Orlando Area Rowing Society (OARS)

Home of Orlando's premier rowing club. Address: 2457 Maguire Rd, Windermere, FL 34786 Phone: (407) 906-2410

High School Competitive Program

Our high school Men’s and Women’s teams are the pinnacle of OARS’s competitive rowing efforts. Here, we have young women and men in or near their athletic prime, both physically and technically. (Many came through our Middle School program and received excellent instruction there, although this is not a prerequisite for entering the high school program.)

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The focus at the high school level is on racing and preparing for racing. The fall season regattas are usually head races (so called in rowing lore because the winner is considered “head” of the host river or lake). These endurance races are usually over 5,000 meter (about 3 mile) courses, but some go as high as 10,000 meters. The spring season is for sprints: quick, hard races of 1,500 or 2,000 meters. OARS youth rowers usually compete in boats of eight, four, and two rowers.

The youth program is demanding, but the rewards are commensurate. During much of the season, there are practices six days per week — every day but Sunday. Significant time on the water is a big part of the regimen, but so are land-based workouts with weight and ergometers (rowing machines), plus stretching and other flexibility work. Because of this schedule, youth program rowers must be disciplined about all aspects of their lives, on and off the water: punctuality and enthusiasm at practice are crucial, but schoolwork — quantity and quality — are just as important. OARS rowers must submit report cards every grading period, and must keep their grades at a high level to remain in the program.

Ordinarily, rowers are eligible for the youth program when they enter ninth grade. (Some eighth graders from the Middle School Program may be invited to join the high school program at the coaches’ discretion.) High schoolers generally spend their first High School Program year as novices. In the following years, they are considered “returners,” or veteran oarsmen.

Many OARS rowers have continued their careers in college, some with athletic scholarships from top universities all over North America. Click here for a list of colleges attended by OARS graduates.

Click here for detailed information on High School Program costs, due dates and other requirements.

If you have questions about the High School Program, please email our High School Program Directors, John Mahalek and Bill Sellers (men) at HSMenPD@oarsrowing.com or Patrick McKinney and Ed Sabis (girls) at HSGirlsPD@oarsrowing.com.

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