In the News...Row, Row, Row Your Boat...

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In the News...Row, Row, Row Your Boat...

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Do you know what the first American collegiate sport was? Thinking football? Nope, it was rowing.

The number of people in America today that regularly compete in racing shells (long narrow boats with oars) down rivers and across lakes is 85,000, which is up from 32,000 in 1986. Another 65,000 people row just for fun. Regattas (rowing matches) can draw large crowds. Over 300,000 attend the annual two-day event in Boston, Massachusetts.

Most rowers hit the water by 5:30 in the morning and train several hours a day. They typically don't peak in their abilities until their late 20s. However, lack of coverage by sports television stations has kept the sport from growing in the multibillion-dollar sports industry. Some suspect that rowing is considered too sedate, but community rowing associations hope to keep the sport on the map (Skip Rozin, "Forever Rowing Upstream," The Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2009).