Canoeing and Rowing

Indoor canoeing and rowing will make their debut at this year's School Games. Canoeing races will take place on specialist machines with each competitor racing in a heat and a final. Rowing races will take place on rowing machines with both singles and team events taking place.


Canoeing is a generic word used in Britain to describe all the different ways you can enjoy the sport - the most common of which are canoeing and kayaking. In the former, you are using a single blade paddle. 

When you get more advanced, many forms of canoeing will require you to be positioned on your knees, but to begin with most people will be seated in a traditional type of boat called an open canoe; in the latter, you use a double bladed paddle and will be in a seated position with your legs in front of you. 

Canoes and kayaks vary greatly in design, shape and size dependant on the type of canoeing, the type of water and the size of craft suitable for you.

It became an Olympic sport in 1936. Team GB have won 17 medals to date, including four apiece in Rio in 2016 and four years earlier in London. Liam Heath took three medals, one of each colour, across the last two Olympic Games - winning bronze in the K-2 200m in London, silver in the same event in Rio, and a gold in the K-1 200m during the same event.


Rowing on the water takes many forms. You can row on rivers, lakes or out at sea with seats that move (sliding) or seats that don’t (fixed seat). 

There are two main forms of rowing, one where the rower rows with two oars, known as sculling. The other is where the rower rows with one oar known as sweep rowing, in which pairs of rowers have one handle each. The pinnacle event for on water rowing are the Olympic and Paralympic Games where rowers race over 2,000m.

Indoor rowing has been growing in popularity with an estimated 1.3 million people in the UK regularly using indoor rowing machines. Globally, indoor rowing is part of the Invictus Games as well as the sport having its own World and European Championships. 

Domestically, each home nation runs their own national championships with British Rowing hosting the British Rowing Indoor Championships attracting over 2,100 competitors in 2017.

Canoeing and Rowing at the 2018 School Games

The Canoeing events will be based on an indoor format. The equipment used will be a Kayakpro Compact ergometer. To ensure that the racing is as fair as possible each competitor will be weighed, discreetly, prior to their 200m race which will be inputted into the race software and used to calibrate the ergometer.

There are two main rowing competitions at the School Games, 'Individual' and 'Team'. In the individual races, rowers will take part in a seeding time trial where they will be placed in an appropriate final. Each year group races over a timed period. The rower who rows the furthest distance on an indoor rowing machine wins. Year 9 race over 4 minutes, Year 10 over 5 minutes and Year 11 over 6 minutes. Rowers in the individual races need to focus on controlling their power over the full course of the race.

In the Team Relay teams of four (two boys, and two girls) race over a distance of 2,000m. Each team member races 500m and the winners are the team to finish first. These races are fast and frenetic with each rower racing a short distance before quickly changing over with a teammate.

Selection policy

Download the selection policy for Canoeing

Download the selection policy for Rowing

What's on?

Thursday 30 August

No events

Friday 31 August

Saturday 1 September

Sunday 2 September

No events


Friday 31 August 2018

Martin Hall Theatre
09:00 Year 9 Warm Up
09:00 Year 10 Education
10:00 Year 11 Education
10:00 Year 9 Individual Heats
10:00 Year 10 Warm Up
11:00 Year 11 Warm Up
11:00 Year 9 Education
11:00 Year 10 Individual Heats
12:00 Year 11 Individual Heats
14:00 Year 9 Warm Up
14:00 Year 10 Education
15:00 Year 11 Education
15:00 Year 9 Individual Heats
15:00 Year 10 Warm Up
16:00 Year 11 Warm Up
16:00 Year 9 Education
16:00 Year 10 Individual Heats
17:00 Year 11 Individual Heats
17:00 Year 9/10/11 Individual Medal Ceremony

Saturday 1 September 2018

Martin Hall Theatre
09:00 Year 9 Warm Up
09:00 Year 11 Cross Sport
09:30 Year 10 Warm Up
10:00 Year 9 Team Relay
10:30 Year 11 Warm Up
10:40 Year 10 Team Relay
10:40 Year 9 Cross Sport
11:20 Year 11 Team Relay
11:40 Year 10 Cross Sport
12:30 Year 9/10/11 Team Relay Medal Ceremony
13:00 Year 9/10/11 Mixed Sport Event

Did you know?

  • The first circumnavigation by kayak of the UK mainland and Ireland was completed in 1986 and took 155 days. From anywhere in GB you are never more than 72 miles from the sea.
  • The fastest speed officially recorded at a sprint regatta is 17.46mph – that’s hot!
  • The 125 mile Devizes to Westminster Race is the longest non-stop canoe marathon in the world.
  • Great Britain holds the World Record for the longest ever Canoe Polo match with the most number of players.
  • The first canoe club in the Great Britain was established in London in 1866 – called “The Canoe Club” it also boasted Prince Albert as Commodore.
  • Great Britain holds the canoeing world altitude record of 17,500 feet - set on the Dudh Kosi River of Mount Everest.
  • The indoor rowing stroke uses 85% of your muscles and is a full body exercise. There are two main phases to the rowing stroke: The “Drive” where you’re pushing with your legs – legs, body, arms and the “Recovery” – arms, body, legs, where you move back to the start.
  • Rowing made its Olympic debut at the 1900 Summer Games. It was scheduled to appear four years earlier, in the first Games, but was cancelled due to poor weather conditions. However, it has appeared at every summer event since the turn of the century.
  • GB rower Moe Sbihi holds the British indoor rowing record for 2,000m having achieved 5:41.8 at the British Rowing Indoor Championships in 2015.
  • In the history of the Olympic Games, the GB Rowing Team has won a total of 68 medals (31 Gold, 24 Silver, and 13 Bronze).