Regattas are one- or two-day racing meets with a large number of teams competing in a wide array of events. The USC Rowing Association has one or more tents set up to serve as a meeting area and a food service area. The team owns several large tents, tables, grills, and other equipment. In between races, the team relaxes in the tents, takes in nourishment, and tries to conserve energy for up-coming races.
- Fall races are typically Head Races, where boats race individually in a time trial format to or from the “head” of the river.
- Winter races are Erg Races, where rowers race using indoor rowing machines.
- Most Spring races are Sprint Races, courses that have space for six or seven boats to race at once. Events with more than six registered boats have qualifying pre-races or heats. The top two or three boats in a heat advance to semi-finals or finals for that particular event.
Head Races (Fall Season)
These races are timed trial/processional races that take place from September through October. Boats begin with a rolling start at intervals of 10-20 seconds and are timed over a set distance. Each boat is racing against the clock in an effort to get the fastest time in its category. Head courses vary in length from 3,500 to 6,000 meters (2 to 4 miles) and follow the curves and turns of the river on which they are held.
USC Rowing competes against 10-15 local crews as well as teams from Ohio, Virginia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, and even Canada.
Erg Races (Winter Season)
These races focus on the individual rower. Erg races are 2,000 meters long, which takes between six and ten minutes to complete. Each Erg, or Ergometer (rowing machine), has a digital monitor that calculates the user’s power, speed, etc., and it counts down the meters to the finish, and displays a final time.
USC Rowing participates in two indoor Erg competitions against several hundred high school rowers in different age, experience, and weight categories. Our team has always done well in these races with around 75% of the team achieving personal records and about 20% of the team earning medals.
Sprint Races (Spring Season)
These races run from late-March through the end of August; however, USC Rowing takes a summer break once school is finished. In a Sprint Race, three to eight boats line up side-by-side in lanes numbered 0-7. All the boats start at the same time from a stationary position and race down a straight course. The length of the course is 1,500 meters and boats finish in four to seven minutes. The number of boats entered in each category can be as few as three and as many as 48. Categories with more than 18 entries have heats and the top boats advance to semi-finals and then finals.
USC Rowing competes against other crews from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, West Virginia, and Canada.