Frequently Asked Questions

When are tryouts?

Tryouts will follow the orientation meeting that will take place during the first week of school. They will last approximately two weeks for both the novice and the varsity crews. As September approaches, refer to the upcoming events for more detailed information.

What is the orientation meeting?

The orientation meeting is where you will be introduced to the club, and is held prior to the season start-up in September. The will take place during the first week of school. It is also your chance to introduce yourself to coaches and other rowers. It is important that you attend so we know you’re interested and so you can get tryout information and the tryout schedule. If you are unable to attend the meeting, just let us know.

What are tryouts?

Tryouts take place during the first two weeks in September. If you have ever rowed competitively at any given level you must try out for VARSITY. If you have no rowing experience at all you are eligible for NOVICE tryouts. NOVICE tryouts involve a few days of skill work to introduce you to rowing and erging (a.k.a. the rowing machine). This is followed by tests aimed at measuring endurance, explosiveness, and overall body strength. Novice tryouts are designed to assess your general fitness. Rowing experience is absolutely not necessary. VARSITY tryouts emphasize both fitness and rowing ability. They consist of ergometer testing and seat racing.

What about summer / pre-season training?

For Varsity Crew, summer training is required, and rowing/competing with a summer rowing club is expected. If you’re not rowing during the summer, let us know if you’d like the coaches’ recommended summer training schedule. There will also be a more formal pre-season training camp for the varsity crew starting in late August. (See Upcoming Events for more details).

When are practices?

The novice crew practices Monday through Friday, 6 am to 8 am. The varsity crew has the same practice schedule with additional practices on Saturday mornings and in the afternoons. This schedule is designed so athletes can still attend 8:30 am lectures.

Where are practices?

Water practices for all crews are held at the Olympic Basin on Parc Jean Drapeau on Ile Notre-Dame. The Basin is a 2000 meter straight course, with a tank and erg facility on sight (click here for more information). The Basin can be reached by bike, metro, or car. By bike or metro, it takes about 20 minutes to get from campus to the basin; car is faster (click here for detailed directions).

Gym workouts take place in the club’s erg room at the McGill Athletics Complex on Pine Avenue.

How many regattas can I expect to take part in if I am on the team?

The McGill University Rowing Club takes part in many regattas in the fall and a few in the spring. The novice rowers race about three times in the fall and once in the spring while the varsity rowers race about 5-6 times in the fall and 2-3 times in the spring.

I am worried about how well I perform at school. Is rowing better suited for students in easy programs?

The rowers on the McGill University Rowing Club major in every possible program: arts, sciences, management, engineering, law, and medicine. They also range from first year undergraduate to grad school students.

With all my time spent studying and training for the rowing team, will I still be able to have a social life?

The McGill University Rowing Club is a marvelous opportunity to meet people who share the same love for athletics and challenge as you. Training intensively with a crew creates strong bonds between the members and the end-of-season parties and banquets also bring their share of fun times and socialization.

Who is eligible for the rowing team?

Anyone who will be enrolled as a full-time student at McGill in the fall is eligible to be on the team. That means three or more courses must be completed during the semester.

What is the Olympic Basin?

The Olympic Rowing Basin on Ile Notre-Dame faces downtown Montreal and was originally built for the 1976 Olympic Games. The island where it is located, in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River, was specifically built for the 1967 World’s Fair. It is now referred to as Parc Jean-Drapeau and is also home to Montreal’s Casino, a magnificent municipal beach, and the Gilles-Villeneuve racetrack, home of the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix.

Since its construction, the basin has been the site of numerous international rowing events including the 1976 Olympic Summer Games, and the World Rowing Championships in 1975, 1984 and 1992. It has also been the home of the 28th FISA World Rowing Masters Regatta in 2001, the 2003 Canadian Open Masters Rowing Championships, and the site of the Rowing Canada Cup held annually since 1982.

The Olympic Rowing Basin is 2,180 meters long, 110 meters wide and 2,3 meters deep. It is equipped with an Albano system, which divides the basin into seven equal lanes, each 13.5 meters wide. The basin conforms to FISA standards for starting gate equipment and electronic timing equipment. Athletes are well served by storage areas, a change-room, and shower facilities next to the race course.

Directions to the Olympic Basin (Bassin Olympique)

By Metro

The Olympic Basin is located approximately 5 kilometers from downtown Montreal and is easily accessible via public transportation by using the Metro. Directions from downtown:

  • get on the Green Line (where the McGill or Place des Arts metro stations are) in the direction of Honore Beaugrand
  • get off at the Berri-UQAM metro station.
  • follow the signs to the Yellow Line (direction Longueuil). If you’re catching the first metro in the morning you need to RUN to make this connection.
  • take the Yellow Line one stop to the Jean-Drapeau metro station. For more information on the Jean-Drapeau metro station and the schedule please click here, or download this map.
  • turn left out of the station and then left again, following the path towards ile Notre-Dame
  • once you have crossed the bridge onto ile Notre-Dame, turn left and follow the road along the river for about 200m
  • turn right into the main parking lot and you’ll see the rowing basin and hangers in front of you
  • the McGill Crew boat hanger is #6

By bike

The Olympic Basin is located approximately 5 kilometers from downtown Montreal and is easily accessible by bike. Please wear a helmet and reflective clothing when riding to practice, and obey all the traffic rules – ride defensively and preferably in a group. Directions from the McGill University main gates:

  • take Sherbrooke Street west to rue de la Montagne
  • take rue de la Montagne all the way down to it’s end
  • turn right and cross the bridge over the Lachine Canal
  • loop right to get to the bike path which goes under the bridge and turn right onto the path so that you’re following the path eastward along the canal (the canal should be on your left as you’re biking now)
  • follow the bike path past the turn-off for the Old Port, ride under the elevated highway away from the canal, past the flour factories, and all the way along-side avenue Pierre-Dupuy
  • this will lead you to a long bridge over the St. Lawrence River (the Concorde Bridge) – go straight past the first exit point (for ile Sainte-Helene) and follow the exit onto ile Notre-Dame
  • once onto ile Notre-Dame, follow the road eastward along the river (with the river now on your left) until you come to the main parking lot and you’ll see the rowing basin and hangers in front of you
  • the McGill Crew boat hanger is #6

By car

When driving from downtown or any major highway, just follow the signs for the Casino de Montreal; when you reach Ile Notre-Dame, follow the signs to the bassin olympique.

If your questions aren’t answered here, send us an email: