Rowers Find Empowerment At 2017 Master Nationals

OAK RIDGE, Tenn — For most, with aging comes obstacles, and slowing down is a challenge that seems inevitable. But as long as Don Tanhauser of Lake Casitas Rowing Club and Hans Wurster of Colorado Rowing Club are on the water, they are only picking up speed.

With a crew average age of 81, Tanhauser and Wurster set out on Melton Lake today in the men’s J double sculls, the oldest age category at Masters Nationals this year. The duo won their 1,000 meter race in a time of 4:36.56.

While their speed and athletic ability are impressive, it is their positive nature and ability to embrace their age that makes them so emblematic of masters rowing.

Tanhauser, who entered the sport at age 75, embraces rowing for the positive impact it has had on him in his later years.

“Once I started rowing, my whole life changed,” Tanhauser said. “My health improved…My back felt better, my cholesterol is down and I’ve lost 40 pounds.”

Since he started the sport eight years ago, Tanhauser has competed in several national and international races. Doing so has allowed him to not only embrace the sport, but also get involved in the growing community surrounding masters rowing.

Most notably, Tanhauser met Hans Wurster during the 2016 World Rowing Masters Championship in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the two have been doubles partners ever since. The friendship and athletic camaraderie they have developed over the past year has helped them find success, and in two weeks they will make their way to Lake Bled in Slovenia to compete together at the 2017 World Rowing Masters Regatta.

Reflecting on their experiences in the sport, both Tanhauser and Wurster see great importance in spreading the word about masters rowing.

“We need to tell more elderly or advanced-stage people to get into this sport,” Wurster said.

Tanhauser was quick to chime in.

“Use me as an example. You’re never too old. I started at 75. Just go out and try it, because there’s a learn-to-row [program] near you, and it never hurts to try.”

Along with Tanhauser and Wurster, many athletes found success today, as Melton Lake saw another full day of racing and tight finishes.

In the men’s AA double sculls final, the two leading crews raced towards what became the closest finish of the day. Justin Trzeciak and Christopher Blanchet of Wyandotte Boat Club finished just .02 seconds ahead of Bernardo Moreno and Nathan Kress of Greenwich Crew to take first place in a time of 3:24.58.

In another photo finish, the top three crews in the men’s club C 4+ all finished within one second of each other. Crews from San Diego Rowing Club, Texas Rowing Center and Potomac Boat Club finished in times of 3:14.06, 3:14.90 and 3:14.95, respectively.

Racing will continue tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. for a third day of heats and finals.

For full results from Friday’s racing, see

Watch the live stream broadcast for today’s racing and the coming days of finals on USRowing’s YouTube Channel.

Schedule | Entries | Results

Photos from the event are available for viewing and downloads here on USRowing Photos.

Written by Elise Gorberg,

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