Picking the Right Rowing Camp: The Art of Lowering Your Erg Score

Summer is here, and for many rowers, it means one thing: rowing camp. But is a rowing camp really what you need to get recruited for college? In this post, we’ll discuss why focusing on your erg score might be a better strategy.

Let’s start by clearing up a common misconception. Most high school rowers believe that attending a summer rowing camp is an essential part of their journey towards college recruitment. However, this belief is not entirely accurate. Sure, rowing camps are excellent platforms for rising sophomores or junior high school kids transitioning into high school. But if you are a sophomore rising junior, the game changes dramatically.

The truth is, if you aim to get recruited to a college as a rower, you are evaluated as an individual. Admissions primarily consider your GPA and, critically, your erg score. For the uninitiated parent, the erg score is the time taken to row 2000m on a Concept2 rowing machine, a metric widely used by college coaches to rank their prospective recruits.

In light of this, focusing on lowering your erg score should be your priority once you are a sophomore rising junior. It is not just about training; it’s about training smart. Consequently, attending a summer rowing camp that emphasizes on-the-water training might not be the best use of your time.

To illustrate this point, let’s bring in a widely-used rowing phrase: “what’s your name, and what’s your erg score?” This expression underscores the importance of the erg score when identifying the potential in a junior rower. The third question usually involves whether you row on port or starboard. But the erg score always comes second, right after your name, highlighting its significance.

The irony is that most rowing clubs don’t emphasize lowering erg scores. They focus more on on-the-water results, which often leads to a misconception that ergometers (ergs) don’t float, meaning erg scores don’t translate to actual rowing performance. This belief is doubly misguided. If a rower has a good erg score, it typically indicates to the average club rowing coach that such rower will also achieve impressive results on the water, this can be true but most of the time, because of lack of proper boat moving skill, resulting in the opposite. MORE OFTEN, rowers have much better on the WATER results than what their erg score indicates.

Now, there’s no denying that making the junior national team or winning a medal at the national championship can boost your chances of getting recruited. But remember, only a small fraction of rowers make it to these prestigious ranks. For the vast majority, it’s your individual erg score that will make the biggest difference in securing a college recruitment opportunity.

In conclusion, the path to college recruitment for a rower is not about the right rowing camp; it’s about individual improvement and, above all, your erg score. So, this summer, instead of searching for the perfect rowing camp, why not set up a smart training plan to lower your erg score? It might just be the ticket to making your college rowing dreams come true.