1.         Defending champions

It is never an easy task to win the same event at back-to-back World Rowing Championships, but having a defending title holder in the race can make things difficult for would-be challengers. There are also races where the defending champions are not entered and the top of the podium is unguarded.

Twenty of this year’s 29 events in Plovdiv have entries from the 2017 champions’ nations while the remaining nine events – including the newest, para PR2 single sculling races for men and women – have no defending champions taking part.

Current World Best Times timeline © FISA


2.         World Best Times

While World Best Times can be set throughout the international racing season, the World Rowing Championships is a special event and second only to the Olympic Games as a showcase for the world’s most elite rowers at their absolute peak. Under the right circumstances - when the wind, weather and course conditions allow - history can be made against the clock.

Many World Best Times were set at the 2014 World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam (NED) where the conditions contributed to spectacular race times.

While the main goal for competitors is to be first across the finish line, Plovdiv’s famous tailwind and the relatively warm waters of the Maritza River may well be on the minds of crews and coaches hoping to rewrite the record books here. This may be apparent in para-rowing races where the recent change to 2000 metres along with the introduction of new boat classes virtually guarantees a period of rapid record-breaking. Link here

Current World Best Times timeline © FISA


3.         Gender equal competition

These world championships are the first to have a gender equal competition schedule with. This year’s regatta also has proportionally more entries in women’s events relative to previous World Rowing Championships, making it the most gender-balanced to date.

Male - Female participation, 2018 World Rowing Championships © FISA


4.         Familiar waters

Racing on a familiar course is one way to help ease tension and anxiety for athletes and fortunately the Plovdiv regatta course is a known entity having hosted a number of international events.

As of 2018, Plovdiv is one of only 15 rowing venues to have hosted a World Rowing Championships on more than one occasion. Only two venues have ever hosted more than two World Rowing Championships: Slovenia’s Lake Bled and the Rotsee in Lucerne, Switzerland.

*in 1978 the World Rowing Championships was held in two locations: Open weight events in New Zealand and Lightweight events in Denmark.

World Rowing Championships, multi-year venues © FISA