Para-Rowing is Growing at USRowing Events
By USRowing Staff • May 4, 2018
USRowing has offered adaptive and para-rowing racing opportunities at its club national championships and masters national championships for several years now, but 2018 will see a large increase in the number of racing opportunities available across the spectrum of USRowing-owned events.
“This year marks a significant change in adaptive and para-rowing,” said USRowing Adaptive Programs Development Specialist Deb Arenberg. “The development of adaptive rowing has always been driven by our athletes, and we are excited to offer so many additional events in response to the growth and participation in para and adaptive rowing.”
Scheduled for July 11-15, the 2018 USRowing Club National Championships on Cooper River in Camden County, N.J., will feature the entire World Rowing Championships para-rowing slate raced at the 2,000-meter distance. FISA added four events to its para-rowing lineup this year, and club nationals will provide athletes a chance to test their speed in all nine of the world championship boat classes. Races will be offered in the PR1 men’s single sculls, PR1 women’s single sculls, PR2 men’s single sculls, PR2 women’s single sculls, PR2 mixed double sculls, PR3 mixed double sculls, PR3 men’s pair, PR3 women’s pair, and PR3 mixed four with coxswain.
Thirteen different adaptive rowing events will be offered at the 2018 USRowing Masters National Championships in Oakland, Calif. Scheduled for August 16-19 on Lake Merritt, USRowing will offer the PR1 masters women’s single sculls, PR1 masters men’s single sculls, PR2 masters women’s single sculls PR2 masters men’s double sculls, PR2 masters mixed double sculls, PR2 masters women’s inclusive double sculls, PR2 masters men’s inclusive double sculls, PR3 masters men’s single sculls, PR3 masters women’s single sculls, PR3 masters mixed double sculls, PR3 masters women’s inclusive double sculls, PR3 masters men’s inclusive double sculls, and PR3 masters mixed inclusive four with coxswain. Races will be rowed over the 1,000-meter distance. Inclusive events include an equal number of classified and non-classified rowers.
“One of the biggest challenges we face is identifying and pairing athletes with similar classifications to race in FISA events,” Arenberg said. “Adding these new events will increase the number of opportunities for disabled athletes. And for those athletes whose disabilities are not eligible to be classified, they can participate in inclusive events.
“Inclusive events, where half the crew has a disability and half do not, are a fantastic opportunity to get athletes into the sport. They can take advantage of training and local or regional events in their backyard. Inclusive rowing allows a disabled athlete to integrate with a local rowing partner or crew. Regatta directors can use this platform to help design their adaptive and para event schedule, but an event such as the mixed inclusive double sculls is the ‘go to’ event to bridge adaptive and traditional rowing.”
For the first time, USRowing’s National Selection Regatta 2/Spring Speed Order 2 will offer racing opportunities for para rowers. Para racing will be contested in the PR2 men’s single sculls, PR2 women’s single sculls, PR3 men’s pair, and PR3 women’s pair. Athletes who place in the top two of the PR3 men’s pair and PR3 women’s pair events will receive automatic invitations to this summer’s PR3 mixed four with coxswain selection camp. Athletes who place in the top two of all para events have an opportunity to earn direct athlete support funding.
“The USRowing National Team tag covers under 19, under 23, para, and senior. We currently have scheduled, and have run in the past, trials events that have mixed para, U19, U23 and senior selection,” said USRowing Director of High Performance Matt Imes. “The extension of para-rowing events into NSRs is a natural progression of continuing to incorporate all the groups that represent the U.S. National Team and is good for the team overall.”
This year, para-rowing events will be split between the two Senior World Championships Trials, with the PR2 mixed double sculls, PR1 men’s single sculls and PR1 women’s single sculls being held at the first set of trials scheduled for July 5-8. The PR3 mixed double sculls, PR3 men’s pair, PR3 women’s pair, PR2 men’s single sculls and PR2 women’s single sculls will be raced at the second set of trials scheduled for August 5-8. All three regattas are held at Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J.
“I am very excited about the increased opportunities for our PR2 and PR3 rowers to race in the smaller boats at the world championships,” said USRowing Director of Para-Rowing Tom Darling. “The PR2 single and PR3 pair events will allow athletes to gain valuable international experience in preparation for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. By offering funds for the top finishers at NSR 2, it should inspire an even greater turnout as the word gets out.”
USRowing’s four regional masters championships will include all 13 of the adaptive events being offered at masters nationals. Regional opportunities include the 2018 USRowing Northwest Masters Championships June 22-24 on Vancouver Lake in Vancouver, Wash., 2018 USRowing Southeast Masters Championships June 23-24 on Lake Olmstead in Augusta, Ga., 2018 USRowing Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Master Championships June 7 on the Merrimack River in Lowell, Mass., and 2018 USRowing Southwest Masters Championships (date and location still being finalized).
At the youth level, all six USRowing-owned regional championships will offer a men’s inclusive double sculls and a women’s inclusive double sculls. Inclusive races will be offered at the USRowing Central Youth Championships, USRowing Southwest Youth Championships, USRowing Mid-Atlantic Youth Championships, USRowing Southeast Youth Championships, USRowing Northeast Youth Championships, and USRowing Northwest Youth Championships during the month of May. This is the first step in ultimately adding adaptive/para-rowing events to the USRowing Youth National Championships.
“Continuing to grow the racing opportunities for para-rowing athletes is an organizational-wide goal at USRowing,” said USRowing Senior Events Manager A.J. Dominique. “By increasing the number of regional and national opportunities at all levels including our youth series regattas, we are hoping to lead by example in a way that other regattas will follow.”
In addition to the races, USRowing will offer opportunities for athletes to be classified at both the club and masters national championships, as well as other events based on interest.