Rowing is a sport which appeals to people of all ages and abilities.

The first known "modern" rowing races began from competition among the professional watermen in the United Kingdom that provided ferry and taxi service on the River Thames in London. During the 19th century these races were to become numerous and popular, attracting large crowds. Prize matches amongst professionals similarly became popular on other rivers throughout Great Britain in the 19th century, notably on the Tyne. In America, the earliest known race dates back to 1756 in New York.

Rowing was introduced to Sri Lanka circa 1864 with the establishment of the Colombo Rowing Club. In 1898, the first Boat Race took place between the Colombo Rowing Club and the Madras Boat Club (now Chennai, India) and rivalry prevails until the present day.

The formation of the ARASL took place exactly 100 years later on 30th December 1964, under the patronage of late Mr. Jerry Silva. Hence, in 2014 we celebrated 150 years of rowing in Sri Lanka and the 50-year Jubilee of the ARASL.

To propogate the sport, ARASL has now established the National Rowing Academy at Diyawanna Rowing Centre.. The goal of the centre is to popularize rowing amongst all age groups, be it novice, recreational or competitive. Other goals include setting up a boat building facility and making rowing a truly National sport accessible to everyone in Sri Lanka and winning accolades in the international rowing arena.