The Perfect Eight
Rowing is a sport where no individuals are crowned the MVP. Each of the seats is as important as all the others, and it takes a perfectly synchronized crew to achieve "swing" on the water, the elusive perfect harmony of strokes. There are no time-outs, no substitutions, and the men and women who compete are among the most physically fit athletes in the world.
On-the-water coach who steers the boat, navigates the course, and executes strategy.
- Seated in the stern of the shell facing the stroke.
- Usually the lightest member of the team, and has a minimum weight to meet. If not, crew is required to bring sandbags or to carry other deadweight to meet the boat weight requirements.
- Uses an amplifier system that has a built in stroke rate meter and timer. Before 1978, coxswains used a megaphone that they wore strapped to their head to keep their hands free.
8 - Stroke, part of stern pair
Sets the stroke rate (the number of strokes taken per minute) and maintains it.
- Must be one of the most physically fit in the boat and must also have the best rowing technique.
- Provides feedback on the feel of the boat to the coxswain so they can make calls.
7 - Buffer, part of stern pair
Acts as the buffer between the stroke and the engine room and "passes" the timing of the stroke back to the rest of the boat.
- Must perfectly mimic the movement of the stroke oar.
- Like the stroke, they must also be in top physical condition and possess excellent technique.
6, 5, 4, 3 - Engine Room
Responsible for producing power.
- Sometimes called the middle four.
- The engine room is the widest and heaviest part of the boat.
- They are in the sturdiest part of the shell so small movements do not impact the overall balance and performance of the boat.
- These rowers must be consistent in producing power for the boat.
2 & 1 - Bow Pair
Roger Morris (Bow Seat)
Stabilizes the boat.
- The bow pair must be able to perfectly mirror movements of the stern pair.
- Besides the cox, usually where your lightest rowers sit.
- Must be adaptable and quick in their movements.
- The bowman finishes the race first and must have the second smoothest stroke in the boat.