History Of Rowing

Rowing dates back to ancient Egypt when pharaohs used to race other noble Egyptians on boats. Aside from this, rowing was mostly used for transportation and trade. Read more to learn about the history of rowing and key facts you should know.

Rowing History Key Facts and Timeline

Rowing officially became a sport in England when the first and oldest rowing competition was held in 1715. The race is called the Doggett’s Coat and Badge, and it still continues to this day. The Harvard and Cambridge race of 1829 is also one of the first races to occur, and it is credited with sparking the popularity of the sport.

The sport eventually made its way to America, and the first intercollegiate competition was held against Harvard and Yale in 1852. The competition continues to this day. Harvard leads the rivalry with a record of 95 wins and 57 losses.

In 1895, the International Rowing Association was formed and they began to organize, direct, and promote the sport of rowing. 

The sport also grew in popularity when it was introduced to the 1900 Olympics in Paris. It was originally supposed to be introduced in 1896, but was cancelled because of poor weather conditions.

  • During rowing, athletes row their boats backwards along a 2000 meter course.
  • They can either be competing in scullings or sweeps
  • The coxswain, a person who steers the boat, is only used in eights competitions
  • The coxswain also gives his or her crew directions to where to steer, and this position dates back to ancient Egyptian times
  • In certain crew events, athletes must qualify for their weight class
  • The founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin, was a rower
  • Rowing was the first collegiate sport contest in the United States
  • Women made their rowing Olympic debut in 1976 in Montreal
  • Rowing has turned into a sport that is popular all around the world