Open Tryouts for 2016-17 Start Aug. 23 (Women) and Aug. 24 (Men)
About the Clubs
The University of Illinois Men’s and Women’s Rowing Clubs represent the University in intercollegiate rowing across the country. Since the founding of the Club Team in 2005, the program has developed into a top-tier program winning National Gold and repeating at perennial State Champions. Unlike other major sports programs on campus, Illinois Rowing relies heavily on walk-on recruits, many of whom had never rowed prior to trying out. We are looking for strong, determined athletes to forge a path to our next National Championship and to continue the growing legacy of victory on the water at Illinois.
If you want to really know what it is like to row for Illinois, take the word of our athletes and hear their perspectives.
Chris Marr – Rowing and Being Greek
Being in a Fraternity and Rowing, I’m not sure you can get more “Illinois” than that!
I personally was the vice-president and then president of my fraternity, both while captain of the rowing team. I was able to excel in both earning recognition as Male Rower of the year followed by Greek man of the year. My whole time spent on campus, I was deeply rooted into both of these organizations and both helped me to grow as a friend, athlete, professional, and a citizen of our community.
Rowing and Fraternities, the two are not mutually exclusive, and I would argue they can be complementary. The benefits of the Greek system blend well with those of rowing. Both take a commitment to a team larger than oneself, a strong set of personal values, and a limitless passion. It takes good time management skills and the right house to understand that you are competing for the University, but the two yield the most rewarding experiences of your collegiate career.
Claire Slayton – Rowing and Being Greek
Prior to attending the University of Illinois, I was told to go Greek in order to find a home on campus. I waited a year to rush, and within that first year, I discovered Illinois Rowing through a friend. I rushed a sorority and tried out for rowing at the same time and was immersed into two communities that I would spend the rest of my college years with: Greeks and athletes. While I greatly enjoyed sorority life, most of my time was dedicated to the rowing team, and I immediately clicked with my teammates, who will be lifelong best friends. There is something unique about rising early, before the sun has risen, to go to the foggy lake and row in the morning silence. An unspoken bond forms between athletes through those shared experiences. The dedication to the team that I have experienced is really rare and makes me believe that I am greater than just another student on campus because I have the opportunity to travel across the country and represent my school. Regattas are unlike anything I had ever experienced. Seeing student-athletes come from across the country with the same train of thought as me, aiming to bring pride to their university, is really amazing. Prior to rowing, my sport was golf. I faced some health issues that caused permanent vision problems, making golf a lot more difficult than it used to be. I greatly missed being part of a team and was eager to join Illinois Rowing, especially because perfect vision is not a requirement to succeed. Rowing is a lot different from most other sports because it requires reliability and equal dedication from each athlete. If one athlete does not hold their own, the entire boat will fail. Teamwork is more necessary in this sport than any other, and there is no shining star because all are equal when in the boat. Now as an alum of the University of Illinois, I will always have a home within Illinois Rowing when I return to campus.
Ronald Tyson – What Rowing Has Meant To Me
Rowing not only gives me a competitive outlet, but it also teaches me what hard work really is. When you join this team you find yourself surrounded by the hardest working people you have ever met. Your problems, and your previous idea of what it means to push yourself to the limit, suddenly feel so petty and insignificant. Rowing transforms you into a hard, tough, and persevering individual ready to take on life’s most severe challenges, and you’ll literally have people in the same boat as you are ready to back you up at a moments notice. On that note, I should also add that rowing has introduced me to the majority of my best friends; I’ll remember the moments I spend with them for the rest of my life. Rowing has been, next only to academics, the second most influential part of my college experience thus far. Bottom line: ordinary people become extraordinary people when they join this team.
Meridith Kisting – What Rowing Has Meant To Me
My favorite part of rowing is the people. Having never rowed before college, I was delighted to discover this incredible and strange world hiding in plain sight on rivers and lakes around the country. I started rowing on a whim and stayed because of the people I met. My teammates dazzle me each day at practice with their determination and wit. After racing coast to coast and seeing them through a myriad of challenges, I can confidently call them some of the hardest working people I know. I’ve watched them prevail over airport delays, term papers, and inclement weather, always bettering the lives of those around them and always with the support of the team. While we’d all like to assume that we entered college with these qualities, I strongly suspect that rowing just brings out the best in us. Rowing has allowed me to meet the best people I know. I’ll leave the sport knowing that I’ve found friends for the rest of my life and knowledge of a vibrant community to be a part of no matter what city I may end up in in the future.
Danielle Saubert – Starting Rowing in College
When I thought about joining rowing, I started by weighing out my athletic experiences from high school to see how they compared. I was a dancer for 16 years and had never done anything aquatic (other than swimming in gym class), but I was surprised to see how many similarities there were between the sports; both required powerful legs, excellent balance, a knack for timing and body position, and constant focus. On those fronts, I was prepared, but I could never have guessed how every sport relates to rowing excellence in some way. I learned that from my teammates; and from them, I learned so much more. I had never experienced competitive spirit or devotion to one’s team like I have in rowing. The amazing things you can do and achieve with an entire crew of people who would lay their own bodies on the line for your success is the most inspirational thing that I have ever been a part of. I have never been happier, healthier, or more proud of myself and my team than when I rowed for Illinois.
Benjamin Wilson – What It’s Like to Start Rowing in College
When I came to the University of Illinois I really had no Idea what I wanted my college experience to be. I was unsure if I wanted to join a club related to my major, or a fraternity, or philanthropy group, or any of the other innumerable organizations on campus. Throughout my first semester I tried some different things but nothing seemed to click. Then in the Spring I found the rowing team and everything just fell into place. I immediately found that the rowing team offers an environment unlike any other club on campus. The opportunity to travel and compete at an intercollegiate level with a group of exceptionally motivated and amazingly talented close knit group of friends is an experience that I will never forget.
At first the thought of rowing may seem daunting, at first the schedule may be shocking, and the workouts will without a doubt be extremely difficult. But if you stick with it and really give it your all you will find that you will be rewarded with some of the best memories of your college career. Every year I have rowed has been a new and exciting adventure and I would not trade those experiences for the world.
Sam Sanders – What Drives Me As A Coxswain
Coxing is a unique combination of leadership, competition, and strategy. With the leadership role comes a lot of responsibility, but I like the challenge and find it very rewarding. My competitive drive as a coxswain comes from the other people in the boat. I know their capabilities, and consider it my responsibility to help the boat reach our team goals in any way I can. Figuring out how to push someone to his or her full potential is one of the most interesting and fun aspects of coxing. It’s also one of the most difficult because it’s different for each rower. I try to learn each rower’s personal goals. Knowing what motivates them makes it easier to transform their inner drive into physical power during races. Rowing is as much a mental battle as it is a physical one; it’s my job to know what makes each person fight.