But there are boats such as "Gwyn The Hunter," an eight-seater that the Bethesda-Chevy Chase (Md.) Battling Barons named after making the finals of the varsity eight last season.
"Our coach is an English teacher," Bethesda-Chevy Chase rower Nicolai Parks said Friday, during the first day of competition on the Schuylkill. "He said we were the only school in the finals that wasn't a private school with a religious affiliation. So since we didn't have the Christian God on our side, we saw we needed help from a Welsh god."
Whitman, which also is in Bethesda, went the god-of-myth route, too. Those girls named one of their boats "Valkyrie," after a Norse legend.
"Our nickname is the Vikings, so we were looking for some cool, Viking, female forms," Whitman coach Kirk Shipley said. "We picked 'Valkyrie,' but then we realized that she decides who lives and who dies in battle.
"We were like, 'Girls, are you sure you want this?'
"They were like, 'Yeah, that's awesome.' "
The boats are expensive. A new eight-seater can cost $25,000 to $30,000, so many boats are named after the people who write the biggest checks.
But lots of teams fund-raise to pay for the boats, and lots of benefactors leave the naming rights to the kids and coaches.
Merion Mercy Academy has boats named "MT 1720" - for the Biblical passage Matthew, Chapter 17, Verse 20 - as well as "Live Mercy" and "Seek Justice."
Gonzaga Prep of Washington, D.C., has boats named after influential faculty members such as the "Sr. Seton Cuneen," who was there when they poured champagne over the bow.
"She's like a mini-Mother Teresa," Gonzaga assistant coach Paul Hamm said.
Teaneck (N.J.) has a boat named "Pain and Glory," because that sums up the sport, according to coach Clemens Reinke.
Arlington (N.Y.) has a boat named "Storm King," after a mountain in the Hudson Highlands, and also because of the team's home course.
"We hit a lot of rough water in the Hudson River," coach Paul Stasaitis said.
Some boats are named after traits the rowers bring to the sport, such as "Integrity" and "Commitment" and "Intensity."
Some are named for old graduates, such as "The Spirit of '77" and "The Boys of '76."
Some are named with tongue in cheek, such as Our Lady of Mercy Academy's "Crews Control," and St. Paul's of Baltimore's "Crewsaders," and Moorestown's "Crewella de Ville."
St. Paul's has another boat named "T. Ward Victory," as in "toward victory."
"We're big on the puns," St. Paul's coach Simon Ponce said.
Winter Park (Fla.) has a boat named "The Hammer," a sleek, silver eight covered with Mercedes paint, according to senior Britton Maloney.
"This boat is awesome," Maloney said.
Elizabeth Seton of Bladensburg, Md., has a boat named "Party of Five."
"It was donated by a group of girls who used to row for us," coach Julie Ridgway said. "They love hearing our name announced, 'Seton crew, Party of Five.' "
There are "Black Pearl" and "Seabiscuit," "Odins Fury" and "Jesuit Lightning," "Becky's Spirit" - named in honor of a young rower who died of cancer, according to coach Mike Petrychanko of Eden High in St. Catherine's, Ontario - and "The Dark Horse."
Friends Academy of Locust Valley, N.Y., has a boat named "Rowmance" and another named "Molly Pitcher," after the rest stop near Exit 8 of the New Jersey Turnpike.
"It's halfway here, and we stop there every year," coach Allison Doherty said.
Contact Phil Anastasia at 856-779-3223, email@example.com, or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.philly.com/jerseysidesports