FAQs

I don’t know anything about crew and rowing. Where can I find information?
Visit the Parents section of the U.S. Rowing website, http://www.usrowing.com/parents/index.aspx, for a wide range of information about the sport, the lingo, race watching tips and more. Also check out www.row2k.com.
My child has no rowing experience but still wants to participate in crew. Is that possible?
Absolutely! There isn’t a “try out” process to join Crew. Most rowers don’t have experience when they start and some have never participated in other organized sports, but they go on to be active participants.
How long is Crew season?
Crew practices begin two or three weeks after the start of school, and practices and regattas run through the end of April. Rowers who participate in higher-level (national) regattas will continue through May.
What is the practice schedule and where are they held?
Rowers practice every day after school and every Saturday morning at the Crew boathouse on Lake Howell; each practice runs about three hours. Novices (new rowers) usually start the season with a limited schedule that transitions to the regular schedule by January. The schedule may change, if necessary, at the coaches’ discretion.
Where is the boathouse located?
The boathouse is located on Lake Howell just off Red Bug Rd. The address is 1050 Strongs Cove Ln., Casselberry, FL 32707. View Larger Map
How do freshmen rowers (and other rowers who don’t drive) get to practice?
Carpooling is key when it comes to Crew practice. We help connect rowers’ parents with each other so carpools can be established, both for driving rowers to practice and driving them home afterward. Though arranging transportation might seem a bit overwhelming at first, please remember that rowers have been getting to and from practice this way for years and we’ll be glad to share our experiences and tips with you.
What must rowers take to practice?
Practice attire consists of form-fitting clothes, socks and running shoes – these are REQUIRED. In addition, each rower should have a refillable water bottle and is urged to use sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.
How much does it cost for a student to participate in Crew?
Crew doesn’t receive funding from Orange County Public Schools and therefore is self-supported. Each rower is asked to pay dues, which cover coaches’ salaries, upkeep of the boathouse, shells (racing boats) and oars, other equipment, insurance and more. In addition to dues, rowers pay for travel expenses to out-of-town, overnight regattas – travel coordinators work diligently to keep these costs as low as possible. Several fundraisers are held throughout the year to help cover some of these expenses and any additional costs. The current dues are noted in Crew Dues under Parents.
What if we can’t afford the dues?
Winter Park Crew has a scholarship program, and we urge interested families to apply. Contact our current Board President if interested.
Can parents volunteer?
Yes! There are dozens of opportunities to be involved with Crew and every Crew parent is urged to participate. Please fill out the “Time, Talent and Treasure” form on the website and submit it to the Development chair, as directed, who will contact you. Additionally, Crew Boosters is the volunteering organization that keeps rowers rowing and coaches coaching; Booster meetings are held at 7:00 pm on the first Tuesday of each month in a small cafeteria room at the main campus and all parents are strongly encouraged to attend.
The practice schedule might be too intense for my child. Is it OK to skip some practices?
Rowers RARELY miss a practice, because if one rower is absent, the other rowers in that eight-person boat are unable to practice.
Are rowers required to maintain academic standards, such as a minimum GPA?
In Crew, academics are taken very seriously. As with most other athletic programs, Crew students must have a GPA of 2.0 or more. Generally, coaches give rowers with low GPAs a short grace period in which their grades must improve; but if a 2.0 GPA isn’t reached, rowers will be suspended.
My child is in the IB program and I’m concerned that Crew may be too demanding. Do IB students participate in Crew?
An advantage of the IB program is that IB students are adept at time management, and therefore they are very successful at managing their academics and Crew. Your child can talk to IB student rowers for their advice and personal experiences.
Whom do I call if I have questions about the practice schedule or dues or things like that? Should I contact the coach?
The boys and girls teams each have a volunteer Liaison who answers questions, share information from coaches and more. The Liaison role is vital, because it’s a “one-stop” resource for parents. Over the years, we’ve discovered this format works best not only for parents but also for coaches, who are full-time WPHS teachers with families and spend countless hours each week on their coaching jobs. (Trust us – you’ll get a quicker, more thorough response from your Liaison!).
My child has heard that Crew is like a “cult?” What’s the scoop?
Yes, we’ve heard this comparison, which stems from the fact that rowers spend a lot of time together throughout the school year practicing and competing. It’s this kind of dedication that makes Winter Park Crew a championship program. In reality, Crew is more like a family. You, as well as your child, will make friends and establish close relationships during your Crew years.
When and where are races held?
Winter Park Crew participates in an average of 10 to 12 regattas (crew races) each school year, with the regatta schedule being determined by the coaches (most, but not all, regattas include both boys and girls). Two or three regattas are held on Lake Howell, and other local races are held at Lake Fairview, Turkey Lake and Lake Maitland. Out-of-town races may be held in Chattanooga, Tampa, Sarasota, Philadelphia, Jacksonville and possibly other locations.
Who are the coaches?
Coach Dan Bertossa (boys) and Coach Mike Vertullo (girls) are regarded as the finest high school Crew coaches in Florida and among the best in the country. Together they have nearly 30 years of coaching experience and we are very fortunate to have them at Winter Park High School.