An Introduction to Rowing

Rowing is a water-based endurance sport – considered one of the most technical and toughest sports in the world.

Rowing involves sitting in a boat and using an oar(s) to propel the boat.

River/inland rowing involves sitting on a movable seat and using the legs, back and arms to move the boat using the oars.

People row in crews or on their own.

Types of Rowing

Sweep rowing - one oar per person.

Scullingtwo oars per person.

Bow-side refers to the side of the boat where the oar is out to the left (or port side) of the rower.

Stroke-side refers to the side of the boat where the oar is out the right (or starboard side) of the rower


Types of Racing Boat:

Scull/Sculler (1x)


Pair (2-), from L to R: Bow and Stroke (pair = one oar each)


Double (2x), from L to R: Bow and Stroke (double = two oars each)


Coxless Four (4-), from L to R: Bow, 2, 3, Stroke (four = one oar each)


Coxed Quad (4x+) (quad = two oars each)


Eight (8+), from L to R: Cox, Stroke, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, bow
(eight = one oar each.) (An octet = two oars each)


Categories of Racing


The Racing Season

During the racing season the Coláiste Iognáid Rowing Club competes in a range of events around the country. For details of domestic races of interest for Coláiste Iognáid Rowing Club in 2015-16 see Schedule and Regattas.

Rowing is broken into two seasons – head of river races and regattas.

Head of the River races:


The National Championships are the main focus of the season. The "Champs", which Coláiste Iognáid competes in each year, are held at the Irish National Rowing Centre on Innishcarra Lake in County Cork. In 2016, this will be July 15-17 and all crews will participate in this event.

Training for Rowing

Rowing training is broken down into land-based and water-based training.

Land-based training:

Water-based training:

During the season, rowing is every Saturday and Sunday for everyone – rowing on other days will vary, depending on crew.


Training Gear Tips

Land training is often indoors, so shorts, t-shirt and a good pair of runners are sufficient.

Water-based training takes place in the outdoors!!


Racing Gear



Rowing is an endurance sport so there is a high volume of regular training required.  Therefore, the nutritional requirements of the athletes are very important - the food pyramid for a rower can be broken down to, on average:

Athletes should eat within 30 minutes of finishing exercise to help recovery (e.g. fruit, sandwich, etc.). They should not eat during the hour before training.


The importance of hydration and keeping hydrated cannot be over-emphasised. Rowers should always have a bottle of water/sports drink (can be home-made) with them up the river.

The Jes Rowing Club

National & International Governing Bodies

Some Rowing Internet Links


Important rules

There are a number of rules which must be strictly adhered to in the Club by all rowers and coaches:

In addition:


An Introduction to the Sculling Stroke

The following photos and notes are an edited extract from the British Rowing web site (britishrowing.com).

The sequence of photos shows you what you will be working toward.  The photos are arranged in two phases:

The Drive Phase: Point 1 Point 2 Point 3 Point 4

The Recovery Phase: Point 5 Point 6 Point 7 Point 8

The Drive Phase

Point 1


This is the start of the drive phase of the stroke, when the blades are placed in the water (called 'the catch') and the boat is driven forward using the large muscle groups in the legs and body.

The shins are vertical, the back straight and leaning forward and the body closed up on the thighs.  

Common Errors at Point 1


Point 2


It is a mistake to think that rowing is pulling with the arms, but many beginners do this.

Common Errors at Point 2  


Point 3


Nearing the end of the drive phase the body swings back and the arms are used to maintain the momentum of the blade handles.  

  Common Errors at Point 3  


Point 4

The hands make a small tap downwards, to lift the blades clear of the water.

This is the end of the drive phase.

Common Errors at Point 4  


The Recovery Phase

Point 5


At the beginning of the recovery phase, the hands move down and away, following the trajectory of the arrow.  

  Common Errors at Point 5  


Point 6

Common Errors at Point 6  


Point 7

Common Errors at Point 7  


Point 8


The body at this point is in the catch position, moving forward until the shins are vertical and the sequence begins again.  

  Common Errors at Point 8   

To achieve the technique illustrated in these photos requires many hours of hard work and concentration.