Rowing into the History Books

Rowing has been part of history for thousands of years, primarily as a form of transport and more recently as a competitive sport. Rowing began its rise to popularity in the UK in the early 1800’s, with arguably the most famous boat race in the world between Oxford and Cambridge University first contested in 1829 and annually since 1856.

Rowing has been a part of the modern Olympics since 1896, firstly for male athletes and since the 1970’s for both men and women. The standard distance for an Olympic race is 2000m, and most state, national and international regattas are raced over this distance. Other racing formats include longer time trial races, often on rivers over a range of distances, most commonly between 4 and 12km.
Crews” compete in a range of boat classes and configurations ranging from single sculls, a single rower with to oars to coxed VIII’s with a coxswain steering and eight rowers with a single oar each. Common boat classes include those listed below.


Boat Number of rowers Oar configuration
Sweep – 1 oar/rower
Scull – 2 oars/rower
Single scull 1 Scull Adjustment with oars by the rower
Double scull 2 Scull Rudder operated by rower
Pair 2 Sweep Rudder operated by rower
Quadruple scull coxless 4 Scull Rudder operated by rower
Quadruple scull 4 + coxswain Scull Rudder operated by coxswain
Four (IV) coxless 4 + coxswain Sweep Rudder operated by rower
Eight (VIII) 8 + Coxswain Sweep Rudder operated by coxswain
Traditionally boats, (called shells) and oars were made from wood, but in recent decades composite carbon fibre boats and oars have become standard.

Rowers have some of the highest power outputs of athletes in any sport with the standard 2000m Olympic distance requiring a significant endurance output, as well as the high intensity of a sprint event, given most crews complete the distance in between 5 minutes 30 seconds and 8 minutes.

Rowing at Guildford Grammar School

Rowing has a long and proud history as one of the first sports introduced at Guildford Grammar School in the late 1800’s. The PSA summer season includes a number of lead-up regattas and then the Head of the River event in early autumn.
Initially in fours (IV’s) and now in eights (VIII’s) The First Crews from all PSA schools compete for the Head of the River title and the Challenge Cup. The School has won the Head of the River (Challenge Cup) eight times since it was introduced in 1902. The first winning Guildford Grammar School crew won the prestigious cup in 1905 and the most recent victory was in 2017.
In 2018 the School is developing a winter program to cater for our female students, who will compete during Terms 2 and 3 culminating in the All Schools Head of the River and the State Championships in Term 3. With the inception of this program, Guildford Grammar School will become the only Western Australian school to run a year-round rowing program.

The School currently has a number of former and current students in state and national teams, including Chelsea Wulff (11He) and Flynn Daffen (12Wb) who were recently selected into the state Pathway VIII’s. The superb on-site facilities, highly qualified coaches and exceptional equipment place the School at the forefront of this sport in Western Australia.

Join us for the Head of the River Regatta on Saturday 17 March at Champion Lakes (Lake Rd, Champion Lakes).  The race can be viewed live online at

Find out more about sport at Guildford Grammar School by downloading our Prospectus at

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15 Mar 2018 - 12:23 AM
GGS Admin
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