STAGING Return to competition - British Rowing

Return to competition

For the first time since the autumn of 2020, we expect to see some rowing competitions return this week – here’s our quick guide to some of your frequently asked questions


With the first competitions of the year scheduled to take place later this week, here is a  run down of some of the key questions you might have as you get back to the start line.

Will it be competition as normal?

We’re confident it’s possible to run competitions under the current Government guidance and we are aiming to keep as much of the experience as normal as possible. We are still in a pandemic though and it’s important that all competitors, volunteers and anyone else involved in the competition follow the rules from the UK Government, guidance from British Rowing and instructions from competition organisers. There will be a number of measures that differ from normal arrangements put in place by competition organisers. These may vary as the season progresses and so please ensure you check the competition’s website for instructions before attending the competition.


As we return to competition, competition organisers have flexibility (within the existing rules) to adapt their competition format to suit their circumstances. This means you may find different ways used to divide entries into events such as SAS Ranking Points Index, time-trials or simple divisions such as 1st year students or beginners.

Why is this competition restricting entry based on certain criteria?

It is important that we are all as flexible as possible as we try to get competitions back up and running. In many cases, limiting the total number of competitors or the geographic location of entries may assist competition organisers in remaining within the current guidance and Government restrictions. Please bear with competition organisers (remember they are nearly all volunteers) as they do their best to make something happen for at least some rowers. As we progress through the steps of the Government’s COVID-19 response, restrictions such as this will become less necessary and we aim to give all rowers as much choice as possible.

What will happen with the SAS Ranking Points Index?

The last year has been completely unprecedented and so, inevitably, some people’s relative racing ability may have changed during this time. This means initially some people’s Ranking Points will not reflect their current ability, however, your points will have automatically reduced during this period and, as set out above, competitions have flexibility to divide up entries in different ways. SAS Ranking Points will be awarded at all competitions so, as we progress through the season, this will naturally rebalance your points to the correct level.

The competition calendar feels like it’s changing regularly, how can I keep on top of this?

We are doing everything we can to be flexible and make as many rowing competitions as possible available to all rowers this year. This has meant there are more changes than usual for the calendar. As a trial for this year, we’ve changed the format of our website competition calendar to make it easier for you to keep tabs on what’s coming up. As part of the trial, we are also publishing some information provisionally, e.g. proposed date changes before they are confirmed.

How confident can I be making an entry?

We are confident, based on the current outlook, that it is possible to run competitions in line with current Government guidance. Inevitably there may be reasons that certain competitions will have to be cancelled or postponed, potentially at short notice. To help give clubs and rowers confidence and to provide transparency, we have encouraged competitions to publish a clear refund policy. Please bear in mind that competitions may incur some costs even in the case of a cancellation, especially if this happens at short notice.