Our rowers primarily race eights, or eight-person boats. These use the sweep style of rowing, where each rower uses one oar.
Rowers’ positions in the boat are based on their skills and abilities. Each position has certain responsibilities, such as helping to set the rhythm or balance of the boat.
The coxswain, seated in the stern, essentially serves as the captain of the boat. He or she steers the boat, gauges its rhythm, and gives directions to the rowers. They also take a coaching role on the team, leading drills and working to correct and improve the crew’s technique.
The stroke, seated in front of the coxswain, is essential for setting the rhythm of strokes per minute. This can be a challenging task, as they must determine a pace that they feel the crew can maintain over the course of the race. The seventh seat mirrors this role for the rowers on the other side of the boat.
The sixth, fifth, fourth, and third seats provide much of the power for the boat, and these rowers are also tasked with carrying the rhythm of the strokes down the line. Rowers closer to the bow can be less technically efficient, as an error is less likely to upset the rhythm or the boat’s direction.
The last two positions, the bow and the second seat, must work to adjust their stroke to keep the boat balanced and on track. This means that these rowers don’t need to have be as powerful as the others, but often need to have a greater degree of technical accuracy.