Similar to a swim meet, a regatta is a Saturday rowing competition where races are held for each boat category. Rowers first race in heats, or preliminary races where they compete to advance to the final event. (Freshman events often have flights, in which rowers get to compete but no final race is held.) Local regattas are held at Sandy Run Regional Park, the same venue we hold practices. We also
Regattas are exciting events for our team, as each regatta is an opportunity to see how our boats have progressed. Each and every rower gets to race during the season: there are no "benched" rowers. However, a boat may not be able to race if it is missing one of its rowers or its coxswain and no one is available to substitute. It's imperative that members of our team make a real effort to make it to every regatta. Find the TJ Crew regatta schedule here; note that all local regattas are on Saturdays.
What to Bring
- UNIFORMS. If you don't have your uniform, your boat will not be allowed to race (unless VASRA waives this rule due to weather).
- LAYERS. Early on in the season, it may be very cold out. Temperatures tend to be even lower on the water, and there's nothing worse than having to race on cold, stiff muscles. Check out our performance clothing here for TJ Crew tech shirts, fleeces, and other useful stuff.
- SUNSCREEN. Sunburn is bad.
- WATER. It's important to stay hydrated.
- FOOD TENT ASSIGNMENTS. Before each regatta, we'll send out food assignments. Please bring these to the regatta so we can stock our team food tent!
- TOILET PAPER/HAND SANITIZER. The portable toilets at the river run out of both of these pretty quickly.
- WATER & SNACKS. Can't hurt to be comfortable.
- SUNSCREEN. The grandstands (bleachers where parents watch races) are shaded, but protection can't hurt.
- LAYERS. It can be cold in early spring.
- CAMERA/TRIPOD. You can get some great pictures of your rower's boat on the course.
- WALKING SHOES. It's roughly a 20 minute walk from the parking lot to the grandstands.
The Race Course
In the spring, high school rowers race 1500 meter races. The course is divided into 6 lanes by buoy lines, with large orange buoys marking the finish.
On race day, the start dock is set up and stakeholders are stationed in order to hold boats in place as seen in the image to the right.
Launches (motorboats) driven by referees are on the course just in case anything goes wrong.
Preparing for Race Day
The night before each local regatta, TJ Crew organizes a pasta party at a team member's house (if you live in or near Fairfax Station and may be willing to host, have your son or daughter reach out to a team captain). After Friday afternoon practice, upperclassmen and/or parents drive team members to the party. Once everyone arrives, pasta, meatballs, garlic bread, and meatballs are served. Parties generally end at 9pm, allowing athletes to get a good night of sleep.
Rowers and coxswains should make sure to stay hydrated, well rested, and well fed in the hours leading up to their races. We want all athletes performing at their maximum capacity.
Watching the Action
The grandstands at Sandy Run are placed at around the last 250 meters of the race course, so the finish line is in full view. From the boathouse, it's about a 20 minute walk to the stands. Alternatively, park in Lot C and it's about a 10 minute walk from there.
You can find results of every race at these regattas, including our races, at VASRA's twitter feed: @VASRAResults.
Getting into the Park
- Parking in Sandy Run is $20 on regatta days.
- There is free parking available at Silverbrook Elementary School and you may board a shuttle bus from there. The shuttle bus will drop you off at Lot C and costs nothing.
- Once you get into the park, if you tell the parking attendant you are there for rider drop-off, you will be directed the the Van Thompson Lot. There, riders can get off and board a free shuttle bus to Lot C.