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Competitive rowing equipment has evolved from wooden boats to incredibly light, synthetic racing shells. Classic oars also used to be made out of wood, but now they are typically made of light carbon fiber so as not to weigh down the crew during a race.

Rowers use an additional piece of equipment, the ergometer, or erg to train on land. This indoor rowing machine simulates rowing on the water. Coaches use "erg scores," how fast a rower can pull on the erg, as a tool to set race line-ups. An average 500-meter split is displayed on the screen of the erg in minutes, which shows how fast the rower could move a boat on the water 500 meters.

The design of rowing equipment relies on increasingly complicated and scientific data. For example, the designers at Concept2, who design the majority of the oars used by competitive crews around the world, take into consideration the load through different parts of the stroke as well as how sharply the oar grips the water when it enters. Racing shells are desined to set the rowers up to take the most powerful stroke every time they place their blades in the water.

Visit the Boats and Oars pages for more equipment information. Or continue to the Competition page to learn more racing.