Finding community in competition: Women’s Rowing team looking for walk-ons

An informational meeting to be held on Aug. 30

By Wilder Isom | August 28, 2022 10:33am

Competing in any sport at the Division I level is a challenging and impressive thing to do. Many people who hope to compete at the DI level train for most of their lives. For some, however, they started competing in their freshman year of college, as walk-ons. 

On Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. the women’s rowing team is hosting an informational meeting about trying out for the team as a walk-on. This meeting will be held in the Beauchamp recreation center and will introduce people to the sport of rowing, give prospective rowers information about trying out for the team, and introduce some current rowers and benefits of joining the team.

by Wilder Isom / The Beacon

The sport offers University of Portland students a unique chance to compete at the highest collegiate level without requiring any prior knowledge of the sport itself. 

“There are Olympians who learn to row in college.” Gulliver Scott, the head coach of the women’s rowing team, said.Students aren’t guaranteed a spot if you take the class or walk on but it shouldn’t scare anyone off from trying out. 

“Our tryouts are a little different than traditional tryouts because we don't expect people to know how to row…because you're just learning,” Scott said.

The coaches will be evaluating people based on their attitude. The team wants to figure out who will be the type of athlete they can depend on and if they are willing to try something new, while wanting to get more involved in the community. 

“I joined rowing because I was looking for a way to get involved on campus and for another thing to do,” said sophomore, Phoebe Barkann, who joined the team her freshman year.  “I really like being active.”

Rowing is a sport that not many people know a lot about but it is an easy one to pick up. Assistant coach Lauren Fee spoke about three pillars that the team has embraced. The first is self-awareness. 

“It’s a really unique sport,” Fee said. “The fact is that it requires a lot of individual attention to yourself, awareness of your body, and what you're doing as well as how it affects your teammates around you.” Fee said. 

The next pillar is to “fill your bucket”. This is just the idea that the amount of work you put into rowing is the amount of success you get out of it. 

Finally, the third pillar is “full sass, double hustle”. 

“You just show up with a good attitude, and willing to work hard,” Fee said. “We're gonna have fun but ‘double hustle’ means we're also going to work hard, play hard, so we're going to put in a lot of work and have fun doing it.”

For anyone interested in a “taster course” there is a six-week intro to rowing class learning about how to work on fitness and the basics of rowing. 

While walking onto a DI sport may seem intimidating it’s a way to engage with the UP community as well as Pilot athletics. 

“Any advice I would have would be to trust the process,” Barkann said. I feel like if you're interested in it, do it because our coaches are trained to integrate us into the training” Barkann said. 

“You just have to go out and try it,” Fee said. “And if anything, you come out of it and you have learned a new skill and new sport, and you have a better appreciation for it.”

If you are interested in learning more attend the informational meeting or contact Lauren Fee at 

Wilder Isom is the Sports Editor at the beacon, she can be reached at