Rowing was a means of transport in the ancient civilisations of Egypt, Greece and Rome, but rowing as a sport began in Victorian England in the 19th century.
Rowing was first recorded as a competitive sport in 1716 when boats raced five miles between two different pubs on the River Thames, an event that still takes place. In 1829 the annual boat race between Oxford and Cambridge universities was established.
As rowing became more competitive, races and equipment changed. In 1846 Oxford developed outriggers, oars that were secured away from the side of the boat to give more leverage, while fixed seats were changed to sliding ones by Yale oarsmen in 1870.
Modern rowing boats are called shells and are made from composite materials rather than wood.
Men's rowing was included as an Olympic sport in 1896, while women competitors were admitted to the Games at Montreal in 1976.
Rowing has been in the Asian Games programme since the 9th Asian Games in Delhi, India, in 1982.