Q. What is Haddon Township Crew Club (HTCC)? A. HTCC was established in 2003 by a group of rowing enthusiasts who wanted to promote the sport of rowing and provide Haddon Township youth with an affordable opportunity to experience the extraordinary benefits of crew. While HTCC is an approved club sport at Haddon Township High School, it operates as an independent, non-profit organization and receives no financial support from the school district.
The program is recognized for its top-quality coaching staff, its dedicated athletes, and its success in local, regional, and national competitions. HTCC has medaled several times at Stotesbury, the largest high school regatta in the nation. HTCC was one of only three public school teams to participate at the 2015 US Rowing Youth Nationals where HTCC rowers earned the national ranking of 13th fastest girls varsity quad and 14th fastest boys varsity quad.
HTCC athletes also are outstanding students who are strongly committed to academics; the discipline and time-management skills needed to become an outstanding athlete often translate into excellence in schoolwork.
Q. What's rowing all about? A. Rowing is an exciting, competitive sport involving skill, teamwork, strength, and endurance. Teams are organized by skill and, in some cases, weight. Crews are identified by the number of rowers in a shell (boat) and the type of rowing. There are 2 types of rowing: sweep rowing and sculling – which is what HTCC does.
Sweep rowing is where each rower uses 1 oar, with both hands on that single oar. Sweep rowers typically row in boats ranging from 4 or 8 rowers and often times have a coxswain – an onboard captain responsible for steering, pacing and race strategy. In sculling, each rower has 2 oars, one for each hand. These boats tend to be smaller with 1, 2 or 4 rowers. Sculling boats do not have coxswains; the rowers themselves are responsible for steering, pacing and race strategy.
Rowing is often called the ultimate team sport. The focus never centers on a single individual player. Success in crew requires all rowers to complete their strokes in perfect unison. All must surrender to the rhythm of the boat. To think and move as one can be difficult for the fiercely competitive athletes who are drawn to rowing, but when done there is no feeling to compare with flying down the river
Q. Can I letter in crew? A. Yes. Haddon Township High School recognize the program with varsity status and thus provides Varsity Letters to qualifying crew members. Varsity Letters are awarded at the Spring sports awards ceremony to rowers identified by the coaches as having fulfilled the requirements for varsity status.
Q. Do I have to be a good athlete to do crew? A. If you are willing to work hard and are able to pass a basic swim test, you can become a rower. Crew demands endurance, strength, discipline, skill, and teamwork. All students can develop endurance and strength through regular training. Coaches, team captains, and other experienced team members teach discipline, skills, and teamwork. The crew program provides opportunities for students with a wide range of athletic abilities.
Q. I’ve never rowed before. Can I still do crew? A. Yes. Most students who join the team have no previous rowing experience.
Q. Are there any height or weight requirements for rowers? A. Not really. Although rowers in some boats (classed as lightweights) must be within a weight limit (typically 130 pounds for women and 155 pounds for men), there are no upper or lower weight limits for rowers in most boats. Although height can be an advantage for rowers, strength and endurance are more important.
Q. Do I have to try out for the team? What is required to be a member? A. Haddon Township Crew accepts all interested and motivated students. There are no try-outs and no previous rowing or athletic experience is required. Rowers must reach a certain level of ability before being allowed to race.
All new students, must pass a swim test conducted by HTCC to demonstrate that they can swim 100 meters and tread water for ten minutes, fully dressed. (Personal flotation devices are not worn in the shells, so all rowers must be good swimmers.)
Membership also requires:
Rower is enrolled at Haddon Township High School
Complete all required paperwork
Maintain academic eligibility
Pay required fees.
Attend practices regularly.
Participate in mandatory club fundraising activities.
Q. How much does it cost to participate? A. Registration fees for the Fall Program (Sept-Nov) are $500; the Winter-Spring Program (Jan-May) is $850. Dues may be paid in installments. HTCC also has is a modest scholarship fund.
