the  team

Like all sports, crew has unique team members and a unique language to describe what is going on. Here’s a short guide:

8-person Sweep/Skull:
Stroke– the rower closest to the stern of the shell. Usually one of the top rowers, especially when it comes to technique, because the stroke sets the pace for all the other rowers to follow. In football terms the stroke is the quarterback of the rowers.

Seven – one seat behind the stroke.
Six – one seat behind seat seven.
Five – etc.
Four Three Two
Bow – the rower at the bow of the shell. Also acts as the eyes and ears for the coxswain regarding what’s ahead in the water.

Coxswain – an individual who commands the rowers, determining the proper stroke rates, speed and tactics when racing. The coxswain steers the shell and critiques individual rowers about their effort and technique. The coxswain is supposed to be a coach on the water, organizing and motivating the team. Usually small and lightweight individuals.

4-person Sweep/Skull: (with or without a coxswain) Stroke, three, two, bow