Recrewting: Rowing Athletes Commit to College


“Crew is the unsung hero of college acceptances,” senior Sarah Taylor said.

“If you are a sophomore or junior and burned out of your sport, just try crew. If you are athletic and can work hard, it is easy to get recruited,” Taylor said.

In the summer after sophomore year, she was pushed into the boat while spectating during her twin brother and Stanford commit Drew Taylor’s Dallas United Rowing practices. Once falling in love with the sport, Taylor never looked back.

Finding her strength in the back of the boat, Taylor has been a coxswain since stepping in for the first time. This is the position at the stern that steers the boat, checks the speed, switches who is in and out, motivates the team during the race and is responsible for the $80,000 boat during its transport to the water.

Although Taylor is an elite crew athlete, it is hard to get recruited as a coxswain, because schools want the bulk before they can take the brains. “It is not hard to take an injured gymnast and turn her into a coxswain,” Taylor said.

Some days, Taylor wishes she had started rowing full time; however, “[she] much prefers coxing.”

“The rowers win the race and the coxswain lose it, but I love it,” Taylor said.

Junior Teal Cohen, member of the Hockaday varsity crew team, loves the sport as well. “It is incredibly hard work, but I love my team and regattas are really fun,” Cohen said.

Cohen played lacrosse and soccer in middle school, and “[she] was fine at them, but once [she] tried rowing, [she] loved it. “

“I guess I like the water,” Cohen said.

“The feeling of a team is just incredible. Especially on the boys’ teams, they support each other like no other sport and it is impossible not to be super close with the members of your boat,” Taylor said.

Taylor thinks if you want a good shot at going to a top school, crew is the way to do it. Not to say an Ivy League is the right fit for everyone, but three guys on Taylor’s team have officially committed to Ivy League schools without breaking 2000 on their SATs. And according to Taylor, especially non-Ivy Leagues do not care about your grades at all.

Taylor and Cohen are not the first to see crew as a possibility past Hockaday. Kristy Gudmundsson ‘11 at Yale and Elizabeth Michel ’15 at Dartmouth.

Although Michel did not intend on participating in college sports, after the second week at Dartmouth she talked with the coach and immediately began training with the walk-ons. “I have made so many friends through rowing here. It is incredibly time-intensive, but very worth it,” Michel said.

Shortly into the process, Michel found herself as the coxswain for the men’s lightweight. “It is weird at times because I am the one yelling at them the whole time, but I love it,” Michel said.

Even though Michel is on the team now, she regrets not trying to get recruited sooner. “I guess I thought I did not have enough time. I would strongly advise high school athletes to look into it though and keep that door open for them,” Michel said.

Taylor’s teammate did not start until second semester of junior year, and he is already committed. And there is comfort for rowers in the recruiting process because colleges do not specifically care about the grades; they care about how you look on the water, your times and your potential.

According to Cohen, the spring of junior year really determines who will want you. So at this point, Cohen has only emailed a few coaches with the help of her Hockaday coach, Tim McAllister.

– Emily Fuller – Video Editor –