Rowing with the Crew Team

Photo Credit: Crystal Cortez

You’re sitting on a long boat, staring at the guys sweating neck in front of you, using all your energy to keep moving forward, getting wet from the Halifax River water and probably that guy’s sweaty neck too. What could you possibly be doing? You are rowing as part of the Crew Team! This past Activities Fair you might have seen the Crew Team’s booth and wondered what it might be like to be in the club. Perhaps rowing is challenging enough? Try rowing with 7 other people, synchronized. You might expect the practices to wear you out and the competitions to race you by, but being a part of a team as unified as Crew will shape you into a leader. 

Take it from Christopher Sendra, a fine leader, teammate, and President of the Crew Club. His sportsmanship and determination has helped define the team’s competitive attitude and strength. Do not just take my word for it, but read some of the influential responses Chris has shared with us all. 

Photo Credit: Crystal Cortez Crew Team members condition on indoor ergometers to prepare for boat racing.

Photo Credit: Crystal Cortez
Crew Team members condition on indoor ergometers to prepare for boat racing.

What responsibilities involved being the President of Crew?

 Chris: I felt that as the President of the Crew team there were many different challenges that came along with the title, especially when you are technically a club sport but trying to operate like a varsity sport. There were always a thousand different things to keep track of. Did the coach boat get filled up with gas, one of the oars needs to be repainted, bow seats foot stretcher is broken, did we finish getting registered for that upcoming race, why are there people missing from practice, new boat parts need to be ordered and so on and so forth. 

What did you learn about team work?

Chris: I think that my experiences on the Crew team taught me a lot about team work.  Just as in a race where you fully rely on 8 other people to do their best and to try just as hard as you are to reach a goal. I have found that there are many other Instances where this takes place.  Not just in sports but in classes, projects, organizations, and eventually your career.  You will find that teamwork is an essential part of any successful group and making sure that you can work together will not only improve your success but also the happiness of everyone in the group.

Were there ever any personal limits being involved in such a rigorous sport?

Chris: Participating in Crew also had its hardships, after being on the team for almost four complete years I still wake up every morning at 5:45 from habit of getting up for practice every morning.  There was also the time commitment, practice was every day for two hours including Saturdays.  As any rower will tell you, this influences pretty much every day-to-day decision you make. You think twice about staying out late and think to yourself “do I really want to be that tired tomorrow at practice”.  Being a part of Crew also means you are ALWAYS tired. Sometimes after crew, classes, work, and flight the last thing you want to do is finish homework. It is tough to balance everything but it has taught me to be smart with my time.  No, you don’t have to plan out your entire day down to the second, but what I learned is when you find yourself with nothing to do, ask yourself “what else can I be doing to be productive?” Trust me, you will become efficient with your time.

Has Crew benefited you outside of ERAU? 

Chris: Crew has taught me a lot about what it means to work as a team and what it means to be dedicated to something.  I think that Crew helps you learn what it means to work hard for something that you want and it teaches you to never give up.  It also has some long lasting benefits that employers are looking for in their future employees.  I recently applied for an Internship at United Airlines and on my resume I have one little section that talks about Crew. During the interview with United, all but three of the questions they asked me were about crew.  In the long run I ended up getting the Internship and will be working for United in Chicago at their headquarters.  I have no doubt that what I learned while in Crew and the reputation that it gives you definitely helped me get this position.      


I was lucky enough to catch Chris before he had to leave this past Saturday to Chicago but I am content to see one of our former students benefiting from a club offered here at ERAU. If you too would like to take part in a meaningful journey with a team devoted to fellowship and commitment, stop by one of their practices and check out the hard work and sweat for yourself. You can find them at The Halifax Rowing Center every morning at 6 am! Do not forget to bring a water and you’re A-game!

–Crystal Cortez