Frequently Asked Questions

You will find a copy of our Team Handbook HERE to answer many of your questions.

What is the Fairfax High School Crew Club?

The Fairfax High School (FHS) Crew Club is a Virginia High School League (VHSL) sponsored interscholastic club activity.   Club sports do not receive financial aid from the school or the county. The Fairfax Crew Boosters promote and support the rowing program at Fairfax.  To qualify as an official interscholastic sport, the athletic activity must be VHSL sponsored and have participation of greater than fifty per cent of the high schools in the county.  However, even if more than half the county's high schools were to offer crew, the club status would likely not change due to the costs and the limited facilities available for the sport. 

Can I letter in crew?

Yes. Varsity letters are awarded for the Spring season at the end of the school year. Lettering criteria are provided in the handbook.  

I have never rowed before. Can I still do crew?

Almost all students who join the team have ZERO previous rowing experience.  If you are willing to work hard, then Fairfax Crew is for you. The crew program provides opportunities for a wide range of athletic abilities and can help a non-athlete become highly trained and competitive over four years of high school participation.

Is there a body height or size requirement for rowing?

No. Rowing is a very serious sport and takes a lot of dedication.  You do need strength, endurance and technique, all of which you will develop through the program. For rowers, height is an advantage, but cannot replace strength and technique.  There are lightweight competitions for smaller rowers. Each boat has four or eight rowers and the coxswain.  The coxswain commands the boat and gives instructions to the crew. 

What is a coxswain?

A coxswain is the leader of a rowing shell.  During a race, the coxswain is also a commander and tactician. Coxswain are usually small and light. The best coxswains are smart, light, verbal and confident. If you are interested in coxing, please contact a coach since we are always looking for the best and brightest coxswains

When are tryouts?

Fairfax Crew accepts all students. No previous athletic, rowing experience or tryouts are necessary. There are no tryouts to become a member of the crew club; however: because crew is a water sport all new team members are required to pass a swim test to show they can tread water for 2 minutes and swim 100 meters--life vests are not worn in the crew boats. 


Will I need to buy special rowing equipment?

The FHS Booster Club collects dues to provide most of the needed equipment.  The crew team members are responsible for their personal clothing including the racing uniforms, which are generally organized by a team uniform coordinator. For practices, rowers are recommended to have running shoes, tee shirts and shorts. Rowers may purchase optional team jackets, sweats, rain wear, gear bags, caps and more.  Because crew regattas are from March to May, weather may be very cold to very hot.  Rowers are asked to dress accordingly.

Where can I find forms?





When does the season start and when is practice?

Crew is a spring sport.  Conditioning begins in November using the rowing machines (ergs).  Land training begins in mid-January, with water practice starting on the Occoquan, at Sandy Run Park, in late February for experienced rowers and early March for new rowers.  Practice is after school, five days a week. Races are held on Saturdays, and most of Fairfax's competitions are at the Occoquan in Virginia. The season culminates in May with select competitive boats entering the prestigious Stotesbury Cup Regatta in Philadelphia and the Scholastic Rowing Association National Championships held at different locales each year.

​Where do we practice?

During the off-season (Nov - Feb) team members condition at the high school doing land training; in the winter. Winter training is an unofficial part of crew. Winter training is not required but is highly recommended for anyone who is not doing a winter sport. It is open to all students, not just rowers. Workouts consist of weight work, running and "erging."


During spring sport season, we practice after school each day at Sandy Run Park.  The Sandy Run boathouse is about a 25-minute drive from Fairfax High. While every reasonable attempt is made to transport the students to Sandy Run through carpooling (with great success,) ultimately it is up to the individual student to find transportation.

See our Park Info and Rowing Facility pages for more details and directions.



​Why do rowers have to pay dues and fees?

Most of the expense of crew is attributable to the equipment and maintenance costs.  An 8-person shell (boat) costs between $30,000 and $40,000.  All of the equipment requires maintenance and ultimately needs to be replaced.  There are also fees for boat storage, insurance, equipment maintenance fees, coaches' salaries and administrative expenses.  The rowers' dues cover some of the costs, primarily our administrative, insurance and maintenance costs.  The rest of the funds needed to run the program must be raised by the rowers and the boosters club in a series of fundraising events. Our fundraisers include pumpkin sales, canvassing for donations, Celebrate Fairfax, and signing up corporate or individual sponsors. For a two-season sport, the cost is comparable to a school sponsored sport.

How big is the team?

The team is typically made up of 35-65 student athletes. The team in 2018-2019, including boys and girls, rowers and coxswains, had 37 members.


How do I join the team? 

Visit our homepage or click here to Join FHS Crew.


Attend one of our information and registration meetings; we have one in the fall and one in the winter. Come to winter training (starting Nov) and meet the coaches, they will be happy to answer any questions you may have and get the ball rolling on joining. Contact a coach if you have questions!