What is Duke Men’s Rowing (DMR)?

DMR is a competitive club sports team at Duke where athletes compete against each other by racing in advanced boats called ‘shells.’ Crew is the oldest intercollegiate sport in the United States.

What kind of experience/training do I need to join DMR?

There is no experience required to join DMR! In fact the vast majority of incoming freshmen and some sophomores have little to no rowing experience when they join. We simply ask that you’re hardworking, have a great attitude, and are committed to the team! Of course, experience is also welcomed, and we recommend you shoot us an email if this is you so we can figure out where you best fit into our program! Rowers with experience often compete with the varsity squad in the fall while their walk-on classmates are learning the stroke.

How should I train if I wish to join the team?

Any cardiovascular exercise will help. Those who know how to erg properly will gain the most from their exercise. However, if you don’t have rowing experience, we ask that you stay OFF of the rowing machines. Without proper training, you can easily get into bad habits that will hurt you at the beginning of the season. Otherwise, interested athletes can run, bike or swim to develop their fitness. Rowing is a sport based on strength, so a supplemental lifting routing focusing on the legs, glutes, back, shoulders, chest, arms, and abs (rowing is a full body requirement) will help immensely.

What is DMR’s practice schedule?

The team adjusts its practice schedule every semester to accommodate the changing schedules of its athletes. The varsity squad practices on the water four days a week with two other practices in the Wilson gymnasium on West Campus. While water practice usually entails early practice, the two workouts in the gym allow students to properly rest and recover.

What can I expect from a typical practice?

Duke Men’s Rowing is a very competitive rowing club, and we have personal pride in our team’s success. That being said, success doesn’t come without hard work and dedication. In general we have practices a few days a week, and we supplement those with On-Your-Own workouts, (OYOs) which we expect you to treat as importantly as practices, just on your own schedule. Practice length depends on type and will vary depending on whether we are rowing on Lake Michie, erging by the Gym, or working out in the weight room.

Does rowing interfere with school or other activities?


The team recognizes that club members are both students and athletes. In fact entire exec board is made of undergrad students much like yourself. The club has graduated students of varied majors that excel both in their sports and academically. As with any extracurricular activity, time management skills are fostered and put to use. Because of the importance of having full attendance at practices, there is a meeting at the beginning of each semester, once class schedules are solidified, where practice times are decided on as a team. This means that ultimately, our team’s specific practice times are chosen by you, and hopefully won’t conflict with academics or other activities.

Does DMR travel to different regattas?

Yes of course! We traditionally compete as a team at between 5 and 7 regattas every year. This is exactly what we train for, and competing as a team are the most fun events of the year! In the past we’ve traveled throughout North Carolina, as well as to Massachusetts, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and more! Take a look at Our Schedule for a glimpse at what’s in store for 2019 and 2020.

We also take a yearly Spring Break training trip to a destination location (last year it was Orlando, FL) where we spend a few days living, training, eating, and having fun together as a team and family. This is one of the highlights of the year and something you don’t want to miss!

When is the crew season?

Crew is a three-season sport. The team competes in longer fall races known as “head races” that function similar to a time trial. In the winter, the team shifts its fitness regimen through indoor training before starting the spring sprint season. The sprint season entails 2,000 meter races, the competition done at the sport’s highest levels.

Where does the team practice?

Both in Duke’s Wilson Gym, and on Lake Michie in Bahama, NC. The team owns a full two berth boathouse on our beautiful Lake Michie, approximately 25 minutes from Duke.

Is there a height or weight requirement?

Athletes of any body type are encouraged to join. Throughout the year you will increase your fitness level and develop the skills for competition. The more effort you put in to your training, the better your results will be.

Is crew a varsity sport?

Men’s rowing is not recognized by the NCAA. At Duke, the team is a club sport: students lead and run the crew team. The team often competes against varsity programs from other universities and has emerged victorious in the past. Like many other crew teams, our status as a club does not mean we are non-competitive. References to “varsity” rowers on the team allude to rowers who have completed their novice year.

I’m visiting Duke, is there someone from the team I can meet with?

Yers! Contact us by emailing bluedevilsrowing@duke.edu and someone from our exec board will be more than happy to meet with you to discuss the team.

Can women join the team?

Women cannot row for the team, but female coxswains can (and do) join and compete with the team.

Are grad students eligible to join the team and compete?

Yes, students in all levels of their education are eligible to compete in almost all regattas. Based on prior competition history, they may or not be eligible for certain events. Grad students are encouraged to contact us at bluedevilsrowing@gmail.com to discuss their personal circumstance and intended level of involvement.

Can students join the team in the spring semester?

Yes. The team welcomes students throughout the year. Students who wish to join the team mid-year or mid-semester should send us an email or contact someone on our Exec Board.

Have more questions?

Please send us an email at bluedevilsrowing@gmail.com and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible! Thanks, and don’t forget to fill out our recruiting questionnaire as well.