Notes for Novice Rowers & Parents

As a followup to the meeting that we held for Novice rowers and parents after the Shamrock Row, the following is a summary of the notes we discussed. You can also reference this information on the Mercy Crew website under Novices.

Spring Registration

  • Mercy Crew Online Registration for Spring was due Mon. 3/24 and should be completed at this point. If you have not done so, please complete ASAP.
  • Parent Permission/ Medical Recertification should have been turned in by March 24 in order for the Nurse’s Office to clear the rower to start the spring season on Monday, April 1. No rower will be allowed to participate in practice after April 1 unless cleared by the Mercy Nurse’s Office.
  • US Rowing Memberships must be up to date or if a new rower, registered for and US Rowing Waivers need to be completed for 2019 for all rowers.
  • A Swim Test needs to be completed only once prior to beginning your Mercy Crew first novice season.
  • Concussion Baseline Testing needs to be completed once a year. (See instructions under the Registration tab on the Mercy Crew website).

Uniforms & Apparel

The Mercy Crew Uni and pink hat or visor should have been ordered through SewSporty by March 15. The Mercy Crew team Jacket is an optional ordered item, but is highly recommended. White mock turtle neck long sleeve tech shirt and the bright pink sports bra, are required and can be purchased anywhere. A pair of long navy leggings to wear under the uni are also helpful especially in the early spring when still quite cold on the water. Recommend rain boots for frequently wet, muddy spring conditions.
Spring Practices

Monday, April 1st we will return to GWC for spring season practices.

Girls travel to GWC after school by car pool.  The car pool coordinator arranges volunteer parents to give rides to the boathouse.

If your daughter can not attend practice you must use the No Practice Link on the website homepage or to notify the coaches and car pool coordinator.  This is crucial as the carpool will wait for your daughter or there may be a volunteer who can be dismissed if you daughter doesn’t need the ride.

Practice at GWC starts at 3:30pm and ends at 5:45pm. Early dismissal can be difficult as it means the whole boat or boats have to return to the dock early.  We row from GWC down to the bridge by RIT in Henrietta, so returning early can really cut into our water time.

Parking for pick up can be tight around the parking circle. You can make plans for your daughter to meet you in the upper lot by the bike trail if needed.  Do not make plans to pick up your daughter in the lot by the ice arena though, we can not supervise them that far away.   Coaches will not leave the boathouse until all the girls are picked up.  We don’t mind waiting but some of the coaches have other coaching responsibilities after Mercy’s practice at GWC.

Spring is very cold. If your daughter is a coxin she should dress like she is going skiing. Rowers should dress in layers, no exposed arms or legs, warm socks, change of clothes in your car just in case.
Spring Regattas

Water can be rough in the early spring and if so, the first events race coordinators will cancel are novice races.  Most likely the novice will not race at Baldwinsville unless we have a really good thaw starting very soon.

Trailer Loading Day – usually the Friday before a race weekend.  We take the riggers, which hold to oars to the boat, off and load and strap the boats to a trailer. Takes about 2 hours to complete. For rigging and de-rigging boats, we recommend every rower have their own simple 7/16” wrench (i.e. rower’s wrench). Can be found inexpensively at any hardware store.

Trailer Unloading Day – can be the evening after a race or the next day where we take the boats and other equipment off of the trailer, re-rig the boats and put them back up on the racks in the boathouse. Also takes about 2 hours.

Spectating for a Race & Dressing for the Weather

​Crew is not much of a spectators sport, binoculars are helpful, noise makers to save your voice, and best pictures are usually by the trailer, launching area, maybe the launching dock.  Spring can be cold, wet and muddy. Be sure to have rain boots and a waterproof jacket and umbrella on hand and plenty of dry clothes/ layers, socks, gloves, hats, blankets, etc on hand and pack things in waterproof bags to keep them dry if possible. Boats will leave for their race to “launch” approximately 30-45 minutes before their race happens.  The actual race only takes about 6 minutes.  If you want great pictures of your kids rowing come to practice and ride along with the coaches.  Most of the time we are alone and parents make great ballast (weight we use to hold the bow of our launches down)!

