I was born in Barcelona, Spain and rowed there for 17 years. I learned the european rowing culture from the start and knew about the French, Italian, German, British, Dutch, Russians, Romanians…..
Many Top Europeans National Teams came to Spain to do winter training camps and I had the chance to see them and learn from them.
I tried to list under my personal experience 10 BIG REASONS why the Europeans are good at rowing in general and specially at the small boats.
1- A medal at the Olympics has the same value on a 1x as on the 8+. It is 1 medal.
2- They first learn the movement and play with the sport before they prioritize on fitness.
3- They develop on small boats and specially the 1x before they get on bigger boats.
5- They need to prove on small boats to get on the big boats.
6- They row on the water and reduce the stationary ergometer to testing.
7- They have good rowing coaches.
8- They scull before they sweep.
9- They row plenty of strokes at low rate to learn the movement and develop the body.
10- They focus their training on developing their athletes to reach their top performance when the body is ready.
Check this video and see the blade work and skill of this european crew.