Crew Team Explores Usage of Hydration Sensors

Kent School Boat Club

The application for the Nix Hydration Biosensor continues to expand beyond the confines of traditional endurance sports. In March 2024, eight members of the Kent School Boat Club Rowing team attended spring training camp at Clemson University and incorporated Nix into their daily activities.

Kent School is an independent, coed boarding high school two hours outside of New York City. The Boys Crew team is coached by Eric Houston who began his rowing career at Kent earning numerous medals during his time at the school. During Houston’s senior year he was a member of the team that won a gold medal at both NEIRA’s and Stotesbury (previously known as the National Championship regatta). Houston went on to rack up the accolades at Trinity College before ultimately returning to Kent to teach Biology and coach the boys Crew team. 

Rowing Background and Protocols

Rowing, also called crew, is a sport in which individuals or teams propel a narrow boat through water using oars attached to the boat with oarlocks. There are two disciplines in rowing: sculling and sweep rowing. In sculling, each rower holds two oars with one in each hand while in sweep rowing each rower holds one oar with both hands. Teams can compete in a variety of boat classes ranging from single sculls (one person) to eights, which includes eight rowers and a coxswain.

In 2010, Kent won the Youth National Championships in Cincinnati, Ohio, in an eight, becoming only the second "schoolboy" crew to win the National championship. To date, there have only been three Schoolboys crews that have won in the eights. Additionally, Kent School held the record for the fastest time for over eight years.

In the team boats coordination and synchronization are essential. Rowers must work together seamlessly to maintain rhythm and balance and maximize the boat's speed. When one member of the team is off even slightly, it has the ability to throw off the entire team. During the Kent School Boat Club spring training camp at Clemson University, the first boat of eight utilized Nix over the course of nine days. The sensor was utilized during both on water training as well as dryland workouts. This allowed the team to get ample data during their training which focused on strength, endurance and cardiovascular fitness. The team members supplemented their workouts with DripDrop for fueling plus GU Roctane gels for high intensity days. During their pre-workout they used Vega Pre-Workout Energizer (no sugar) and for post-session recovery, they tried both Hammer Recoverite and 1st Phorm.

Analyzing Their Nix Data

The crew team was astounded by the dramatic differences in both sweat rates and electrolyte loss rates within the team. Total sweat losses ranged across the board with the highest loss coming in more than 2x the fluid loss of another team member. This same phenomenon was seen when looking at the sweat composition for the athletes, reinforcing that sweat is personal and each individual has their own unique fluid and electrolyte needs. This insight is significant in  endurance team sports and has a meaningful impact on how all the athletes now approach their fueling and hydration plans, particularly on multi-race days (regattas) where there are multiple heats and finals.

Upon reviewing the data from early training sessions, the athletes adjusted their fueling and hydration plans according to what they learned from their time utilizing Nix. Every athlete who received their personalized sweat data reported a material improvement in their performance.

Nix continues to pave the way for athletes to gather their personal sweat data and address their hydration and fueling needs, ultimately improving performance and safety while positioning them to perform at their peak.