Rowing as a team sport traces its roots back to the 1800’s, notably at Oxford and Cambridge in England and at Yale and Harvard in the United States. The Harvard Yale race, first held in 1852, is the oldest inter-collegiate athletic event in America. This race continues to this day. Rowing has also led the way in amateur sports. The first amateur sports association in this country was a rowing organization-Philadelphia’s Schuylkill Navy in 1858-and the first national governing body for a sport in America was the National Association for Amateur Oarsmen founded in 1872.
Rowing is a year-round, full-body conditioning activity. Attributes of a seasoned rower are the leg power of a speed skater, back strength of a weight lifter, endurance of a marathon runner, reflexes of a sprinter and the balance of a snowboarder. There are no “stars” in rowing, it is therefore considered to be the ultimate team sport. Rowers must work together in total unison as a team to achieve victory. Crew teaches the importance of teamwork, perseverance and discipline, invaluable lessons for life.
When people refer to rowing, they usually refer to sweep rowing or sculling. In sweep rowing, athletes use one oar to propel the boat or “shell,” as it is commonly called. Sweep boats come in twos (pairs), fours, and eights. Scullers on the other hand use two oars and can row alone in a single, with someone else in a double or with three other people in a quad. Scullers steer their own boat, either using a rudder that they move with their foot or varying the pressure with either oar. Sweep rowers may or may not have a coxswain-the on-the-water coach and the person who steers. All eights have a coxswain, but pairs and fours may or may not.
Crew is a year long sport, with races in both the fall and spring. The Syosset Rowing Club rowing year begins in September with the fall season and ends with the spring season which ends in late May. An abbreviated winter and summer program is also occasionally offered.
Fall – The fall season is traditionally a “training” season in which rowers concentrate on technique and stamina. Races in the fall are called “Head” races and are longer than regatta races in the spring. These races are approximately 2.5 to 3.5 miles and starts are staggered so that crews race against the clock. Crews do not know the results until some time after the race ends.
Spring – The spring season is the culmination of all the hard work we’ve done in the fall and winter. Our first race takes place shortly after we return to the water. Thus, all rowers are required to attend practice during the spring school break. Spring races are referred to as “Sprint” races. These races are 1500 meters (approx 1 mile) long. Boats race directly against each other in lanes on a marked straight or nearly straight course.
At the Regatta – By directing any questions you may have to another parent, you minimize distractions to coaches who are concentrating on preparing each team boat for the next race.
A request from our coaches – Prior to a race, rowers are preparing themselves mentally for the upcoming competition. Please do not disrupt their concentration at this time. If you would like to have the rowers pose for a picture, please do so after their race. Also, please do not attend coach’s meetings with the team unless the coach has invited you.
Essential Items for the Rower
- Race uniform
- Good pair of running sneakers for land practice
- Change of clothing; extra socks - Dry towel - Sandals - Water bottle Essentials for the Spectator - Dress in layers - Rain gear, umbrella - Hat or visor, sunglasses - Warm, comfortable, waterproof shoes or boots are best
- Sun screen, bug spray, lip balm
A successful crew team requires a significant commitment and effort from rowers, coaches and parents. Funds required for capital outlays, maintenance of equipment, fall and summer coach’s salaries are supplied through participation fees and fundraisers. Without crew families’ support, the rowing program could not exist.
Rowers are expected to:
- Give 110% of yourself to your sport and team
- Participate in general meetings
- Help in fundraising functions
- Load and unload trailer before and after regattas
- Respect coaches and chaperones
- Maintain and respect the club’s equipment
All rowers must sign and abide by the Syosset Rowing Club Team Rules and Responsibilities. A rower may be suspended or dismissed by the coach for improper behavior..
Rigger - Triangular-shaped metal device that is bolted onto the side of the boat and holds the oars.
Stretcher - Where the rower’s feet go. Stretcher consists of two inclined footrests which hold the rower’s shoes. The shoes are bolted into the footrests.
Cox-box - Electronic amplifier for the coxswain that plugs into a speaker system built into the boat. Also contains a stroke meter to measure strokes rowed per minute.
Ergometer - Rowing machine that closely approximates the actual rowing motion. Erg tests are used by coaches to ascertain an athlete’s aerobic and endurance capabilities.
Crab - When an oar blade enters the water at an angle, instead of perpendicularly, it can get caught under the surface. The oar handle drives into the stomach and has the potential to throw a rower out of the boat entirely.
Set - The balance and feel of the boat. The most efficient boats are balanced evenly over the center line and remain so throughout the strokes. If rowers aren’t aligned properly, or a rower swings off center, or if rowers on one side of the boat pull with more or less force, the set of the boat can be altered, introducing drag.
The art of Rowing Crew is shown in this video, as well as the presentation of different types of rowing, rowing terms, etc.