The World Rowing Championship will take place from September 24 – October 1 in Sarasota, FL. For those of you not familiar with the grueling sport of rowing and what the World Rowing Championship entails, we decided to break it down for you.

Rowing 101

Imagine playing two full basketball games back-to-back. This is equivalent to what it feels to row a 2,000 meter race, approximately 1.25 miles – and rowers do it in six minutes. Rowing is a demanding sport both physically and mentally, and was one of the original games in the Olympics. It takes your entire body to move a boat gracefully and quickly through the water, and it doesn’t just take a tremendous about of needed to correctly maneuver a 12-foot oar through the water while moving in sync with the other athletes in the your boat.

What are the different events?

There are many different types of races held at regattas, along with different weight classes. There are two kinds of rowing: sweeping and sculling. Sweep rowing is when each athlete has one oar, and competitions can be done in pairs, fours or eights. Sculling is when each athlete has two oars, and competitions can be done in singles, doubles and quads. In addition, pairs, fours, quads and doubles can be rowed with or without a coxswain, the team mate responsible for steering the boat and acting as an in-boat coach. There are also two weight classes for both men and women, lightweight and heavy weight.

For the World Rowing Championship, there will be 16 men’s event and 13 women’s events, including lightweight, heavy weight and mixed races. The races will be 2,000 meters, and there are different rounds of heats, reps, quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.

Who competes in the World Rowing Championship?

The World Rowing Championship is perhaps one of the most important rowing competitions. 900 athletes from 69 nations will be competing this year for the World Champion title. After the 2016 Olympics, some high-profile athletes have retired and opened the door for some up-and-comers in this year’s championship. There have also been some top athletes switching events, such as the gold-medal winning brothers Martin and Valent Sinkovic from Croatia, who won the doubles sculls and this year will be racing in a pair.

World Rowing Championship 2017 Predictions

There are a number of top athletes and countries that all eyes will be on during certain events this year. For the Women’s 8+, the United States has been undefeated and breaking records since 2006 in both the World Championship and the Olympics. This year, New Zealand, Great Britain and Romania will be fighting hard to end that winning streak. Romania has won gold twice this season at the European Rowing Champions and at the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, so the Women’s 8+ may show us some tight races this year. For the men’s pair, past champions from New Zealand Hamish Bond and Eric Murray have retired and left way for some new champions, like the previously mention Sinkovic brothers and also competitors from Great Britain and Italy.

The women’s pair will also make an interesting race, with New Zealand pair Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler. They won two World Rowing Cups and were successful at this year’s Henley Royal Regatta, along with setting a new World Best Time of 6:49.08. While they are definitely the team to beat, Danish pair Hedvig Rasmussen and Christina Johansen and United States’ Megan Kalmoe and Tracy Eisser will be the main fighting competition for New Zealand.

Overall, each event will have some top athletes, both returning and new. The World Rowing Championship 2017 will definitely be something you want to tune into this weekend.

(Image courtesy of Ainunau via Flickr.)