My perspective is that if you want to improve both your strength and your oarsmanship, learn to scull. Most good scullers can beat rowers in a sweep boat. Few sweepers can scull (and it shows).
You will learn better how what you do with your oar affects the set of the rest of the boat, and how to use muscles (like your glutes) to best effect to lever the boat past the blade in the water.
Even more, it will “set you apart” because few collegiate athletes can scull.
At the HOCR in 2014 they invited two crews to compete. One had 8 of the best sweep rowers in the world, the other, the 8 best scullers.
Guess who won by a boat length (3 seconds).
“Adding to the excitement of this year’s regatta was a race against two composite crews in the championship men’s eight. One was made up of some of the best scullers in the world (John Graves (USA), Mahe Drysdale (NZL), Ondrej Synek (CZE), Olaf Tufte (NOR), Martin and Valent Sinkovic (CRO), Roel Braas (NED) and Julien Bahain (CAN) ) and the other made up of some of the best sweep rowers (Josh Dunkley-Smith (AUS), Olivier Siegelaar (NED), Hamish Bond (NZL), Henrik Rummel (USA), Richard Schmidt (GER), Conlin McCabe (CAN), Francesco Fossi (ITA) and Jacob Barsoe (DEN).*
*The scullers proved to be the better boat, beating the sweep boat by three seconds. “*
50 years of the Head of the Charles