Join‎ > ‎All About Rowing‎ > ‎

Race Watching

·        The crew that's making it look easy is most likely the one doing the best job. While you're watching, look for – continuous, fluid motion of the rowers. The rowing motion shouldn't have a discernible end or beginning.

·        Synchronization. Rowers strive for perfect synchronization in the boat.

·        Clean catches of the oarblade. If you see a lot of splash, the oarblades aren't entering the water correctly. The catch should happen at the end of the recovery, when the hands are as far ahead of the rower as possible. Rowers who uncoil before they drop the oarblades are sacrificing speed and not getting a complete drive.

·        Even oarblade feathering. When the blades are brought out of the water, they should all move horizontally close to the water and at the same height. It's not easy, especially if the water is rough.

·        The most consistent speed. Shells don't move like a car – they're slowest at the catch, quickest at the release. The good crews time the catch at just the right moment to maintain the speed of the shell.

·        Rowing looks graceful, elegant and sometimes effortless when it's done well. Don't be fooled. Rowers haven't been called the world's most physically-fit athletes for nothing. A 2,000-meter rowing race demands virtually everything a human being can physically bring to an athletic competition – aerobic ability, technical talent, exceptional mental discipline, ability to utilize oxygen efficiently and in huge amounts, balance, pain tolerance, and the ability to continue to work when the body is demanding that you stop.

More Race-Watching Tips

·        Race times can vary considerably depending upon the course and weather conditions. Tailwinds will improve times, while headwinds and crosswinds will hamper them.

·        If a crew "catches a crab," it means the oarblade has entered the water at an angle instead of perpendicularly. The oarblade gets caught under the surface and will slow or even stop a shell.

·        A "Power 10" is a call by the coxswain for 10 of the crew's best, most powerful strokes. Good coxswains read the course to know how many strokes remain for their crew to count down to the finish.

·        Crews are identified by their oarblade design. 

VASRA (Virginia Scholastic Rowing Association) 


The Virginia Scholastic Rowing Association (VASRA) provides the venues, organization, resources, and oversight for scholastic competitive rowing regattas on the Occoquan Reservoir, Sandy Run Regional Park, VA,  on the Potomac River at Alexandria, VA, and in cooperation with the Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Rowing Association ("WMIRA"), on the Potomac River in Georgetown, DC and on the Anacostia River in Washington, DC.


VASRA is an association of Boosters from 39 High Schools and is organized for the express purpose of fostering interscholastic rowing competition between the high school rowing teams in Virginia. The each booster organization actively supports a public or private high school rowing team. The Association provides an organized means of member communication and coordination for the purpose of staging regular season and championship regattas. The Association meets regularly and representatives from each member booster organization have an opportunity to discuss and arrange schedules, divide assignment of responsibility for equipment and personnel, share information of local and regional interest, and promulgate information provided by US Rowing, the national governing body for rowing in the United States.



Member Crews