CLEMSON, S.C. — The Clemson rowing team will hold open tryouts beginning Wednesday, Aug. 30 for the 2017-2018 season. The Tiger coaching staff is looking for Clemson University female students with determination, work ethic, competitiveness, toughness and a great attitude.
Tryouts are open to all full-time female students enrolled at Clemson. No prior experience is necessary. Tryouts are held from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Clemson Rowing Center.
“These tryouts provide such an amazing opportunity for the female student body,” said novice coach Mandy Merritt. “We take complete beginners and through dedication, hard work and some fun, turn them into NCAA Division I athletes. This experience is for anyone who truly loves Clemson University and wants to represent it at the highest possible level.
“Walk-ons are the building blocks of any good rowing program, and we are looking for young women who want to be a part of the Clemson athletic tradition, want to try something new and are not afraid of hard work to fill that role. My best advice to anyone who is curious about trying out for the team is to come to an information meeting, learn more about us and meet some of the current athletes.”
Head coach Stephen Frazier Wong noted that Clemson's current staff is made up of a majority of former walk-on rowers, who had no previous knowledge of the sport.
"The entire coaching staff, except for one coach, is made up of former walk-ons who thought that rowing might be 'fun' and ended up finding a lifelong passion for the sport," he said. "Every year I enjoy seeing newcomers to rowing fall in love with a sport they had never even heard of until they came to Clemson."
Current sophomore rower Aubrey Miller, who played volleyball and softball at Ninety Six High School in Ninety Six, S.C., walked on to the team last year. At the 2017 ACC Championships, she raced in the Third Varsity 8+.
“It was extremely exciting walking on to a Division I team. Not everyone gets the chance to do that, so I'm very grateful to be given the opportunity.”
When talking about what she liked the best about the walk-on experience, Miller cited the team atmosphere and being a part of the Clemson Family.
“Everyone on the team was so welcoming and it made me feel like I had a family away from home. My favorite part from last year was all of the team activities we did. It helped us bond and grow stronger as a team to build trust between each other.”
Are you curious about trying out? Miller has some advice.
“The advice I would give to anyone thinking of joining the team would be to just do it. I came to an interest meeting with my friend and was introduced to the team that way. College is a great time to try new things and there's no better way of doing that than being able to represent Clemson at the varsity level! It's also really great to be able to walk around campus and anywhere you go, see someone you know from rowing. There are so many opportunities to make new friends and to get everything you can out of your college experience, but I’m glad I chose rowing!”
Interested students must attend one of three meetings with the coaches:
Thursday, Aug. 24 at 4:30 p.m. in 317 of Tillman Hall
Friday, Aug. 25 at 4:30 p.m. in 317 of Tillman Hall
Monday, Aug. 28 at 1:30 p.m. in Meeting Room B of the Hendrix Center
Come at your convenience to turn in paperwork and tour the rowing center, located at 524 East Beach Road (up the hill between the baseball stadium and soccer practice fields).
Friday, Aug. 25 from 12-3 p.m. at the Clemson Rowing Center
What You Need to Tryout
- An athletic physical within the last six months
- A copy of your insurance card, front and back
- Proof of a negative sickle cell test, which is typically performed at birth (contact Redfern Health Center at 864-656-2233 to complete a test or physical)