The sport of rowing consists of two rowing styles: sweeping and sculling. Different boat classes are manned by anywhere from two to eight rowers. All rowing races -- except masters division and adaptive races -- use one standard distance, as determined by FISA, the Federation Internationale des Societes d'Aviron, or International Rowing Federation in English. Rowing events at the Olympic Games are the same distance as FISA events.
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The standard rowing race distance, as determined by FISA, is 2,000 meters, or approximately 2,187 yards. This distance applies to every major rowing event in the world, including the World Rowing Championships, Rowing World Cup, Olympic Summer Games, relevant qualifications, regional races, continental championships and international regattas. Masters rowing division races, for rowers older than age 27, are 1,000 meters for men, women and mixed crews.
Regatta races are typically conducted in eight straight lanes that are 13.5 meters wide. There is enough space before the starting line and after the finish line of a race for an eight-person sweep boat, the longest rowing boat class.
Olympic rowing events for men include coxless pairs, double sculls, eight with coxswain, four with coxswain, lightweight coxless four, lightweight double sculls, quadruple sculls without coxswain and single sculls. Women's Olympic rowing events include double sculls, eight with coxswain, lightweight double sculls, pairs without coxswain, quadruple sculls without coxswain and single sculls.
Paralympic Rowing & Special Races
Paralympic, or adaptive rowing, features four boat classes that can include mixed-gender boats. Rowers with a disability must meet adaptive rowing classification regulations to be eligible to participate in these events. All four boat class races are 1,000 meters long. Some rowing races that do not use the standard length include dash or sprint rowing races and marathon or ultra-marathon races. A dash race can be as short as 500 meters long, while an ultra-marathon can be as long as 160 km.