Seats: Sound like you know what you’re talking about 

Seats: “What seat are you?” Each seat in the boat has a number, from 1-8. Since we row backwards, the stroke seat (leader) is in the stern. They are number 8. Bow seat is number 1. Typically port seats are even numbers (2,4,6,8), and starboards are odd (1,3,5,7) unless a boat is Starboard rigged (we have one starboard rigged boat right now). How do we pick seats? There are a lot of funny memes on the internet about the meaning of each seat… its worth googling for a laugh. But here is how we do it:

8 seat (stroke): needs to have good rhythm and boat feel. Doesn’t necessarily need to be the strongest, but needs to be aggressive.

7 seat: one of the hardest seats to sit because there is no starboard in front of them to follow, but they set the pace for all the starboard behind them. This seat needs to be a perfect follower, and very responsive to changes that the stroke seat makes immediately.

Seats 6,5,4,3: known as the power house. These rowers typically have the best erg scores in the boat. They don’t have to be as technical as 8 and 7 or 1 and 2, although they still have to row well. Usually the taller, heavier, stronger people in the boat sit here. Since its in the middle of the boat they wont tip the stern or boat.

Seats 1 and 2: Bow pair. Bow pair are usually the shortest and lightest. They feel the rocking of the boat (set) more than anyone else, so they need to be very technical in order to row well in these seats.


A Spectator Guide to Rowing: 

The Categories:

Sweep Rowing


                              Stroke             6 seat             4 seat              2 seat

8 boat

Coxswain’s seat                7 seat            5 seat           3 seat             Bow


Sweep Rowing is the most prevalent in collegiate rowing. Each rower holds only one oar—either a port or a starboard. A coxswain steers the boat, and keeps the crew motivated. In a head race, steering the right course can win the race. Sweep rowing includes 8+s and 4+’s.


                   Stroke    3 seat    2 seat     Bow

4 boat

In Sculling, each rower holds two oars, both a port and a starboard. Many sculling boats are un-coxed, meaning the person in the bow must steer the course by looking behind them. Sculling boats include 4x, 2x, and 1x.

The Parts of the Stroke:

The Catch:       When the blade drops into the water. All rowers catches should be synchronized.

The Drive:       When the rowers pull the blade through the water, using first their legs, then their

arms. Remember: rowing is a leg sport!

The Finish:      At the end of the drive when the blade is released from the water.

The Recovery: the blades are our of the water moving up towards the catch

And it begins all over again…

The Race

Head Race:     In this style race, competitors begin the course staggered and compete for the best

                           time. For this reason you cannot determine the winner simply by watching the race.

                           However, when a crew with a higher bow number is overtaking a crew with a lower

                           bow number you know they are doing well!

Stroke Rate:    How many strokes per minute

Power Ten:      Ten hard strokes used to pass another crew


Erg Scores

A couple of notes about erg scores:

1) Ergs don’t float: Last week, for fun we put the top 8 ergs scores in a boat and went out on the water. That boat was not the fastest boat. It wasn’t even the second fastest boat. This is often true, especially in an athletes novice year. Individual technique, along with boat feel, boat chemistry etc all contribute to going fast.

2) Ergs do matter: This sounds contradictory to #1… but without strength you can’t move a boat. So ergs do matter.

3) Weight adjusted erg scores: You might have noticed a column for weight adjusted erg scores. In rowing you have to move both the boat, and your own body weight. So weight efficiency can play a role. However, because the boat is rigged to give the oar a fulcrum, rowing is a leverage sport, and often times greater weight can help an athlete leverage more power on the oar. So weight adjusted scores don’t float either. WE NEVER RECOMMEND LOSING WEIGHT JUST TO IMPROVE A WEIGHT ADJUSTED ERG SCORE. High school girls have enough pressure to lose weight, and losing weight will not necessarily improve rowing ability. We always emphasize fitness, and healthy eating and are available to discuss individual nutritional or weight related questions with each athlete.

So how to we rank people and make boats? Ergs are about 1/3 of the process. Technique and boat combinations are the other 2/3s.


Helpful Rowing Sites:

Official site for the USA National and Junior National Rowing Teams –

Nationwide Race Schedules and Results – and

HereNow racing schedules and live results

Rowing Related – Racing Training things rowing with an excellent glossary of rowing terms This is THE place to find the information on the upcoming races

www.oarspotter.comTo learn which boats are from which schools and/or clubs

www.concept2.comHas training videos showing “erging” info