Q. Why does it cost so much? A. The club is entirely self-funded. HTCC receives no financial aid from the school system or the county or state. Most of the expense of crew is attributable to equipment, maintenance costs, insurance and coaches’ salaries.
A new 4-person shell (boat) costs between $15,000 and $25,000. Oars cost more than $400 each, ergs more than $900. Launches and outboard motors also are expensive. All of this equipment must be purchased, maintained and, ultimately, replaced. The club also must pay fees for boat storage, insurance, and administrative expenses. Rowers’ fees cover approximately a third of the club’s total costs; rowers and their parents must raise the other half through a series of fundraising events.
Q. Are there any other required/optional expenses? A. Yes. Each rower must purchase a uniform (a one-piece, sleeveless unitard specific for rowing) that costs approximately $90. For many HTCC rowers, the Uni is a one-time charge as the team does not change the uniform design each year. Optional team apparel (sweats, shirts, hats, visors, jackets, etc.) also can be ordered at an additional cost. Rowers are expected to participate in the HTCC sponsored indoor rowing competition, Haddon Hammer which costs $15.
Q. Must parents do anything other than pay the bills? A. Yes. Every family must contribute to the effort by participating in fundraising activities and volunteering at our regattas. Help also is needed to maintain equipment, transport students to and from practices and regattas, and support the club in a multitude of ways.
Q. What is the schedule for crew? When does the season start? A. HTCC operates a Fall and a Spring program. Rowers can enroll in either or both sessions. HTCC does not require rowers to participate throughout the year.
The Fall Season, much shorter than Spring, runs from early September to early November and consists of five regattas. Fall practices are conducted on Cooper River, weather permitting.
The Spring program begins with winter conditioning that starts early January. Winter conditioning enables rowers to intensify their training, focusing on building strength and endurance. Rowers work out every day except Sundays. The ergs (rowing machines) feature prominently in winter conditioning. Once Cooper River is deemed rowable, practices move to the water, and practice times switch from afternoon to early morning. Spring on-the-water practices typically are held four or five days a week. The Spring Regatta Season, runs from early March through May and consists of about nine regattas – most of which occur locally on either the Cooper River or Schuylkill River in Philadelphia.
Q. Does this mean I can’t participate in any other sport at Haddon Township High School? A. No. Many rowers participate in other sports (swimming, basketball). Rowers who plan to participate in a winter sport are required to discuss this with their crew coaches to arrange for a modified training/conditioning program that does not conflict with the other sport. You cannot, however, participate in another spring sport. HTCC rowers are not required to do both Fall and Spring crew.
Q. Where does the team practice? A. During the spring season, HTCC rows on the Cooper River out of the Camden County Boathouse. Land training and conditioning sessions are held throughout the school year in the erg room at High School.
Q. How are crews (or "boats") selected? A. All boat selection decisions are made by the coaches. They consider many factors when making these decisions, including attitude, attendance, consistency, ergometer scores, racing performance and past experience. Boat assignments may change during the regatta season.
Q. What about safety? A. Although crew is a water sport with some inherent dangers, safety is the club’s top priority. First and foremost, we emphasize boat safety and the proper use of all equipment. Our coaches are trained for any emergency situation. Boats are supervised by coaches in motor launches at all times. Although rowers do not wear personal flotation devices, coaches and anyone riding with them in the launches are required to do so, and to carry enough PFDs in the launch for the rowers they are supervising.
Q. Sounds good! How do I sign up? A. Registration materials and instructions can be found on HTCC website (htcrewclub.org). Winter/Spring Registration is generally the first three weeks of December (late registration is permitted up to mid-February). Fall registration generally runs the 3 weeks prior to school opening. In-school registration events are held during registration periods. These events provide new members a chance to meet and chat with members of the team and other crew parents.
Parents of interested students can also attend the monthly membership meetings held the 1st Wednesday of each month 7pm in Room 8 of HT High School.
Q. I still have a few questions who can answer them? A. Please contact the HTCC President with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boys Varsity Quad competes at US Rowing Youth Nationals, Sarasota Florida, June 2015