Frequently Asked Questions
How does one get into this program?
Selection of athletes to the team will be based on rowing performance/potential, recommendations, and fit with the program. Potential applicants should visit the "Apply" section of our website to download an application. Leading candidates will be invited to visit and/or meet the team/coach to ensure that Arion will be a good fit for the applicant.
Why is there a written application - why not just take the fastest rowers?
ARION aims to offer top-notch coaching, training and accommodations while also offering participants a meaningful non-rowing experience and meeting the mission of its host, the Saratoga Rowing Association. It will be important that participating athletes see the value of this approach and have interests or skills, outside of rowing, that will make them a valuable member of the SRA community effort. Think of this as a job application - because in a way, that's what it is. One part of the "job" will be training effectively and rowing your fastest; the other part will be making a meaningful contribution to Saratoga Rowing Association and the community.
Who is supporting this project?
The Saratoga Rowing Assoc. was founded in 1996 as a non-profit organization with the following mission: To strengthen our community by promoting the sport and culture of rowing, fostering excellence and integrity in our athletes, and growing Saratoga as a premier rowing destination. SRA will be supporting the athletes with low cost housing, coaching, part-time work, training trip and regatta support.
Who is the target audience for this program?
ARION is designed primarily to fill the gap that exists after collegiate rowing, and serve as a bridge from collegiate racing to national and international level competition. Most rowers won't reach their peak performance levels until well after the collegiate years, yet it's hard to graduate from college and tell your parents that you're "just going to train" for the next 3-5 years. This program hopes to provide a long-term training situation that also allows an athlete to develop and use other skills, specifically those related to the mission of the Saratoga Rowing Assoc, on a part-time basis. The athlete may not have time to earn a lot of extra money, but with low cost convenient housing and flexible job offerings that work with the training schedule, along with the rowing support, athletes can make investments in themselves as athletes.
What is the time commitment for this program?
One does not become a faster rower overnight. It's generally at least a 3-5 year proposition and thus requires a long-term commitment, with periodic review to be sure the goal is reasonable and the progress is good. This program is ideally structured to review and assess transitions on a 2 year rotating cycle with the ability to renew for an additional cycle. Because much of the commitment to SRA is based on coaching responsibilities, athletes are expected to commit through each season of high school rowing (with the exception of any call to join a national team) but the program remains at the discretion of both parties at all times.
Will rowers be paid for the part-time work, or is it an unpaid expectation of the program?
Program participants will be expected to do a certain amount of work for the SRA in exchange for their program participation. All work done for SRA is paid. There is a minimum expectation of 6 hours a week when the juniors program is in session (most work is coaching) but there are many additional hours related to all aspects of the organization from cleaning, to fundraising, to running social media, or installing a race course, there are hours available for those who wish to work/earn more than the minimum requirement.
What will the work opportunities be?
The majority of the expected work includes coaching the young athletes of Saratoga Rowing Assoc, some caretaking of facilities, and helping with regattas. Opportunities for paid work will include coaching masters programs, private and group tutoring, coaching corporate rowing sessions, and helping with other non-rowing programs.
What does Saratoga Rowing Assoc offer in terms of training facilities and opportunities?
SRA is located at the opening of Fish Creek into Saratoga Lake. The creek is a very protected 5000 meters long and the lake offers several miles additional rowable water when the weather cooperates. For several months of the year, Fish Creek is home to a 10 lane 1500 meter fully buoyed race course, and a 6 lane 2000 meter race course. For indoor facilities, SRA offers 2 training facilities on either side of the river, each is stocked with weights, C2 ergometers, Spin bikes and treadmills. The outdoors, however, is where you find the true beauty of Saratoga. Just 3 miles out of town, the roads quickly become rolling hills of farmland leading to the mountains of the Adirondacks. Running, Biking, Hiking, Cross Country Skiing are right outside the door and top notch.
ARION is also partnered with a few local Physical Therapist, a local doctor and a highly regarded lifting coach
Who are the Coaches?
Athletes will be regularly coached by SRA’s Executive Director and ARION head coach Eric Catalano and guest coached regularly by some of the country’s top coaches. Eric founded the program in 2016, and within the first olympic cycle achieved the following:
2017 World Championships (finals level quad and spare):
- 1 ARION athlete was the spare (first year of elite training - first national team)
- 1 ARION athlete was in the quad as a first time sr national team (was on a U23 sweep team)
- 1 ARION athlete was in the quad as a first time national team
2018 World Championships (finals level quad):
- 1 ARION alum was in the quad for a second time after spending the year with the national team
- 1 ARION athlete was in the quad the second time after an additional year with ARION
- 1 ARION athlete who was the spare in 2017 stroked the quad
2021 Olympics (finals level double):
- 1 ARION athlete finished 3rd in the singles trials and finished 5th in the double in Tokyo
While the international racing is proof of concept, some of the bigger successes of the ARION program have been the introduction of new athletes onto the national scene. Eric prides himself in being a teacher of the sport and helping athletes get to the next level with more than just the addition of volume but finding a deeper understanding of HOW to move a boat. Yes, definitely get fitter! but Level up the boat feel and the nuances of moving a boat and of finding the rhythm that works.
Do I need to know how to scull?
No! Both sweep rowers and scullers are welcome to apply. You will be introduced to sculling and it may be included in your training but it does not have to be your primary focus. We are excited to teach small boat skills and transfer your fitness into small boat speed.
Do I need to bring my own boat?
SRA has a fleet of equipment of all sizes to accommodate all sorts of training. You are also encouraged to bring the shell you have been training in prior to coming to Saratoga, but if you do not have a shell, a club boat will be made available.
What happens in the winter?
Yes, the lake does freeze in the winter. In a typical year it will be frozen from December until April. Apart from standard indoor training, time will be dedicated for southern trips for a good portion of the winter.
What is the expected housing arrangement?
Subject to availability, low cost housing ($300/mo all inclusive) is provided in the Saratoga Rowing Assoc. training center. There are 8 bedrooms, a kitchen, a common space, a deck overlooking the lake, and 2 bathrooms on the second floor above the training space. The first floor also houses 4 more showers and 4 more toilets in the locker rooms. Also available are 2 washers and dryers, an extra fridge, and a cold tub in the basement (and a bunch of ergometers). This housing is across the bridge from the boathouse and is about a 6 minute walk. It is also 3 miles from downtown Saratoga (often ranked top 10 best main street in US).
There is also an option to live off site, at your own expense. Housing in Saratoga can be expensive, but one only needs to drive 15 minutes out of town to find much more reasonable prices.
Is there any social life in Saratoga?
Saratoga is an extremely vibrant small town and was recently named as one of the most picturesque towns of NY state. It is home to the Saratoga Performing Arts center, Skidmore College, the Saratoga Horse Racing track, and more restaurants and bars than you can possibly visit in a year. The downtown of Saratoga revolves around a “main street” feel, but venturing out a bit you find movie theaters, public pools in the state park, golf courses, sailing clubs, and pretty much anything horse related. With just a short drive you can get to the Adirondack Mountains where hiking and camping have been a staple recreational activity of the ARION program.