Hospitality is provided at each regatta with a prepared lunch and either a hot breakfast or lite breakfast grab & go options. The cost of meals provided by hospitality is included as part of your seasonal registration fee. All families are asked to indicate how many from their family will be attending the regatta and eating for the day about a week prior to the regatta via a SignUp Genius link. Parents, usually a combination of a couple of Varisty and a couple of Novice parents, signup to volunteer to plan and prepare the meal for each regatta. In addition, all of the grab and go snacks and staple hospitality items need to be provided for each regatta. All families are expected to sign up for at least one item per regatta to bring. A separate SignUp Genius link will be sent out prior to each regatta for that as well.

Baldwinsville Scrimmage is held in Syracuse, NY this year. This event traditionally alternates locations every other year between Syracuse and here at GWC. It is an opportunity for a preseason scrimmage against just one team. It is very casual, and not a formal race. It’s an opportunity to get the girls on the water in a race situation.  The host team provides the hospitality, usually breakfast snacks and lunch. This will be an early morning drive, race, and then return to GWC and unload that evening.  Full Day.

Ithaca Ice Breaker, held in Ithaca, NY is a more formal race with several teams competing.  Very early morning, plan accordingly for the 1.5 hr drive. Load Friday, Race Sunday, most likely unload that day unless we get home very late. Cornell University Boathouse is at the race site and sometimes a recruiting talk will be offered during the break in racing midday.

John Bennett Regatta is held in Buffalo NY, at West Side Row Club on Sun, May 3. At the foot of the Peace Bridge, please be aware if you turn the wrong way you will end up on the road to cross the Peace Bridge to Canada, so please follow the signs carefully.  You usually have to park quite a ways from the boathouse and walk.  It is an early day arrival, plan on being there ALL DAY. Expect to see quite a few good Canadian crews competing in this regatta as well. We will unload the trailer at GWC the day after unless we finish and head back early. Point of interest, Frank Lloyd Wright Fontana Boathouse on the race site to see.

NY State Rowing Championships (i.e. States) is held in Saratoga Springs,NY on Mothers Day weekend. We load the boats on the Thursday before. On Friday the girls will be excused and miss school as a travel and practice day, they will need to arrive at the site in Saratoga early afternoon around 2pm to rig the boats and do a practice row.  There will be a Team Meeting in the evening at the hotel. We stay at the hotel for 2 nights – Friday and Saturday.  Novice rowers only race on Saturday. They are head to head races 9-10 lanes across – it’s pretty amazing to watch.  Novices are expected to stay through Sunday even though not rowing then. Both days are full days, expect that it is often muddy and spring weather, sometimes rain. Parking on site has been $10-$15/ day. They are very strict. Note the race site is actually a trailer park (Lee’s Trailer Park). Expect a bit of a walk from the parking areas to the race site and hospitality tents. Official NYS Rowing Championship merchandise will be available provided by Regattawear at the Official Merchandise tent. If interested in apparel, we recommend to select and make purchases early as many sizes and styles will sell out. Typically there are a number of other rowing related vendors there as well – JL Rowing, Rubini Jewelers, Vespoli, Coach, Cox & Crew, Strokeside Designs, etc.

SRAA (Scholastic Rowing Association of America) Nationals on May 24-25 does not have a Novice category, only a Freshman category. The Novice will not have to worry about this event. Only varsity boats that qualify at States with a 1st, 2nd or 3rd place finish are eligible to compete in this regatta. Last year we had 3 boats from Mercy Crew qualify and compete there.

Pittsford Regatta takes place on Memorial Day weekend with Saturday and Sunday events. Our boats are loaded on the trailer the Friday before. We may trailer with another team if needed as this overlaps with Nationals. This is a fun regatta, being the last of our season and with the opportunity for local family and friends to come watch the races. It is also easy to view as the canal is so close to the spectators and only two lanes of boats come through at a time.

As questions pop up always feel free to email Coach Liz at or The coaches will try to give some type of response within 24hrs.

Thank you,
Mercy Crew Coaches