Middle School Message

The Pioneer Crew Team is looking for enthusiastic and dedicated Tappan/Slauson/Emerson and Mack student/athletes who are exploring their options for participation when they get to Pioneer.  Many of your older student friends from middle school have found the challenges and rewards of rowing crew at Pioneer to be exactly what they were looking for as they considered playing sports in high school.  The Pioneer Crew Team has become more than just a team for most of those kids; it’s a community of fun-loving, hard-working student/athletes who develop great friendships through both their shared efforts and the unique opportunities their sport provides.  Ask any of them.  They’d be happy to talk with you about their lives as Pioneer rowers.

Please read how to join for registration instructions.

What If I Have Never Rowed Before?

What you’ll find when you talk to Pioneer rowers is that none of them had ever rowed crew before. They played all the same sports you play in middle school, but they had never set foot in a rowing shell.  The Pioneer Rowing Club coaches pride themselves on their ability to teach young athletes how to row in the fall of their novice year. By the spring rowing season (yes, this is a two season sport!), novice rowers feel comfortable and confident competing in a sport they probably had never heard of the year before.  So don’t let the fact that you’ve never done the sport before stop you from giving it a try!

What Can I Do This Spring And Summer?

The Pioneer Coaches offer a 3-day trial row mini-camp for first time rowers during the third week of June each spring. Contact email hidden; JavaScript is required if interested.

In addition the Ann Arbor Rowing Club (AARC) offers summer “Learn To Row” sessions, for more information and to register, visit: a2crew.com.

Who Can Row?

At Pioneer we have enough rowing shells so that everyone on the team from novice to varsity can row in either an eight or a four person boat.  Each rower handles  one  oar on either the starboard or port side of the boat.  Some of the more experienced rowers will row in both a “four” and an “eight” at some regattas, but the emphasis for novice rowers is on the eight-person boats.  Both sizes need someone to “drive” the boats since the rowers themselves face backwards.  These “drivers” are called coxswains,  and they are just as important as every rower in a shell.  Coxswains are smaller athletes with good hand/eye coordination who can take charge of a crew in a racing situation and steer a racing boat down a long course.  The fall season races are 5000 meters long; the spring season races are 2000 meters.  During a race, the coxswain is the captain, the boss, the coach, and the helmsperson as boat races down the course.  At Pioneer we’re always looking for gifted, smaller athletes who might be interested in giving this challenging role at try.

Why Join Crew?

One of the most valuable things about the crew experience is that the men and women row at the same regattas so they travel together, rig and launch boats together, and cheer for each other during the races. Except for cross country, crew is the only high school sport that does it this way.  Regattas are always on weekends and often involve an overnight or two at a hotel.  We ride in chartered buses, and our parents work together to set up several tents for shelter and meal preparations at the waterside regatta sites for rowers, coaches and fans.  The experiences for both the rowers and their families at these events are unlike anything else you’ve seen at high school sporting events. In the middle of it all, the races themselves are incredibly exciting.  For most, once they get an idea of what rowing is all about, they dedicate themselves to become the best rowers they can be because doing well in those races is so rewarding and satisfying. At all the regattas in the fall and most of the regattas in the spring, everyone on the team rows and all the boats score points for the team, including the novice boats.  No one sits on the bench.  It really is one big team.  Certainly there is a varsity level where Pioneer Varsity Letters can be earned, but the novice rowers contribute to the team point total at almost every event.


The team practices every day after school at the boat house on Argo Pond in Bandemere Park just off North Main Street.  More details about practice are here.


Finally, we think you might be interested in a couple of points of pride for us.  The more important part of the term “student/athlete” is the first part.  The Women’s Pioneer Crew team has the highest grade point average of all the teams at Pioneer and the Men’s Pioneer Crew team is close behind in second place.  That alone tells you something about the kids who decide to dedicate themselves to this sport.  In addition, many of our Pioneer graduates have continued to row in college, some with generous scholarship assistance.  We have Pioneer grads rowing at Stanford, Washington, Harvard, Brown, the University of Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana University, and Grand Valley.  All of these successful rowers started out just like you, coming out of middle school never having set foot in a rowing shell before.  If they can do it, so can you!

Please consider the opportunities and rewards available to you as a proud member of the Pioneer Crew Team!!  We’d love to welcome you to the club.

Don’t hesitate to email hidden; JavaScript is required if you have any other questions.

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