Walk-On Information

Walk-On Information

Novice Women’s Rowing

All female students are invited to walk on to the University at Buffalo Women’s Rowing Team.  No previous experience is needed!

If interested in finding out more about our novice rowing program.  Please fill out the Following On-Line Questionnaire.

How to Begin:

  1. Email:

Coach Sasha Bailey

Novice Women’s Rowing Coach



  1. Fill out online rowing questionnaire and email to Sasha Bailey.
  2. Speak to your counselor and sign up for Intro to rowing. There are 2 sections this fall;
10096 - ATH 101 Lab 1A  - Intro to Rowing - Times TBA

10097 - ATH 101 Lab 1A – Intro to Rowing - Times TBA 


Why does University at Buffalo Women’s Rowing have an intro to rowing class?

To give students at Buffalo the opportunity to learn more about the sport of rowing and explore the opportunity to compete as a rower on the collegiate level. 

At Buffalo, we offer a one credit, six week long rowing class (ATH 101 Lab  - 1A Intro to Rowing)

Do I need experience?

NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY! 'Novice' rowing is, by definition, only for people in their first year of college rowing. 'Novice' was created so women can learn the sport and race against athletes of similar experience at other schools.

What does walk-on, novice and varsity mean?

Walk-on means that you are joining the sport without any previous experience. Novice means that you are a beginner, and are in your first year of college athletics. Varsity refers both to the class of the sport, as well as to the rank of the athlete (varsity athletes are experienced and are generally 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year returners). Sometimes really great beginners will have natural talent for rowing and will be asked to compete at the varsity level.

How do I know if I’ll be any good?

Trust your coaches to get you where you need to be. If you really want to try something new, and you are a positive person who likes learning and challenging herself, then come out. Bring a positive, hardworking attitude and we will work hard to ensure you have every opportunity for success.

What about my grades?

Many incoming freshman are concerned that this will be too much for them along with school. We have found just the opposite. The members of our team have a higher average GPA than the female student population. Further, you will be given all the same resources that every other athlete at UB receives: tutoring, regular sessions with an athletic-academic coordinator, and a study-hall just for athletes to name a few!

I have lots and lots of class conflicts?

We understand class conflicts and will work with you on this. We are flexible with the novice practice times usually offering a number of different times in the fall so that athletes can fit it into their schedule. We determine practice times once we have everyone schedule and try to ensure they work for everyone.  This year we are offering 2 class sections to help interested athletes fit rowing into their schedule.

So how does practice work?

We being with teaching you the basic rowing stroke on land and in our barge on North Campus.  Once you are comfortable with the rowing technique we transition to the boathouse on Tonawanda Creak where you begin rowing in racing shells.  During this time you learn how to effectively move an eight together.  Our novice training program is developed to not only teach you how to row effectively but also to help you build the strength and endurance needed to develop into a successful collegiate rower.  Though most novice start with little to no rowing experience they quickly excel to the collegiate level learning how to race and compete successfully as a Division I athletes.

What is the rowing season?

Our rowing team trains year round starting in September and concluding with the CAA’s in late May where we can qualify for the NCAA Championships. The season is broken into three separate sections, each section having a different training focus, but all of them preparing the athletes for rowing and competing at the Division 1 level.

During the fall the team focuses mainly on rowing technique, building strength and cardiovascular endurance. Fall races are longer, usually over 3 miles. True novice rowers with no past experience will learn the basic rowing stroke and begin to build fitness required for competitive racing during this time.
Beginning in December the focus shifts to indoor training. Athletes will work to increase their muscular strength and continue to build their cardiovascular base, which will be crucial to them as they enter the spring racing season. This is accomplished with a training schedule that includes weight lifting along with intensive training on an indoor rowing machine.
The spring racing season being in March and run through May. Spring season is the most competitive part of the racing schedule. Spring races cover 2,000 meters. We resume water training where we work on racing technique and make use of the strength, endurance and power built during the fall and winter.
What are the differences between Lightweight/Openweight/Coxswain?

Within the UB rowing team there are two sub-squads: Openweight and Lightweight. Lightweights are women of smaller stature who volunteer to row at 130lbs or lighter. If you are naturally around 115-130lbs, you should definitely consider lightweight rowing. Open weight rowing is for everyone over 135lbs.

Positions on the team consist of rowers and coxswains.  Coxswains are generally the smallest team members (usually 110lbs and under) but they have the biggest personality. A cox’s primary responsibility is to motivate the athletes and steer the rowing shell. They learn the basic rowing technique, motivation and their rower’s personalities.  They then use these to coordinate and command the athletes in their boat.  They are in charge of steering the boat, challenging the crew and implementing practice and race plans.  When we look for coxswains we are looking for competitive individual who can take charge of any situation and have the desire to lead and motivate not only themselves but also other individuals on their team. 
What type of athlete are you looking for?

We are looking for competitive individuals with and an athletic background.  Athletes who consider themselves team players and are eager to learn more about the sport of rowing. Rowers are determined, competitive and have a drive to succeed. Rowing involves a lot of leverage, so height is an advantage but the sport is a true measure of heart! Average height for a rower is usually 5’9 and above though athletes vary in size. Power and intensity are often found in unique packages. Our rowers come from a variety of sports backgrounds such as basketball, volleyball, track, cross country and swimming.  These athletes find that UB Rowing not only presents them with the opportunity to compete at the Division I level, but also provides them with an amazing team atmosphere, a competitive environment and continual athletic challenges. 

Why try out for rowing?

You will become part of a family and get in the best shape you have ever been in.  You will have the opportunity to learn a new sport, be a part of an amazing team and compete on the collegiate level.  You will have the chance to race for a CAA Championship, and NCAA Championship bid, while taking advantage of everything the Athletic Department has to offer (tutors, athlete-only computer lab, personal academic coordinator, athletic training and medicine, and team travel.)