An analysis of the pacing strategy adopted by elite competitors in 2000 m rowing

S W Garland
British Journal of Sports Medicine 2005, 39 (1): 39-42

OBJECTIVES: To determine the pacing strategies adopted by elite rowers in championship 2000 m races.

METHODS: Split times were obtained for each boat in every heavyweight race of the Olympic Games in 2000 and World Championships in 2001 and 2002, and the top 170 competitors in the British Indoor Rowing Championships in 2001 and 2002. Data were only included in subsequent analysis if there was good evidence that the athlete or crew completed the race in the fastest possible time. The remaining data were grouped to determine if there were different strategies adopted for on-water versus ergometer trials, "winners" versus "losers", and men versus women.

RESULTS: Of the 1612 on-water race profiles considered, 948 fitted the inclusion criteria. There were no differences in pacing profile between winners and losers, and men and women, although on-water and ergometry trials showed a competitively meaningful significant difference over the first 500 m sector. The average profile showed that rowers performed the first 500 m of the race faster than subsequent sectors-that is, at a speed of 103.3% of the average speed for the whole race, with subsequent sectors rowed at 99.0%, 98.3%, and 99.7% of average speed for on-water rowing, and 101.5%, 99.8%, 99.0%, and 99.7% for ergometry.

CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that all athletes or crews adopted a similar fast start strategy regardless of finishing position or sex, although the exact pace profile was dependent on rowing mode. This strategy should be considered by participants in 2000 m rowing competitions.

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