McCrea attended Redwood High School. She rowed for the Marin Rowing Association where she was in the varsity boat for three years. She won gold medals in the eight at the San Diego crew classic, Windermere Cup Opening Day and Windermere Collegiate Crew Classic. She collected silver in the eight at Southwest Regional Championships and the Youth Invitational (Junior National Championships). McCrea was invited to the US Junior National Team Selection camp where she earned a spot on the team that represented the USA at the Junior World Championships in Amsterdam in August, 2006. At Yale, she was part of the boat that won the Collegiate Eights at the 2006 Head of the Charles. She is a member of Branford College.