The Gamecock Rowing Club was able to grow tremendously this school year behind a wave of new rowers from varying backgrounds.
Coming into this season, the club was severely undermanned, as they had only four returners total from the 2020-21 school year.
The club has since grown to 20 members so far this season, allowing them to compete at regattas — meets where teams compete in speed and distance races — again. This was something the club was unable to do last season because of COVID-19 protocols. Had more members not joined, the returners would not have been able to compete this season.
Surprisingly though, most of the new members had no rowing experience prior to joining the club.
“A lot of high schools don't even have teams,” said fourth-year hospitality management student John Berger.
Berger added that outside of community clubs, a person doesn’t usually have the opportunity to row before college.
Several members said they saw the club during the university’s student organization fair on Greene Street earlier this school year and became intrigued by the idea of rowing.
“For me it was just kind of just a coincidence,” said fourth-year mechanical engineering student Mason Salb. “I was with another student organization and we happened to be next to the rowing club. They had a rowing machine set up and a competition and I wanted to try, so I tried it and it ended up working out.”
Fourth-year marketing and real estate student Randolph Crobsy had a similar experience, where he was going to join another club but couldn’t due to scheduling conflicts. Similar to other members though, rowing’s unique sport style brought him in.
“For me, I’ve always liked being on the water,” said third-year exercise student Zora Tyson. “I liked being on a boat, I liked fishing, so I was like ‘I guess I’ll try rowing.’ It seemed cool, I watched a couple videos and I was like, ‘let’s do it.’”
For others, the club offered them a opportunity to join a new team environment in college.
“I was in band in high school and wanted to keep up a schedule of having something to do all the time,” Jameson said.
Regardless of the reason for joining, the club has been able to grow and mesh together as rowers and friends over the course of the school year. So far this season, they've been able to travel to regattas in High Point, North Carolina, Clemson, South Carolina and Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
"The last couple years it's kind of been shut down," said fourth-year marine science student and club president Gabby Ricche. "I'm really glad to get back into it."
The rowing team meets five days a week from Monday through Friday at 6 a.m. at Carolina CrossFit.