> Serious fun for French university rowing
by university rowers from other countries.
This year 11 countries will be competing as well
as 17 French universities. About 500 rowers
compete over a weekend of racing with 1000m
on Saturday and 500m on Sunday.
two weeks after the International Regatta. For
international crews, the regatta is an opportunity
to test themselves under competitive conditions.
There are five other university regattas spread
throughout the season.
university programmes have rowing as a course
that counts toward their university degree. The
course goes for six to 12 weeks and shows the
students the basics of rowing. Girard describes
it as similar to a learn-to-row class.
“There’s a big party on Saturday evening so then
only 500m of rowing on Sunday,” laughs Girard.
“It’s both a fun and a serious regatta. Some of the
athletes do prepare for a long time.” The 500m
racing takes place right in the city and it is a new
concept this year designed to attract spectators.
The high point for a French university rower is
to get the opportunity to row at the European
Championships for Universities. This regatta is
held in very high esteem. “People are proud if they
get good results there,” says Girard who sees the
European Championships as being one level down
from athletes that compete at a FISA regatta.
A programme called ‘Study & Row’ is an initiative
available through French universities. This gives
student rowers a chance to study for a year in
another country and at the same time continue
The regatta gives the French university
competitors a chance to test their boat speed
before participating in the French Championships
in University Rowing which usually occurs
French university rowing attracts mainly first-
time rowers who train perhaps two to three
times per week during the university year. Some
Although sport and education remain separate
in French universities, there are still plenty of
opportunities to be a student that rows.
2010 International Nantes