ROWING 101

Rowing is a sport that consists of rowers propelling a boat forward by means of oars. It can be a team sport or an individual sport and uses the full body. Within rowing, there are some interesting sayings and phrases. Below are some of the most important terms associated with rowing and some interesting words, like coxswain, ergometer, rigger and starboard. 

Firstly, the directions on a boat: The front of the boat is called the bow and the rower sitting closest to the bow will cross the line first. The left side of the boat is called the port, the right side is called the starboard and the back of the boat is called the stern.  

To propel the boat forward, oars are dipped into the water and the water displaced drives the boat. The cadence of the boat for all to follow is set by the stroke, who is the rower located nearest to the stern. There is an “on-the-water” coach called the coxswain (or cox), who also steers.  

In rowing, there is a feeling (called swing) that is difficult to define, but one that rowers appreciate because the effect can result in improved speed and performance. Sometimes, when there is no swing, another method is needed to get ahead of the competition. One such technique that can be employed is called the Power 10, whereby the rowers pull ten of their best strokes in the hopes of a win.  

Nelson Mandela University has an active rowing team that, while competitive, also has social aspects. Rowing is a wonderful opportunity to get outdoors, get some exercise, develop skills and have a good time. 

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