The Eastern Michigan University women’s rowing team starts their fall season Oct. 14.
Out of the 21 different collegiate sports EMU offers, rowing is often one students are not aware of.
“Football, track and field, basketball, swimming and diving, volleyball and soccer,” EMU senior Todd Christopher said when asked what sports the university offers.
Similar responses were given by a number of EMU students when asked the same question.
While the rowing coaches and coaches of other EMU sports recruit their athletes, the rowing team also accepts walk-on members. This means that any full-time, female EMU student can tryout for the team.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association places some requirements on who can join and who cannot join, but these requirements are based on how long since a student has started college full time. Students get five years of NCAA eligibility beginning from the first full-time semester taken. Therefore, students should join sooner rather than later so their eligibility doesn’t run out.
Rowing is the only collegiate sport that accepts a walk-on student even if they have absolutely no experience. Other sports accept walk-on members, but only if the student has a certain level of experience and skill.
“It’s a good opportunity for people to get involved,” EMU junior Ariel Robinson said. “It’s perfect for students to try out for a sport without the intimidation factor.”
EMU senior Lauren Foley said she has been rowing for seven years and walked onto the team her freshman year with experience.
“It’s way more than keeping in shape, my teammates are like my family,” Foley said. “These are the friends who will be in my life forever and it’s a great group of people to be around every day.”
Fajita Fest, a student organization mixer at the beginning of the school year, is the main event where the team promotes the sport and many of the current team consists of walk-on members.
“I was recruited at Fajita Fest,” EMU junior Katherine Anderson said. “One of the girls came up to me and said she liked my backpack and that I should join the team. The rest is history.”
Other rowers have found out about the team by word-of-mouth or even through social media sites such as Facebook.
Interested students can contact EMU rowing graduate assistant coach Kate Krengel at email@example.com.
The EMU rowers will head to Occoquan, Va. for the Occoquan Chase Regatta Oct. 14, and then will compete at the Head of the Hooch in Chattanooga, Tenn. Nov. 3-4.
“We are going to be faster than the previous years,” Foley said. “It’s a lot of hard work and time but the outcome this year should be good and it’s worth every drop of sweat.”