skip navigation

Return of the Vikings -- Introducing Whitman Crew's Summer Program

Ever since the spring season was canceled, it has been our goal to get our athletes back on the water. Accounting for the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 and social distancing we are pleased to be able to offer a summer training program for our athletes designed and run by Whitman Crew's coaching staff.

The purpose of this summer program is to prepare our athletes by developing technical skills through sculling, power application, aerobic capacity, and ergometer endurance.  The program will begin with virtual/remote training.  As and when guidance allows, we will transition to training on the water by sculling in singles and doubles from TBC.  We will only transition to larger 4s and 8s if and when it is safe to do so.

This is an optional program.  However, it is the coaches’ expectation that anyone who commits to training this summer with the team will be at every practice possible and will complete all the workouts. We understand some athletes have jobs or demands that may not allow them to make certain training times.  Athletes should discuss this with the coaches prior to our transition to the water so that we can help you determine if the summer program is the right fit for you.

We will adhere to health and safety guidelines from the CDC, DMV governments, the policies as set in place by Thompson Boat Center, USRowing, and of course our own safety guidelines.

More details can be found in the FAQ document below.

Please keep in mind, circumstances are evolving and some details of the program may need to change as well.

FAQs for the Whitman Crew Summer Program

Q: When does the program start and end?
A: The program will run in 2 or 3 phases, from June 8th through July 31st. With luck, we may be on the water starting June 22nd. If there is sufficient interest in August, we will consider extending the program. 

Q: How will Phase I work?
A: Phase I will be virtual with remote training. This will be a continuation of the sort of things we have been doing over the past 10 weeks. Athletes will have a weekly and monthly training plan that consists of erging, running, and cross-training to build fitness, strength and flexibility. The format will vary from squad to squad, but athletes can expect a required minimum number of steady state meters on the ergometer each week, 2-3 proscribed erg workouts, 2-3 workouts over Zoom, and if conditions allow, live workouts in a socially distanced manner (e.g. track or field workout at Whitman, local park, etc.).

The rising sophomore men will continue to have 5 workouts run by Coach Brian M-F. Several days a week those workouts will be similar to varsity, and when we do in-person workouts in parks or public spaces, those will be incorporated with Varsity.  Rising sophomores should understand that they are now on the Varsity team.

The rising sophomore women will follow the same plan as their Varsity teammates.

Q: How will Phase II work?
A: In Phase II we begin sculling in singles from TBC. It is possible guidelines may be relaxed to allow us to scull as early as June 22nd. The team does not own any sculling boats and we are making arrangements to rent singles and possibly doubles or pairs from Thompson Boat Center.  How many shells we will have access to, and the timing of that access, is not yet determined.  

Once back on the water, we will offer as many sessions as is logistically feasible given the available equipment and health concerns. Our goal is to have a minimum of 4-5 on water sessions, with as many as 9 sessions per week per athlete (as is customary for summer rowing). There will be on-going land training to augment what we do on the water. 

We are well aware that many, or most athletes, do not know how to scull. This is not a problem --we will teach them. There is a continuum of experience and speed from rising sophomores to graduated seniors. We will coach to the ability of the individual athlete.

In the next week or so, we hope to have more clarity on timing of practices and how many shells we will have access available.  That will determine how many shifts we can run in a day and timing of those shifts. We will certainly have that answer by the time we return to the water.  We ask for as much flexibility as possible. When the time comes, if there are any conflicts, athletes should be proactive and notify the coaches ASAP.

Q: How will Phase III work?
A: If possible, we return to rowing in fours and eights in Phase III with a potential for local or regional scrimmages.  Note, however, this is purely hypothetical and may not happen for some time.

Q: What about coxswains?
A: Coxswains are encouraged to scull as well to get a feel for how boats move and power is applied. In addition, coxswains will be involved in running practices, and we will have more opportunities for them to hone their skills through launch observation/coaching, taking notes, and evaluating technique. 

We are also looking to develop a dedicated clinic for our coxswains.

There will be no fees for Coxswains during Phase I.  There will be a fee for Coxswains who scull during Phase II and for the coxswains clinic.

Q: What is the cost per athlete to participate?
A: The total cost for the eight-week program will depend on when we return to the water for Phase II.

The base fee for the eight-week program is $400.  When we move to the water in Phase II, there will be an additional fee of $75-100 for each week remaining in the program to cover the higher cost of boat rental, gas, etc.  Therefore, if we can start Phase II on June 22, we can have six weeks on the water until the end of July and the total fees for the program would be between $850-$1,000.  That's a base fee of $400 plus $450-$600 to cover six weeks of on-the-water expenses. 

Registration and payment will be handled as usual through SportsEngine, our website technology provider. We will distribute a link to the registration page as soon as it is available.

Please be aware, we cannot accommodate requests for partial fees for athletes who will not be available during some of the program because of camps, family vacation travel,  or other commitments. 

Scholarship assistance will be available. Requests and questions about scholarship assistance should be directed to club president, Joe Titlebaum.

Q: Will the program provide transportation for athletes?
A: No.  Athletes must make their own arrangements for transportation to and from any in-person group workouts and TBC once we start rowing on the water. In the past, many athletes have chosen to ride their bikes along the Capital Crescent trail to TBC.

Q: What precautions will be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
A: Many, read on.

  • Before returning to regular practices at TBC, we will publish our expectations of health precautions and guidelines that all athletes need to follow.
  • Daily wellness check through a google form that will need to be submitted prior to practice.  Here is an example.
  • Athletes will wear a mask at all times when not in a boat as recommended by the CDC.
  • Athletes are expected to drive/bike straight to and from practice and home, and not congregate beyond that until social distancing guidelines are relaxed.
  • Athletes and coaches will remain 6 feet apart whenever possible.
  • Shells and sculling oars will be disinfected before and after each use.  
  • Athletes are not to share any food or drink.  Period.

Some of these precautions overlap with TBC's policies and there are additional TBC restrictions such as:

  • Boating in DC Staff will be wearing face masks at all times.
  • ALL equipment, kayaks/SUPs, lifejackets, and paddles will be sanitized after every use.
  • Limited Restroom use will be available, but the rest of the indoor facility at Thompsons Boat Center will be closed.
  • No lockers or dry bags will be available for now, but that is subject to change.
  • There will not be a place to change clothes on-site, please arrive ready to paddle.
  • Food and drink may not be available so please bring your own if needed.

Keep in mind, the current situation is evolving and the program may be changed at any time.  If you have any questions, please contact Dave Charlton by clicking on the envelope icon below.  


Dave Charlton

VP, Communications