Rowers need stamina and speed during winter season

October 06 2012

As Olympic fever fades ever so slightly, and the nights draw in, rowers across the country begin to prepare for the winter racing season, reports Avon County Rowing Club.

Rowers need stamina and speed during winter season

As Olympic fever fades ever so slightly, and the nights draw in, rowers across the country begin to prepare for the winter racing season, reports Avon County Rowing Club.

In the spring and summer, club rowers compete in sprint races, ranging in length from 500m-1,000m.  The exact distances are determined, in many cases, by the stretch of river on which they are held. 

The sprints are run with two boats starting together and racing side by side down the river.  The winner of each heat progresses to race other heat winners, until an overall winner is determined.  These are short, sharp races where high speed and technical competence must be maintained for a relatively short period of time.  The crew with the fastest, most powerful start has a definite advantage, and crews practice racing starts endlessly as the season approaches. 

Once the flurry of the regatta season ends in August, rowers switch gears and begin to train for the winter head race season.  Head races are essentially time trials, run over longer distances, which vary from 2,000m to 3,500m.  Boats are sent across the start line at roughly 15-second intervals, with everyone racing down the river in sequence. 

Stamina and  good rowing rhythm are the keys to head race success. Overtaking is common, and coxes/steerers must know the overtaking rules that apply on the day. Factor in a few bridges, nesting swans,  and pleasure craft on the water for good measure and you’ll understand why head races can be every bit as entertaining to watch as sprint races! 

The next head race being held at Avon County Rowing Club in Saltford is Monkton Bluefriars Head of the River Race, on Saturday, October 13.   There will be lots of action on the water; and the Avon County Café will be offering its usual excellent selection of soups, hot drinks and cakes.  Everyone more than welcome.