History And Rules Of Rowing, A Fascinating Sport

Probably the most interesting thing about the rowing competition rules is to understand that, behind every principle, there is a story. From a method of propulsion for boats to becoming a successful Olympic sport, the historical process has been full of transformations.
History and rules of rowing, a fascinating sport

The origins of rowing are to be found in a millenary tradition, yet this sport is still in full shape in Europe and in the world. Its dynamics and the complexity of its techniques make it very interesting for young people. But those who dream of succeeding in this discipline will surely have to know the history and rules of rowing.

The main technical and sporting rules of rowing guide the professional practice of this sport in official events. However, talking about regulating rowing at a competitive level does not only mean memorizing a list of requirements and obligations, but also differentiating their methods and other concepts. Let’s see together the history and rules of rowing.

History of rowing

Rowing was not born as a sport, but as one of the first methods of manual propulsion for boats. It was probably practiced by all the most ancient peoples who inhabited regions rich in rivers and lakes and was crucial for the search for food, mobility and survival of the indigenous populations.

However, the history of rowing as a sport begins in seventeenth-century Europe, more precisely in England. Initially, it was only practiced by British gentlemen and was considered a stately sport.

Only in the mid-nineteenth century, this sport would cross English borders and the first teams began to form in Spain, Portugal and Argentina. It was at this time that the first rules for regulating sports competitions began to be formulated.

The International Rowing Federation (FISA) would also have been founded at that time. To this day, this continues to be the body responsible for regulating and promoting the practice of rowing globally.

To this end, FISA must also ensure that the rowing competition regulations are updated to coincide with the transformations of the sport and its athletes.

People canoeing in a yacht club.

Procedures and rules

The adoption of new techniques and technologies in rowing has allowed the sport to diversify rapidly. Not only in terms of style, but also in the construction and design of the boats.

To get an idea, the current Olympic rowing program includes fourteen modes, in which men and women compete, in light and heavy weights, following the rules set out in the corresponding regulations.

On the other hand, there are many other forms of competitive rowing that are not Olympic, but also have their own rules, in addition to the particularities of the boats, the sports equipment and the type of waters in which the competitions take place.

This is why it is currently not possible to talk about a single mode or a single rowing competition regulation. However, there are some basic concepts and rules that must be followed in practically all competitions. Let’s see some examples.

Basic concepts of rowing competition rules

First of all, it is worth framing the concept of an official rowing competition. According to the regulations, a rowing competition is held by means of a race in calm waters and straight courses. In this way, in official competitions, the only variables that differentiate the modalities are the weight and the specialties of the rowers.

Although the routes are always marked, the regulations do not require that boats necessarily remain inside them. It only determines that the boats must not interfere with each other during the regattas and the athletes must respect a minimum distance.

During the official competitions, sporting events take place with preliminary, semifinal and final tests. Usually the participating teams are divided into two or more groups and the event lasts at least four days. Furthermore, the number of groups and the duration of the races vary according to the number of athletes in the crew.

Departure and arrival

The start of the rowing trials includes a ritual that sees the person in charge of the start as the protagonist. As soon as he warns: “Two minutes”, this person will be responsible for certifying that all crews and judges are ready to start the race.

Rowing race.

Only after the crews have been nominated one by one, the person in charge of the start intervenes to confirm or delay the start of the race. If the judge gives the white light, the official says “Attention”, a siren sounds and a mechanism releases the bow of the boats. This means that the race has started.

Arrival is a little easier. When the bow of the winning boat crosses the finish line, the siren sounds again. Likewise, the thirteen final judges will decide if there is a photo finish , to determine which crew was the winner.

Find out more about the rules and history of rowing

On the FISA website you can find a lot of information on international rowing rules, events and competitions. At the national level, the Italian Rowing Federation (Italian Rowing Federation) you can find all the regulations, calendars and important news of rowing that take place on the Italian territory.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button