This is because rowing is an outdoor sport conducted on different bodies of water each year and under different weather conditions at each event. Wind and water movements mean that the times taken for each race will often depend on these factors. It would be therefore inconsistent to recognise a "world record” if conditions have been especially favourable for one event when compared with another.

However, FISA wants to recognise best performances, and therefore maintains a record of"World Best Times" which are the best time ever recorded in each event with no regard to the wind and water conditions. Only times recorded under controlled technical conditions* at a FISA event (World Rowing Cup, World Rowing Championships,) are eligible to be recognised as a World Best Time.

(An exception to recognition by FISA of a World Best Time is if the race is held on a course where the whole body of water (such as a river) has a measurable flow in the direction of the finish.)

Olympic and Paralympic Best Times are also recognised and separately recorded.

*World Best Time records are maintained by the World Rowing’s official timing provider.
Swiss Timing is the current official timing provider and maintains all records. World Best Times are recorded for the following categories: elite, para-rowing, under-23 and junior. In order to ensure the accuracy of records, WorldBest Times are only considered at events that were serviced by World Rowing’s official timing provider."