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Sweep Rowing vs. Sculling: What’s the difference?

In the sport of rowing, also called crew, rowers sit with their backs facing the direction that the boat is moving. The boats are also called shells. The two main types of rowing are sweep rowing and sculling.


In sweep rowing, the rower handles one oar with both hands. At ARC, sweep rowing typically involves rowing with a team of eight or four rowers. A coxswain (pronounced cox-in), who sits at the rear of the boat facing forward, directs the crew and steers the boat.


In sculling, the rower uses two oars, one in each hand. The oars are smaller than those used for sweep rowing. At ARC, scullers may row in singles, doubles (2 rowers) or quads (4 rowers). These boats do not have coxswains, rather the rower in the bow (front) of the shell directs the rowers and steers the boat.


Check out our Learn to Row and Learn to Scull clinics for beginning rowers. Find out about the current schedules and how to register.


All programs take place at the Annapolis Rowing Club @ Gingerville Yachting Center.  Parking is available on-site. Arrive via Sunset Drive, turn right and park up on top of the hill near the Boathouse. Please drive carefully through the lot and keep an eye out for people carrying equipment.


Sweep Rowing



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