University of Alabama Athletics announces the addition of rowing - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

University of Alabama Athletics announces the addition of rowing

Athletics Director Mal Moore announced at a press conference today on the bank of the Black Warrior River that the University of Alabama is adding women’s rowing as its 21st varsity sport.

 “After thorough consideration, we are adding women’s rowing to our slate of sports beginning with the 2006-07 season,” Moore said. “The more we looked into it, the more it seemed a natural fit for Alabama. There is an active rowing community in the Tuscaloosa area, and the state as a whole, and we have a tremendous natural facility for this sport on the Black Warrior River and the recently completed River Road Park gives us an outstanding venue for watching events.”

There has been an active and vibrant rowing club on campus since 1987 and there are club teams in Huntsville, Birmingham and Auburn.

"Women's varsity athletics at The University of Alabama provide great opportunities for student-athletes to compete at the highest level of competition in 11 different sports," said UA President Robert E. Witt. "Rowing has enjoyed great success as a club sport on campus and is a natural choice for our 12th women's varsity sport."

In the Southeastern Conference, Tennessee sponsors a varsity program while Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, LSU, Auburn and Vanderbilt all support club teams.

“And most importantly to us, rowing will provide the most opportunities for University of Alabama students to participate in one of the greatest traditions in collegiate athletics,” Moore said.

 A spring sport, collegiate rowing has enjoyed a tremendous growth spurt over the past decade. Since 1997, more than 30 teams have been added at the NCAA Division I level, which translates into almost 2,000 more student-athletes. The average Division I program fields between 50 and 70 student-athletes.

 The search for a coach to bring rowing to the Capstone begins immediately and will be conducted by Moore and Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator Marie Robbins.

“We are looking for a coach who embodies our commitment to excellence in all facets of collegiate athletics,” Moore said. “The sports we have added most recently have gone on to enjoy tremendous success both on the field and the court as well as in the classroom and we are hoping to duplicate that success with rowing.”

NCAA Division I schools are allowed 20 full scholarships for women’s rowing. Rowing is an equivalency sport, meaning that scholarships may be divided in any manner among student-athletes so long as the total awards do not exceed the limit for the sport. Alabama will start with five full scholarships and will phase in scholarships over a span of years until it reaches the maximum.

 The last three sports Alabama has added, volleyball, soccer and softball, have all won SEC Western Division titles. Soccer and softball have both advanced to NCAA competition with softball, in its 10th year, making three World Series appearances during that span.

Of the Tide’s 21 sports, rowing is the 12th women’s sport. Softball was added in 1996. Soccer was a varsity sport from 1982-89 and was reinstated for the 1994 season. Similarly volleyball first competed in 1974 before being disbanded in 1982. It returned to campus as a varsity sport in 1989. Women’s basketball, golf, gymnastics, swimming and diving and tennis were all added during the 1974-75 school year. Women’s indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country was started in 1977.

Football is the oldest of the Tide’s nine varsity men’s teams, starting in 1892. Swimming and diving is the youngest men’s sport, joining the Tide ranks in the fall of 1959.

ROWING FACT SHEET

  • There are currently 85 schools that compete in women’s rowing at the NCAA Division 1 level. Including the following southern schools: Clemson, Duke, Jacksonville University, Louisville, Miami (Florida), UNC-Chapel Hill, Stetson, Tennessee, Texas, Tulsa, Virginia and West Virginia.
  • In the Southeastern Conference, Tennessee sponsors rowing. Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, LSU, Auburn and Vanderbilt sponsor a club program.
  • The NCAA hosted its first rowing championship in 1997 (the University of Washington won the first title) From 1997 to 2001 Divisions I, II and III competed in a combined championship. Starting in 2002, all three divisions hosted their own championship.
  • Eights (8+) and fours (4+) are the most common collegiate competitions and the two events held at the NCAA Championships. The plus indicates a coxswain on board.
  • Competitions range anywhere from a dual meet to multi-team invitationals.
  • NCAA Division 1 schools are allowed 20 full scholarships for women’s rowing. Rowing is an equivalency sport, meaning that scholarships may be divided in any manner among student-athletes so long as the total awards do not exceed the limit for the sport. For example, in women’s rowing the 20 scholarships may be divided among an unlimited number of student-athletes.
  • Alabama will phase in scholarships over a period of years, until the sport offers a full complement.
  • Most NCAA programs field teams of between 50 and 60 student-athletes.
  • There has been a rowing club at the University of Alabama since 1987. The current club coach has been a part of the program since 1997.

Rowing Terminology

Blade: the end of the oar which pulls the boat through the water.

Bow: the forward end of the boat which crosses the finish line first; the rower in the seat nearest the forward end of a shell, who typically has a quick catch, stable technique and a shorter arc.

Bucket Rigging: two riggers on the same side next to each other instead of alternated.

Coxswain (cox): person who steers the shell from a seat located in the stern or a lying position in the bow.

Ergs: short for ergometer; individualized rowing simulators that help strength and conditioning.

Lightweight: a crew on which each athlete weighs under a specific amount (130 pounds for women).

Novice: a rower in the first year of collegiate competition.

Regatta: the name of rowing events in which several crews compete.

Repechage: a second chance race for those crews which did not automatically advance to the finals of an event.

Rigger: the part which attaches an oar to the shell.

Run: the distance the shell moves during one stroke.

Sculling: type of rowing where each rower uses two oars.

Shell: boat used in the rowing races. It seats nine people for an Eight and five people for a Four, and ranges in length from 45 feet for a Four to 58 feet for an Eight.

Sprints: used in collegiate competition, this type of race features a course which is 2000 meters long, usually with four to six unmarked or buoyed lanes and a floating or staked start.

Stern: the back of the boat; the end the rowers face during competitions.

Stroke: a complete cycle of moving the shell through the water; the rower who sits closest to the stern, looks directly at the coxswain in a stern-coxed boat and sets the rhythm for the shell.

Sweeping: type of rowing where each rower uses one oar.

Varsity: the collegiate rower who competes beyond the novice level.

8+ and 4+: eights (8+) and fours (4+) are the most common collegiate competitions and the two events held at the NCAA Championships. The plus indicates a coxswain on board.

 Information provided by University of Alabama Athletics

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