The University of Pittsburgh Rowing Club, informally referred to as Pitt Crew, was formed in 1988 by a group of students who wanted to bring the sport of rowing to Pitt. 29 years later, the team has established its place amongst student organizations as one of the top competitive club sports. Our membership is currently around 70, including varsity and novice rowers.
Rowing at the collegiate level provides elite athletes with new physical challenges to overcome. New recruits usually have backgrounds in running, swimming, wrestling, football, soccer or basketball, and are looking for a new arena in which to excel. Crew at the University of Pittsburgh gives motivated and energetic students the opportunity to come together and be a part of this proud tradition. Pitt Crew is an intercollegiate club sport that competes against schools from the Big East and the Big Ten, and from all over the east coast. The team participates in regattas in one of the most storied rowing cities in the nation, Philadelphia, as well other locations. The team also enters in the Head of the Ohio, which takes place every October here in the city of Pittsburgh.
Crew is the sport of rowing. We use propel special racing boats, called shells, with specialized oars. The boats are long, narrow, and made of advanced materials to be as light and stiff as possible. Fixed to the shells are riggers, which hold the oarlocks through which the oars rotate. Inside the boat, the shoes are fixed to the boat and the seat slides back and forth, so that your whole body is engaged in moving the boat. To top it off, you face backward and carry around a coxswain, the person responsible for steering and commanding the boat.
We row primarily on the Allegheny River, but sometimes we will row out to the Ohio or Monongahela Rivers. Our boats are stored in our bay at Three Rivers Rowing Association on Washington's Landing. Practices are divided between novices (those in their first year of rowing) in the afternoons, and the more experience rowers in the mornings before classes. When the weather or river conditions do not allow us to row, we work out in our erg and weight room in Bellefield Hall.
Previous experience is in no way required, but certainly welcome. Most rowers on the team did not row in high school, including some of our most successful atheletes. If you are a high school rower interested in rowing for Pitt, please let us know via this form.
Racing in rowing is one of the most exhilarating things you can do. Fall races are longer, with staggered starts, called head races. Spring racing is an intense, side-by-side two-kilometer sprint, where you lay everything on the line and push as hard and fast as you can. Any rower can tell you there's nothing else like it. On weekends, we travel to Philadelphia, Virginia, New Jersey, and other locations where the regattas (races) are. We compete against a myriad of teams from the east coast, and some from much farther.
Outside of practices, many teammates form life-long friendships, find roommates, and connect to alumni in preparing for life after college.