COLLEGEVILLE - Local college students watching the Olympic games might get hooked on the sport of rowing.

If you walk down to the beautiful shores of Lake Sagatagan on the campus of St. John’s University during the early morning hours this fall, chances are you’ll see the St. John’s and St. Ben’s rowing team practicing their sport.

Crew is a club sport for the schools, which means they don’t have a coach and they’re self-taught.

Senior Maddie Ames says she took-up the sport after watching the Olympics four years ago.

None of us here right now had any experience. Maybe a few tried the rowing machines, or tried it once or twice, but nobody had any solid experience. So we're all self-taught from everyone who's graduated before us.

One of their alumni, Matt Schnobrich realized his Olympic dream qualifying for the 2008 games in Beijing in an eight-man crew.

Ames says they usually have about 30 team members.

A handful of the team members met with me recently, and took me out on a short ride, giving me a few pointers.

Races are called “Regattas”.  The St. John’s and St. Ben’s team usually compete in about three or four every fall against other colleges around the state.

The common length for a regatta is a 5K.

Competitions are held for two, four, and eight seat boats.

Photo by's Chrissy Gaetke

Over the weekend there was gold earned in rowing as the U.S. women's eight won its third straight Olympic competition, finishing ahead of Britain and Romania.

Americans have won 11 straight world and Olympic titles in the event since 2006.

The rowing competition is now over for these Olympic games.

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