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British Rowing competition review proposals

It’s a big challenge to a national federation to revise the structure and organisation of competition and progression … read more

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It’s a big challenge to a national federation to revise the structure and organisation of competition and progression that allows for fair racing through

Women's Novice 8 Women’s Novice 8 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

different skill levels.

The UK has been reviewing and consulting members and has come up with proposals

  • Simplified categories – novices who’ve never won a race versus novice beginners in their first 2 years of the sport.  Seems sensible when you realise over half the people with racing licenses have NEVER won a race.
  • A ranking index – so many other sports run ‘ladders’ or ranks for individual athletes.  At the top of the club system it’s hard to find people living nearby to race and so this will enable you to take into account your personal success during one season.

As they say on their news article
The proposed structure will take time to develop therefore transitional arrangements have been considered to enable the new system to be introduced over a period of time.


At this stage we are seeking approval to develop the proposed structure so there will remain additional scope for further discussion and refinement. 

It is our intention to have the full and further detailed proposals for presentation and approval at the British Rowing Council meeting in September.

Your views are important – if you haven’t seen the full proposals yet, please ask yourRegional Chairman or your club officers for a copy and attend your Regional meeting, where the proposals will be discussed in more detail.

C’mon you geeks – what data would you put into an algorithm?

About Rebecca Caroe
Rebecca is the host of RowingChat podcast and is a masters athlete and coach. Passionate about helping others enjoy the sport as much as she does. View all posts from Rebecca Caroe

3 thoughts on “British Rowing competition review proposals

  1. Rankings do sound fun but surely they’d apply to an individual which leaves the same problem of how to then assess the ability of crew boats.. Ranking would potentially solve the issue of a “Dorney” high achiever but never wins being compared to a rower who has won umpteen provincial regattas in straight finals. And please could we have separate rankings for sweep, crew sculling and single sculling.


    It’s designed for one on one competition, but you could handle multiple opponents in a race as multiple one on one races.

    For crewed boats you create the current ranking by adding the individual members ranking together (maybe divided by the number of rowers), and then adjust every crew member equally when you’ve got the result.

  3. In Zimbabwe we used a status point system with 8 points at each level. For every race you won, you gained a point – sculling and sweep were separate – but if you won a singles race, you gained 2 points.
    We used level A as the top, then graded down to D for Novice, but you could only be in novice for a year, then you automatically moved up to C, whether you’d won anything or not.
    A “B” crew could have a maximum of one “A” rower, but as many lower level rowers as you wanted. Also, men could row in women’s races but they had to row a level higher than their status, while women could row in men’s races, a level lower than their status. This worked well for a relatively small pool of rowers.

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