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Frequently Asked Questions

Male rower with Sarasota Scullers hat, sunglasses, and a smile carrying oars.

Interested in rowing? New to the sport? You've come to the right place.

At Scullers, we welcome everyone to try our favorite sport and learn with the best. We develop great people and great rowers. We aim to create a life-long sport for each of our athletes. For people new to the sport, rowing can be confusing, and we are here to help.



Here’s the basics of of rowing de-mystified:

1) There are two styles of rowing.

These are called “sweep” and “sculling.” Sweep boats have rowers using one oar controlled by both hands. In sculling boats, rowers control two oars, one in each hand. No particular style is better than the other, although rowers tend to have a favorite.

Despite or name as Sarasota Scullers, we teach, coach, and race both sweep and scull rowing.

2) Boats come in many sizes and sit different numbers.

One common question we get is, “How many people are in a boat?” That depends on the boat.  At Scullers, we row singles, doubles, pairs, fours, quads and eights, which covers all typical US-based rowing.  Our pairs, fours and eights are sweep boats, while the remainder are sculling boats.

3) The seats move.

People are often surprised to learn rowing is not about big arms. Rowing is about legs, core, and incredible fitness overall. The seats roll on wheels, guided by tracks.

4) The boats are long–but skinny!

An 8+ is typically between 55-60 feet in length and 20-22 inches wide and weighs about 215 lbs. A single is typically 27′ long weighing in at 35 lbs.

5) There are two rowing “seasons.”

In rowing, there are two types of races. Head and Sprint races.

Head races occur during the fall. They are usually around 5000 meters, depending on the course. Each boat starts a safe distance behind the boat ahead and races down a course. Think cross country racing, but without the mass start.

Sprint Season is in the spring and continues into the summer. These races are ones you see on the Olympics. They are on a straight, buoyed course with several lanes. The competing boats will begin at the same time and race each other side-by-side to the finish. These races range from 1000-2000m. The typical length for Juniors is 1500m and moving to 2000m for championships in the early summer.

6) You don’t need experience to row.

Very few rowers are experienced when they come to Sarasota Scullers. Most who join for the first time are new to the sport! Come learn to get fast with our incredible coaches.

8) Are there height requirements?

No. Rowing is a sport of leverage, but each person, regardless of height is a valuable part of the team. We will do our best to match people by skill and height to ensure the most successful rowing for each participant.

Though not required, we do recommend that our middle school rowers coming to the sport be 5′ or taller as it will be easier for them to control the oar properly and to assist with carrying equipment. We also need coxswains! Typically, a coxswain is shorter in stature- they are our “Motivational Navigators” and command their crew through practices and races. We teach everything a coxswain needs to know.

Tow female rowers hugging and smiling in boat yard.