Illini Rowing prepare for fall season with open tryouts in September


Photo courtesy of @illinirowing Instagram

The Illinois women’s rowing team compete at a meet during the 2021 season. The team will be hosting tryouts on Sept. 1 and 2 at the ARC.

By Martin O’Connor, Staff Writer

At Illinois, there are a plethora of RSOs for incoming freshmen to check out and potentially join. One club in particular that should be on the radar of any freshman that wants to meet new friends, learn time management or compete in a competitive setting is the Illini Rowing Club. 

“I think what you get when you join the rowing team as a freshman is a unique opportunity, unlike any sport, to compete at a fairly high level,” head coach Jack Kellmanson stated. “It’s also just a great group to be a part of.”

Coach Kellmanson is a very experienced rower. After rowing in middle school and high school, Kellmanson took his talents to the next level, committing to the University of Virginia to row. After four years at Virginia, Kellmanson is looking to make his mark on the rowing team in his first year as head coach. 

In rowing, one would most commonly row with seven other people, making it eight people in a boat. This builds good chemistry among teammates and creates a close bond and healthy team spirit throughout the season. 

At Illinois, the rowing team has two individual national championships, four team state championships, 11 ACRA All-Americans and 52 Academic All-Americans. These stats are not only remarkable with the success the team has enjoyed throughout the years, but the team also has demonstrated the importance of academic prowess in addition to athletics seen with their impressive number of Academic All-Americans.

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For the Fall 2022 season, women’s tryouts will be held Sept. 1 and 2 in ARC Gym 1 from 7-8 a.m. For the following two weeks from Sept. 5-8 and 12-15, there will be open practice every day from 7-8 a.m. again held in ARC Gym 1. The first few sessions are meant for anyone interested in getting involved, and the coaching staff does a great job of roping in interested students.

“You improve exponentially your first couple of weeks,” sophomore Gabriel Pfister said. “I gave it a shot and really fell in love with the sport.”

The first week of open practices will consist of introduction sessions where those interested will work on their rowing technique with the coaches. The second week will consist of workouts that are more rowing-specific, while the intensity of these tryouts quickly increase so coaches can further evaluate fitness levels of those trying out. The best part of all of this? Prior rowing experience is not required, so anyone can tryout and try to get better at this sport. 

After these tryouts and open practices are finished the team will have their first competition Oct. 8 at Head of the Rock in Rockford, Ill. The season then consists of more competitions with the next being Head of the Charles in Boston going on through Oct. 21-23. The fall season then has two more competitions, the next being an IUPUI Scrimmage in Farmer City, Ill., on Oct. 29 and lastly the Bald Eagle Invitational in Indianapolis, Ind., on Nov. 12. The Bald Eagle Invitational will conclude the fall season.

The spring season will then have the next competition starting March 11-19 for the Spring training trip. After this the team has 4 more competitions with the biggest being the ACRA National Championships running from May 19-21 in Oak Ridge, Tenn. 

Joining Illini Rowing has a lot of great benefits. Being a freshman in this club introduces you to a great group of hardworking people that look to excel in both the classroom and on the lake. Interested students can check out the team as well as more information on the team website.


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