Coxswain FAQs

What does a coxswain do?

A coxswain is the athlete who is in charge of the rest of the athletes in the boat. A coxswain does not row but sits facing the rowers and relays necessary information to them. They steer the boat by controlling the rudder and communicates through a microphone. A coxswain is responsible for the safety of their crew, steering a straight course, ensuring that the crew is executing the race plan, and motivating their teammates.

Do I get to work out?

In the boat, a coxswain does not do any physical exercise, but on land a coxswain may participate in all physical activity. Coxswains are not judged on their athletic ability.

What will my try-out be like?

In the beginning, your try-out will look very similar to the rowers’. You will learn the basics of rowing. After some time, you will start to focus on boat maneuvering and steering.

How will I be evaluated?

Other than being under 110lbs, you will be evaluated on the following skills: Problem solving, Communication Skills, Competitiveness and Drive, Multitasking, Leadership, Maturity and Patience. 

Do I need prior rowing/coxing experience? 
No prior rowing or coxing experience is necessary. We will teach you what you need to know. 

Do I need to know how to swim?
Boats rarely flip, but if one does, all rowers and coxswains need to be comfortable in water.

 What is the practice schedule?
Typically Monday-Friday, 4-6:30 p.m. and Saturday: 7-10 a.m.

I have class some afternoons, can I still try-out? 
If you cannot attend all of the afternoon sessions we encourage you to discuss your options with the coaching staff.

For the spring semester, team members receive priority enrollment and will be able to choose their class schedule with consideration to practice times.

Is Women’s Rowing a Varsity sport at KU? 
We are a NCAA Division I Varsity sport supported by Kansas Athletics.

How do I get to the boathouse? 
The boathouse is a short 10-minute drive from campus. It is located in Burcham Park at 200 Indiana St.

What type of student is Kansas Rowing looking for?
Successful walk-on coxswains on our team have come from all different backgrounds. They all share a desire to work hard every day and have a great attitude. They display the following qualities:

  • Love to work hard
  • Possess self-confidence
  • Exhibit leadership qualities
  • Have a great attitude
  • Are highly competitive and love to win
  • Are a great team player

What do I need to do for the initial try-out portion? 
Just fill out the questionnaire here and attend the informational meeting (link to meeting info).

In order to try out you’ll need:

  • Health insurance (other than KU health insurance)
  • Recent physical and Sickle Cell blood test
  • Completed medical packet, found here

How can I prepare for try-outs? 
Try-outs will start slowly, but you will want to have a little background knowledge. We recommend reading articles and watching videos about rowing and coxing 

How is the selection process done? 

Tryouts begin in September and we name a roster in early October, selection is a continual process during the fall. As you learn the sport the coaching staff will assess your skills and potential.

What about my school work? Will my grades be affected by the time commitment? 
Many of our team members are well above a 3.0, with some completing perfect 4.0’s. Rowers at KU have a higher GPA than the general student body. Our athletes also have a wide range of majors. Although it might seem overwhelming, having a more structured day can help keep you focused and on task.

Why should I become a coxswain for KU Rowing?

  • Be around other driven student athletes
  • Compete at Big 12 championships
  • Form close bonds with teammates
  • Learn something new
  • May become eligible for scholarship  

What are some of the benefits of being a Varsity athlete at Kansas? 
Our student-athletes put in a lot of hard work and time to represent The University of Kansas. The athletics department supports that performance through a variety of measures to ensure our athletes are able to train and compete at the highest of levels. Being a varsity athlete at Kansas includes:

  • Competing at the highest level of collegiate sports
  • Priority enrollment for classes
  • Academic staff including counselors, tutors, mentors
  • KU L.E.A.D.S.
  • Meals and snacks through KU Red Card
  • Adidas apparel
  • Sports Medicine facility and full-time athletic trainers, nutritionists and sports psychologists

Still not sure? Come try it anyway! Or if you have more questions reach out to the coaches.