- Is crew an official sport of Walter Johnson High School?
- No. WJ Crew is a club sport, as are all crew programs at Montgomery County public schools. WJ Crew is a self-sustaining, non-profit corporation operated by parents and guardians of rowers and coxswains. We welcome all rowers, men and women, from all grades. You need not have rowing experience to join.
- Are you part of a league?
- WJ Crew is part of the Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Rowing Association, better known as WMIRA. The league also includes Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Gonzaga, Whitman, Jackson-Reed (former Wilson), DeMatha, Elizabeth Seton, Holton Arms, and Holy Cross.
- How big is your team?
- In recent seasons, WJ Crew has had close to 70 members. The number fluctuates from year to year.
- Where are your boats?
- Our training home is the Bladensburg Waterfront Park.
- What programs do you offer and what time of year do you row?
- WJ Crew’s season comprises three parts: fall, winter conditioning, and spring.Our fall season normally runs from September through the beginning of November. Returning rowers have weekday practices on the water at Bladensburg. New rowers — novices — begin by attending a learn-to-row session (if they have not already completed such a program). The novices then join the varsity rowers on the water for the remainder of the fall season, which generally includes two to three regattas.
Winter conditioning begins after the Thanksgiving break and runs through the end of February. All activities are held at Walter Johnson High School, and include weightlifting and workouts on rowing machines (ergs).
Our spring season runs from March through mid May and typically includes eight regattas. One of the highlights of the season is the Stotesbury Cup Regatta in Philadelphia, the country’s largest high school regatta. We head to Philadelphia on a Thursday morning and return Saturday. Fees for the Stotesbury Cup Regatta and for SRAA Nationals are not included in the spring season fees.
- How much does crew cost?
- Costs vary by season and are determined by the Board to cover operating expenses. For the 2022-2023 season, fall fees are in the $900-$1,000 range, Winter Conditioning is approximately $600, and Spring costs are $1200. In general these fees cover the cost of practices and regattas, including coach led practices, round trip bus transportation for water practices and most regatta costs. There will be additional travel expenses for Regattas that require an overnight hotel stay.
- Do you give refunds?
- For each season, if a team member departs before the season begins, we refund 80 percent of fees; after the first week of practice, we offer a 50 percent refund. After the first month, there is no refund. Uniform fees and equipment fee contributions are not refundable.
- Where are regattas and what can I expect?
- Regattas generally take place on Saturdays, although some are on Sundays. Locations may be in Bladensburg, at our boathouse, or at the Anacostia Community Boathouse, in Baltimore, along the Occoquan in Virginia, or along the Potomac in Georgetown. Regattas normally begin early, which means you may have to have your rower in place by 7:00 a.m. or earlier You may not get back home until 5:00. However, those days are a lot of fun. We set up several tents, and parents bring lots of food and drinks.
- Will I need to buy a uniform?
- Yes. For regattas, team members must be in matching spandex uniforms. Cost is approximately $100.
- Will I have to help with fundraising?
- Yes. Rowers’ fees do not cover the full costs of running WJ Crew. We attempt to make up the uncovered portion through fundraising events that include such things as a raffle, a plant sale, and restaurant nights at local eateries. These efforts can only succeed through the enthusiastic participation of both rowers and their families.
- What else do families have to do?
- Crew is a time-consuming (but rewarding!) sport, and not only for the rowers. As a club sport, we depend on parents and guardians as partners. We depend on each other to not just help with fundraising, but to provide weekend transportation; provide food and beverages at regattas; hot pasta dinners the night before regattas; and assist at the regattas. Yes, it’s a lot of work. We also have fun, make friends, and always know that we’re helping our kids and their team.
- Are you part of the Combined Federal Campaign?
- If you’re looking for an easy way to help the team, yes, WJ Crew is a Combined Federal Campaign organization: CFC 51167.
- Do you have team events?
- Absolutely. During the Spring season, on the Fridays before regattas, we have pasta dinners at various parents’ houses. We strive to have monthly fundraising dinners at local eateries. We have an end-of-season cookout. And our team captains often organize team building events such as hikes and group yoga and stretching sessions.
- What do I need to do to get started with the team?
- If you are interested in joining WJ Crew, please start by getting in touch with a coach. Before you start with the team, you will need to:
- fill out the medical form
- sign the USRowing waiver
- do a swim test
All forms are due before you can participate fully. Rowers who join in the fall participate in a Learn to Row program where they learn the basics before signing up for the full season. For those who join during the winter or spring, contact the coaches about doing a “trial week” before you have to commit fully to the season.
Other questions? Please contact us »