and technically) to be as prepared and as fit as possible when we race at the Big 10 Championship in May.

Check our news feed here or on social media to learn more about when and how to get started or contact the novice coach, Emily Gackowski at

When you first join the team, we run you through a tryout process. This is your opportunity to try a new sport and see if it is something that you are interested in pursuing and it is an opportunity to see if you have what it takes to be a Buckeye.

Tryouts are only for current Ohio State students and begin in the first week of the autumn semester.

The best thing that you can do to prepare for your first year as a rower is to be active. There are many sports and physical activities that can grow your aerobic base, and the fitter you start the faster we will be for the Big Ten Championship.

If you have time over the summer you can register with the NCAA eligibility center. Getting this done in advance can save some time later in the year, but you don’t have to do it before you try the sport.

We understand that you didn’t come to Ohio State this fall planning on being a member of Buckeye athletics. For this reason we work around your current class schedule. As a varsity athlete, you will have priority scheduling for the spring semester and beyond which makes it easy to accommodate both classes and rowing. When making your fall class schedule in your novice year, do your best to keep 6:00-9:25 a.m. free on any given day of the week. If that is not possible, try to keep 3:00-6:00 p.m. free of classes.

We know that you have come to Ohio State to be a student first. Throughout the year we gradually build on the time demands of being a varsity athlete to give you the opportunity to adjust. The 2018 team had 53 rowers who earned student scholar athlete honors in a wide variety of majors so academic and athletic success is attainable! As a varsity athlete you have access to academic support throughout the year.

NOT SURE? Try out!

You never know if you don’t try.

Rowing is one of the few sports that you can learn in college and have an opportunity to compete at the highest level. Many of our rowers have gone on to represent their countries on the international level and even compete in the Olympics.

This is a great opportunity for competitive, team minded athletes to attend a top athletic and academic university. No experience necessary! In the novice (first) year at Ohio State new rowers gain the skill, culture and fitness to be successful competing at the NCAA Division 1 level.

Be a Buckeye. Be a Champion.