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Rowing Word Bank

As with any new activity, there are always new words that you will need to learn. Below is a list of rowing words that you will hear at different times throughout your journey.


Junior – Anyone under 18 years of age


Novice – Anyone rowing for less than three seasons (I.e. spring, summer, and fall)


Experienced – Anyone with more than three season’s experience


Regatta – A time that rowers come together to race against other crews


Sweeping – type of rowing when each rower has one oar


Sculling – type of rowing when each rower has two oars (our club will be sculling)


Boat Sizes – Single (1x), Double (2x) and Quad (4x) are all sculling boats. Pair (2+), Four (4+) and Eight (8+) are all sweep



Ergometer – Rowers call it an “erg.” It’s a rowing machine that closely approximates the actual rowing motion. The rowers’ choice is the Concept II, which utilizes a flywheel and a digital readout so that the rower can measure his “strokes per minute” and the distance covered.


Port – Left side of the boat, while facing forward, in the direction of the movement Starboard – Right side of the boat, while facing forward, in the direction of movement.


Crab – Occurs from a blade work error where a rower is unable to properly remove their oar from the water. A crab can slow down or even stop the boat. In extreme cases, a crab can eject the rower from the shell.


Head Race – Type of race where crews start in a single file line and race for time. Longer than sprint races, head races range from 3.5k to 6k and are usually run on rivers or lakes during the fall season.


Pogies – A type of glove with holes on the ends which allow the rower to row with bare hands on the handle


Sprint Race – Type of race where crews race side by side in lanes for 2000 meters. In the US, this is the standard race that takes place in spring and summer on lakes and rivers.


Seat Race – A coach’s tool for comparing two or more rowers. Two boats race against each other at once. One rower from each boat switches positions and the two boats race again. Relative performance in two or more races is used to compare the abilities of the two or more rowers on the water.

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