1. Home
  2. Rowing
  3. History Of Rowing

History Of Rowing

What is the history of Rowing? What are its origins? Where did Rowing come from? Who invented it? Here is the history of Rowing.

What are the basic rules of Rowing?

Rowing is a water sport where athletes use oars to steer a boat along a 2,000 meter course backwards. Yes, backwards. You do not see where you are going but do see where you have been. There are two different competitions in rowing: sculling and sweep.

In sculling events, there are two oars one for each arm of the rower. Sculling events can be divided up to single, double, or quadruple sculls. This means that you can be rowing with yourself, another partner, or a group of four.

In sweep events, there is one oar that the rower puts both of their hands on. Sweep events can be divided into pairs, fours, and eights. In the competition of eights, there is a coxswain, which is a person who steers the boat.

Another component of competitive rowing is weight classes. There is a lightweight category for men, which means that the average rower of the crew will weigh 70kg or lighter and cannot weigh more than 72.5kg. For females, crew members can weigh a maximum average of 57kg and no heavier than 59kg.

Rowing is an outdoor sport, which means weather and different water conditions are elements that can increase the difficulty of the competition. In the end, the objective is to get the fastest time possible.

Which Country Started Rowing?

Rowing was started in ancient Egypt. The ancient Egyptians used rowing as a way to travel and trade goods. They often did it for leisure and sometimes even for competition. The funeral carvings of Pharaoh Amenhotep II showed him competing against other noble Egyptians in rowing events.

In ancient Egypt, rowers would take directions from leaders who controlled the rudder, which is what steers the ship. This leader would also yell a high-pitched call so that the people on the boat can row in unity. In modern competitions, rowers in eights competitions also have a person called the coxswain who steers the boat. This ancient technique is still used to this day!

Who Invented Rowing?

The ancient Egyptians are credited with inventing rowing. The first evidence of this comes from 1430 BCE. A carving for the funeral of Pharaoh Amenhotep II showed him as a skillful rower.

There is also evidence of rowing in ancient Greece. Aeneas is a mythical hero of Greece. During his funeral, Virgil, a Greek storyteller, described rowing being one of the many funerary games.

Rowing was generally used for transport and leisure in ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece. It eventually grew large enough to where organized competitions were held.

When was Rowing Established?

Rowing officially became an established sport when a boat race was held in England between London Bridge and Chelsea Harbor in 1715. This is the world's first and oldest continuously held boat race. The race is four miles long and is a sculling contest, which means that rowers hold on to two oars.

The Oxford-Cambridge university boat race of 1829 is also credited with officially starting the sport. Oxford won that first race, and the two schools have been competing ever since. The sport then quickly spread to America.

In 1852, Yale challenged Harvard to a boat race, and it is the oldest intercollegiate athletic contest in the United States of America.

The popularity of the sport began to increase after the Oxford-Cambridge boating race of 1829. The burning rivalry between the two schools allowed the sport to reach a larger audience when it was introduced to the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris, France.

Although competitive rowing started in the United Kingdom, its popularity has spread all throughout the world. It is a sport that brings people together from all parts of the world to compete and see who is the best. Here are some popular countries that participate in rowing.

  • United States of America
  • Germany
  • Great Britain
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Italy
  • Canada
  • Netherlands
  • Switzerland
  • France
  • Denmark

Rowing History Key Facts and Timeline

Rowing dates back to ancient Egypt when pharaohs used to race other noble Egyptians on boats. Although there was evidence of this, rowing was mostly used for transportation and trade.

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 on 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