After watching a few rowing competitions of London Olympics 2012, a question came to my mind. In the competitions rowers (Not sure if this is the word used for athletes) synchronize their rowing strokes. All 8 athletes' oars touch and leave water at the same time. This causes the boat to accelerate faster but then to slow down significantly when oars are out of water. My question is will the boat eventually move faster if athletes row the boat in pairs, one pair after another? When oars of the first pair about to leave water, next pair will hit the water, when 2nd pair about to leave water, 3rd pair's stroke will begin....etc. In such case there will be no deceleration. This can easily be proved by some simple Math. Hope some one has already done the work and let us know why the synchronized rowing is better. My personal guess is athletes should start with synchronized strokes, when they attain a certain speed, then they should switch to sequential strokes.