KCS trains for numerous competitions throughout the year. Crews will be chosen at the coaches: discretion and can even be rotated on a weekly basis. This is according to various factors which can include some or all of the following; attendance, ergometer information, seat racing on the water, technical strengths and weaknesses, leadership or teamwork abilities and what would be in the interests of an individual or group of rowers. The races that we enter vary and depend on the suitability for crews and squads in their programme development. Please note that information on which crews/schools have qualified for entry is often only finalised by the race organisers a couple of days in advance. Please be advised to:

  • Check the competition website a few days before a race so you know exactly where you are going (transport may not always be available). Please note that crews will not be permitted to enter a race if a member of their team is late, so please do not let your team down.
  • Check the competition website again for any last minute news before leaving home as races have been cancelled at the last moment in the past.

There are two parts to the rowing year and two basic types of competition:
HEADS – run in winter from the end of September to the end of March. A head race or time trial is a timed processional race. Distances can be from 2.5km to 7km (the boat race course) but can also be longer. Each boat lines up one behind the other and races one at a time with short intervals between each other. When all the competitors have finished, the time for each to have completed the course is calculated. The fastest in each category is the winner. Some events are able to issue results in real time and others will release results 24 or even 48 hours after the race. The head season culminates in the Schools Head of the River Race (SHORR) which is rowed on the boat race course but in the opposite direction (from Chiswick to Putney).

REGATTAS – run in the summer from mid April to the end of August, involve side-by-side racing (up to 7 abreast at the larger events) and are usually more exciting to watch. They take place on both rivers and lakes. Course lengths usually vary between 500m and 2000m with Henley Royal Regatta being 2112m. Most river regatta courses only allow for 2 or 3 racing lanes and often have tides, bends and other obstacles that require staggered starts and/or finishes. Regattas involve heats, semi-finals and finals held over the course of a day. However, due to many new oversubscribed events, some regattas may use a time trial instead of a side by side heat to determine the semi finalists. Losing crews in the earlier rounds may get another chance to advance to the next round in an extra race known as a repechage.