The article below is a brief overview of the sport of rowing taken from Rowing Canada. Once you’ve finished reading, click the button to the right to explore the exciting programs Barrie Rowing Club can offer you!
Rowers tend to be passionate about their sport. The sensation of being able to propel a boat at speed through the water under one’s own power is exhilarating. It requires teamwork and concentration so that one is almost oblivious to the physical exertion employed. Rowing is a sport that can be enjoyed by all. You can start at any age, learn the technique quickly and improve on it for the rest of your life. To many it is more than a sport, teaching lessons for life:
- the need to work together with others from all backgrounds;
- the values of fair play and consideration for others in the form of good sportsmanship; and
- the benefits to be obtained from hard work and self-discipline.
- RCA has attempted to capture this vision of the sport in its vision statement: “Fostering excellence and teamwork for life through rowing.”
Rowing also brings significant health benefits. It exercises all the major muscle groups through the full range of motion, involves no body contact or jarring of the joints, and improves both strength and cardiovascular performance. It attracts those looking for an enjoyable recreational activity as well as those looking for exciting competitive opportunities.
Championship races are rowed over 2,000 metres (one mile, 427 yards) in six lanes which are straight and buoyed. There are up to four rounds – heats, repechages, semi-finals and finals. The repechage round is for losing crews in the heats, meaning that every crew that loses in a heat has a second chance before being eliminated. The draw is conducted round by round according to alternative and previously undisclosed systems. The first three crews in each semi-final compete in the A final, and the last three in each semi-final compete in the B final for places 7 to 12. Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded for the first three crews to cross the line in the A final.
Sprint Races – a full-speed sprint from start to finish. Often shorter distances.
Head races – The distances vary, but are usually about 3.5 to 5 miles.
Length – 8.280 m
Width – 0.280 m
Depth – 0.170 m
Weight – 14.5 kg
Length – 10.000 m
Width – 0.383 m
Depth – 0.195 m
Weight – 28 kg
|Coxed fourBoat Stats
Length – 12.900 m
Width – 0.490 m
Depth – 0.250 m
Weight – 59 kg
Length – 12.900 m
Width – 0.484 m
Depth – 0.225 m
Weight – 61 kg
Length – 17.600 m
Width – 0.590 m
Depth – 0.285 m
Weight – 110 kg
The boats for competition were traditionally made from wood, but are mostly fabricated from carbon fibre and plastic (ie. Kevlar).
Rowing shells are 0.280 metres to 0.590 metres wide and 8.280 metres to 17.600 metres long. A small fin is fitted at the bottom for stability. A rudder is attached to the fin or the stern (except for sculling boats). A white ball is attached to the bow (called a bow ball for safety measure, photofinish). A washboard prevents waves splashing aboard. Seats are fitted with wheels which slide on runners, or tracks.
Oars are hollow to reduce weight, attached to the boat by adjustable out riggers. Size and shape of the oars is unrestricted, the average length of a sweep oar being 3.81 metres and of a scull being 2.98 metres.
There are six Olympic types of boats, of which three are for sweep-oared rowing in which the rower uses one oar with both hands, and three are for sculling in which two oars are used, one in each hand.
The sculling boats are single scull, double scull, and quadruple scull, the sweep oared events are straight pair, straight four and eight. In the eight there is a coxswain who sits in the stern or lies in the bow of the boat.
The crew that is making it look easy is most likely the one doing the best job. While you’re watching, look for:
- Continuous, fluid motion of the rowers. The rowing motion shouldn’t have a discernible end or beginning.
- Synchronization. Rowers strive for perfect synchronization in the boat.
- Clean catches of the oarblade. If you see a lot of splash, the oarblades aren’t entering the water correctly. The catch should happen at the end of the recovery, when the hands are as far ahead of the rower as possible. Rowers who uncoil before they drop the oarblades are sacrificing speed and not getting a complete drive.
- Even oarblade feathering. When the blades are brought out of the water, they should all move horizontally close to the water and at the same height. It’s not easy, especially if the water is rough.
- The most consistent speed. Shells don’t move like a car — they’re slowest at the catch, quickest at the release. The good crews time the catch at just the right moment to maintain the speed of the shell.
- Rowing looks graceful, elegant and sometimes effortless when it’s done well. Don’t be fooled. Rowers haven’t been called the world’s most physically fit athletes for nothing. A 2,000-metre rowing race demands virtually everything a human being can physically bring to an athletic competition — aerobic ability, technical talent, exceptional mental discipline, ability to utilize oxygen efficiently and in huge amounts, balance, pain tolerance, and the ability to continue to work when the body is demanding that you stop.
More race-watching tips:
- Race times can vary considerably depending upon the course and weather conditions. Tailwinds will improve times, while headwinds and crosswinds will hamper them.
- If a crew “catches a crab,” it means that the oar blade has entered the water at an angle instead of perpendicularly. The oar blade gets caught under the surface and will slow or even stop a shell.
- A “Power 10” is a call by the coxswain for 10 of the crew’s best, most powerful strokes. Good coxswains read the course to know how many strokes remain for their crew to count down to the finish.
- Crews are identified by their oar-blade design.
- It doesn’t matter whether you win an Olympic medal or don’t make the finals – each crew will carry their boat back to the rack.
- Coxswains from first-place boats worldwide are thrown into the water by their crews.
- Coxswains don’t now and probably never did yell “stroke! stroke!” Similar to a jockey, their job is to implement the coach’s strategy during the race, in addition to steering and letting the rowers know where they stand in the race and what they need to do to win.
The above information was sourced from: www.rowingcanada.org