Class FAQS

Frequently Asked Questions:

I am a complete beginner. Should I be taking Learn to Row 1? Yes, 95% of all Learn to Row students are complete beginners.

What is the difference between sculling and sweep rowing? In sculling, each rower has two oars.  Sculling is practiced most commonly in single-person boats, but can be done in boats with multiple people.  In sweep rowing, each rower has only one oar, a starboard oar or a port oar.  As a result, sweep boats contain rowers in even numbers, typically two, four, or eight people. Additional Rowing Terminology

Will I learn to scull or sweep? It depends on the class you take. Learn To Row 1 & Next Strokes teach sculling in stable single-person boats, i.e. wherries, Maas Aeros, or Bays. LTR Sweep teaches only sweep rowing. Regardless of your ultimate rowing aspirations, LWRC believes that first learning to scull well in a single-person boat will help you to become a better sculler and/or transition into sweep.

Is there any recommended reading material? The Sculler at Ease written by Rowing Hall of Famer and long-time LWRC coach Frank Cunningham is an excellent resource for beginner and experienced rowers. Purchase your copy on our merchandise page and pick it up at the boathouse.

What should I wear? General rule of thumb is nothing too baggy. A rower’s clothing is the same as that of a cyclist or runner. Tights and spandex are ideal. But shorts, sweats, or comfortable pants are fine. Pants should not be too baggy as they could get caught in the movable seat tracks. Layering is good for the colder months, including a hat. And don’t forget a good pair of sunglasses for sunny weather.

What kind of shoes do I need? You don’t need shoes for rowing, only warm socks. The boat has built-in clogs or shoes for your feet. Wear a pair of loose shoes that are easy to take on and off on the dock.

What if I miss a class during my Learn to Row session? In LTR1, it is critical you do not miss class. If you think you may miss one of the first 3 classes, we recommend signing up for another session. The first class includes safety training and orientation and you will go on the water. In LTR Sweep, it is also critical to not miss the first 3 classes. Similar to LTR1, the first classes include safety training, orientation, and rowing on the water.

How many people are in each session? LTR1 & Next Strokes classes are limited to 6-8 rowers. We try to keep the number low to ensure quality instruction for each participant. LTR Sweep will be limited to 10 people since participants will be rowing in team boats, usually 8s and 4s.

How does the waitlist work? We operate on a first come, first serve basis. Once a class has reached its limit, we will begin the waitlist. If you are on the waitlist, we will let you know if a spot has opened up in the class. Complete your float test and sign your waivers in the event you are accepted off the waitlist. We highly recommend to signup early to successfully register for your first choice. Classes often fill 30-60 days before they begin, especially during the summer time.

What is the Learn to Row refund policy? You can cancel up to 7 days prior to a class beginning and receive a full refund. If you cancel within 7 days prior to a class beginning, you will not receive a full refund unless we can fill your spot from the waitlist or someone else signing up. If we are unable to fill your spot, we will give you credit toward a future LTR class. If you cancel within 24 hours of the first session, you will not receive a refund or a credit toward a future class. If you have any questions regarding this policy, please contact the LWRC Office

What fitness level do I need to row and do I need to be a specific physical type to row? LWRC has members of all shapes and sizes…and ages! Rowing is an athletic endeavor but the focus in Learn to Row is on proper technique and having fun. If you have concern about a physical limitation, please contact us to determine if rowing is right for you.

I have experience in other water sports. Can I skip LTR 1 and go straight to LTR Next Strokes? If you have never rowed before, it is important to begin with LTR1 so you can learn and build on the fundamentals of the rowing stroke.

Will I end up in the water? In LTR1 and LTR Sweep, you begin rowing in stable boats. While it is a rare occurrence for someone to end up in the water during LTR, the possibility does exist. It is always best to have dry clothes in the event you do end up in the water. When you row, you will always be accompanied by a coach in a launch boat to assist you.

What is the float test? The float test is to prove that you can swim. The test consists of treading water for 10 minutes while wearing a long-sleeve shirt and long pants, and putting on a life jacket during the final minute. The test can be administered by any certified lifeguard. Fitness clubs and city pools are common places to take the test. Please call ahead to make sure the pool can accommodate you. Most pools perform the float test during their open swim times. In the summer you can also take the float test at Seattle area beaches with Life Guards on duty.

What to bring to a float test: Photo identification, $3.00 to get into the pool, long pants /long sleeved shirt, change of clothes

All LTR participants must take a float test and return the form to LWRC.  Float Test Form

I’ve taken LTR Next Strokes and/or LTR Sweep. Now what? Become a member of Lake Washington Rowing Club! You can join the LWRC Mixed Masters (more information here: Masters Programs), sign-up for a sculling program, or row on your own after completing a flip test. Talk with your LTR coach about becoming a member. Join LWRC!

What is a flip test? All new members of LWRC must complete a flip test before taking a club boat out on their own. A flip test is done right off the main dock at LWRC. You will row out in one of our designated flip test boats with one of our flip test facilitators, show you have mastered the basic rowing skills, actually flip the boat completely over, and successfully re-enter the boat. We usually conduct flip tests from April until about October, depending on the weather and water temperature.

Where should we park? The Fremont Boathouse does not have reserved parking, but the area has good street parking, especially in the evenings. You can use the lot right next to the boathouse for a small fee.