Anna Goodale's Guide to Watching Rowing

Anna Goodale's Guide to Watching Rowing

(US Rowing)

(Continued from page 1)

Make a Move or Power 10: A “move” is an intentional, collective series of strokes to gain momentum. It can be accomplished by to upping the stroke rate, focusing on a certain technical aspect or collectively increasing power.

The Sprint: While the whole race is essentially a sprint, the final strokes in each race are what we refer to as “the sprint.” The final 250-to-500 meters in a race can determine who wins or loses.


Sweeping/Sculling: There are two disciplines in rowing. Sweeping refers to the boat classes where each rower has one oar. Sculling refers to the boat classes where each rower has two oars.

Boat Standards: All boats are required to meet certain standards of length, weight, blade thickness, coxswain seat, flotation, bowball (a rubber ball at the bow tip to protect against collision damage) and quick release foot stretchers. Each of these is routinely checked before or after each race.

Course Regulations: A course must be straight with no less than six lanes providing fair and equal racing conditions for six crews. The length is 2,000 meters, and the standard international course is 108 meters wide and at least three meters deep.

Game Changers

1900: The first Olympic race was held. Rowing was one of the original modern Olympic sports in the 1896 Athens games, but that first year the race was canceled due to weather.

1956: It became standard for races to consist of six boats in a side-by-side formation.

1976: For the first time, women were allowed to compete in rowing (on a 1000-meter course, half the distance of the men’s race) in the Montreal Olympics.


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