I had my first taste of rowing back in 1987 as part of our school sport option. We got to choose different sports and do them for six weeks. At the time, I learnt to row in a single scull, and my main memory of that was falling in the water and not being able to get back on the scull and our teacher having to come out, jump in the water and steady it in order for me to get back on!
Apparently that didn’t phase me (but it has always given me a fear of falling in from a single….), as I tried again at the end of Uni by joining the Curtin Rowing club for a few months before I moved to Canberra. Then in Canberra, I joined the ANU rowing club for a while before moving to Switzerland. It wasn’t until I moved to the UK in 2003 that I decided I could finally join a club and learn to row properly – and that was with the Milton Keynes Rowing Club.
There are two types of rowing – sculling (with two oars) and sweeping (with one oar). So the boat combinations are:
- single scull – one person with two oars
- double – two people, two oars each
- pair – two people, one oar each
- quad – four people, two oars each
- four – four people, one oar each
- eight – eight people, one oar each
- octupule – I haven’t seen this in person, but you can have a boat with eight people, two oars each, and it goes very fast! Looks like a catapillar!
Rowing boats can be coxed or coxless. That is, there is a coxswain that sits either at the back (stern) or front (bow) of the boat and is responsible for steering, and coordinating the power and rhythm of the rowers. Usually, this person is small and lightweight! Eights are always coxed, fours or quads can be either, whereas doubles, pairs and singles are always coxless.
Rowing is a great sport. I love being part of a crew and getting the motivation from training and the desire to win competitive races. In WA, the rowing season runs from April until September each year, which is during the Winter, due to the fact that the water on the river is not as suitable for rowing in Summer due to the sea breeze.
You become a ‘masters’ rower once you reach the year you turn 27 years old.