Post updated September 2023
Have you ever seen a bumper sticker depicting two navy blue oars crossed above the words “Westerville Crew” and wondered what it was? Or maybe you’ve noticed the occasional lane reductions on Sunbury Road around Hoover Dam? Chances are you stumbled upon another Westerville gem and didn’t even know it! That’s how Angela Seger and her son Aiden discovered the sport of crew.
Westerville Crew is a rowing team in operation since the mid-1990s. Squads formed within the crew compete together in what’s called a regatta or race - an endurance and speed competition. Facing the stern – or back of the boat, teammates operate the shell – a long, narrow boat, with one person dedicated to steering, one or two people in charge of pacing and timing, and the middle of the pack generating momentum using oars. “When everything is coming together and you start hitting those top speeds, it feels a lot like you’re carving out water like it’s glass,” explains Aiden Seger. “It’s very satisfying.”
Rowing regattas have been an exciting part of American culture since 1828 and have even become a popular Olympic sport. “Competing in a regatta is particularly nice for me,” notes Aiden, “since this is a non-contact sport [and] I am still able to do it well despite my history of knee injuries.” In fact, many young people have found crew to be a sport that accommodates athletes who have had previous impact related injuries and provides a constructive channel to burn energy.
A festival-like atmosphere is what you’ll find at a Westerville Crew regatta. “I would like to both apologize for the inconvenience and encourage Westerville to explore what happens when Sunbury Rd. goes down to one lane,” notes Angela with a laugh. “Most of the lane reductions have to do with providing parking to the thousands of anticipated athletes and spectators. Rowing crews take these events very seriously!” And so do their fans who can number in the hundreds. Expect to find food trucks in abundance while colorful team tents paint the edges of the water on both sides. Multiple crews in and around Columbus compete in the regattas which makes for a day full of entertainment.
The Westerville Crew team understands the gravity of participating in these events. The rowing Masters Team will be ready to go before dawn. When the weather isn’t ideal, indoor rowing machines are utilized to practice form and gauge speed. Rain or shine, Westerville Crew is committed to the sport and works to build on its success.
Being a part of this crew means also being a part of an established family-like unit. “Both my sons are in it and love it,” Angela explains. “They get the sense that everyone here is family, even off the water. They value the time setting up and clearing out a regatta, working on the rowing machine, and in down time, sharing laughs.” And in a season where the crew has had the challenge of emerging from COVID lockdown, family is exactly what keeps this crew going. Westerville Crew now counts its membership in the hundreds, many of them rowing with Westerville for more than five years.
Rowing isn’t something that you grow up learning like football or basketball, and Westerville Crew is aware of that; which is why they encourage families to come see what they’re about.“ I would encourage people just to give us a shot,” Angela says. “I don’t row personally, but I have developed as deep of a passion as anyone on the water because of the way I’ve seen my kids come home with fire in their eyes. They are more punctual with their schoolwork because they know it affects when they can get to practice. They’ve made healthy friendships even with rival teams. It really is so unique how many different types of people can find a home within this crew.”
Children can participate as early as middle school. All individuals that meet the minimum age requirement, including adults, and are eager for a physically and mentally rewarding experience are welcome.
Consider this an invitation to Westerville Crew. If your child hasn’t found a niche yet, or if you’re looking to find a sport that keeps you fit and healthy, come visit the Westerville Crew.
Hoover Fall Classic
Oct. 14, 2023 | Hoover Reservoir
A good intro to getting to know the sport of rowing is to come out and support the rowers at the Hoover Fall Classic at Hoover Reservoir happening on Saturday, Oct 14, 2023. The 5K course is straight and runs from just North of Red Bank, through the bridge at Smothers Road, to the finish line at Walnut Street. Middle School races will be 1.5K.
Post by Tyler Lloyd