paralympics
Para Rowing

Rowers prepare to race in the AS Mixed Double Sculls Heat 2 during the London 2012 Paralympic Games. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

What's it all about?

You’re in a really small boat, but you’re only rowing backwards and you’re putting your whole body into the movement — and we mean every single muscle! That’s para rowing and it could be the perfect sport for you!

How it's played

Things to watch for

The German team, along with their coxswain, compete in the Mixed Coxed Four rowing event during the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. (Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Coxswain
  • It can be really hard to keep everyone working together and keep the boat moving just right when there are four rowers competing. 
  • That's where the coxswain (say "cox-n") comes in. They help steer the boat and motivate the team to push on to the finish line.
Volunteers hold the sculls in place during the AS Women Single Sculls at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Line 'em up
  • At the beginning of every race, you'll see boat holders hanging on to the bow (front) of the boat. 
  • An aligner tells them whether they need to move the boat forward or backward to make sure everyone is in line before the race starts.
Great Britain's Tom Aggar celebrates after taking first place in AS Men's Single Sculls during the London 2012 Paralympic Games. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Oh buoy!
  • Have a look at the single scull boats. They're slightly different than in Olympic Games rowing. 
  • The athlete is strapped into a back support so they only use upper body movement. 
  • The boat also has flotation buoys or pontoons on either side to help with balance.