When competing in races, athletes race guided for which events they can enter by different classifications. These include age, weight and skill and each has rules associated with the classification.
Classifications – By Age
Rule 4-104 from the USRowing Rules of Rowing
(a) Junior: A Junior is a competitor who in the current calendar year does not attain the age of 19, or who is and has been continuously enrolled in secondary school as a full time student seeking a diploma. A competitor thus ceases to be a Junior after December 31 of the year of his or her 18th birthday, or of the year in which he or she completes the 12th grade of secondary school, having been a full time student, whichever is later.
(b) Master: A Master is a competitor who has attained or will attain the age of 21 during the current calendar year. A competitor’s age is determined as of December 31 of the current calendar year, rounded down to the highest contained integer. A competitor thus becomes a Master on January 1 of the year of his or her 21st birthday. A Masters crew shall be comprised exclusively of Masters rowers, but the coxswain need not be a Master.
(1) Masters crews shall be classified by age according to the following categories: (AA) 21 to 26 years, (A) 27 to 35 years, (B) 36 to 42 years, (C) 43 to 49 years, (D) 50 to 54 years, (E) 55 to 59 years, (F) 60 to 64 years, (G) 65 to 69 years, (H) 70 to 74 years, (I) 75 to 79 years, (J) 80 and over. The age category of a Masters crew shall be determined by the average age of the rowers in the crew, rounded to the nearest integer. The age of a coxswain shall not be counted. The ages of individual rowers need not fall within the age category, so long as each rower is a Master and so long as the average age of the crew falls within the applicable category.
Classifications — By Weight
An athlete of any weight can enter the open categories, although the average woman in an open race will approach 6′ in height and an average open weight man 6’6″. Lightweight men cannot weigh more than 160 pounds and the average weight in the entire boat cannot exceed 155 pounds. Lightweight women cannot weigh more than 130 pounds and the average weight in the entire boat cannot exceed 125 pounds.
Classifications – By Skill
Rule 4-105 from the USRowing Rules of Rowing
(a) A competitor’s classification by skill shall be determined separately with respect to sweep events and sculling events. Except for the provisions of subsection (b)(2) below (Elite status affecting scull or sweep status), a competitor’s classification in one category shall not affect his or her classification in the other. A competitor’s classification by skill shall not be determined separately with respect to open events and lightweight events, and thus a competitor’s status as Elite, Senior or Intermediate is applicable regardless of weight class.
(b) Competitors shall be classified according to skill by the following criteria:
- (1) Intermediate: A competitor is an Intermediate who has not advanced to the status of Senior or Elite.
- (2) Senior: A competitor is a Senior who has won any intermediate or senior event over 2,000 meters at the USRowing National Championships or at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, and who has not advanced to the status of Elite. A competitor who is an Elite as a sweep rower shall be advanced to Senior for all sculling events, and a competitor who is an Elite as a scull rower shall be advanced to Senior for all sweep events.
- (3) Elite: A competitor is an Elite who has been a member of a USRowing National Team as a competitor (including as a spare) in the category at issue, other than in a Junior or Masters event.
(c) All trials events to select the National Team, except those for Junior or Masters events, shall be classified as Elite events.
(d) Junior or Masters races do not effect a competitor’s classification by skill under this Rule.
(e) All changes in classification by skill shall take effect on January 1 following the year of competition.
(f) Any other provision of these rules notwithstanding, a competitor who is not an amateur shall be deemed an Elite for all events, whether sweep or sculling, open or lightweight.
4-107 Eligibility to Compete in Events
(a) No rower who is an Elite shall compete in a Senior or Intermediate event, and no rower who is a Senior shall compete in an Intermediate event. A coxswain may compete in any of those categories regardless of his or her classification by skill except that a coxswain who is not an amateur shall not compete in events classified by skill as Intermediate or Senior or classified by age as Junior.