Adaptive Rowing in NSW and Australia
Adaptive Rowing provides opportunities for a wide range of athletes with physical and intellectual impairments to compete in an inclusive environment. In Australia, there are three classifications for adaptive rowing. These classifications closely match the international adaptive rowing classifications.
The sport can cater for athletes with a variety of impairments.
Adaptive Rowing is integrated into the main rowing program in Australia and internationally. It was introduced as a Paralympic sport at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics and therefore provides athletes with the opportunity to achieve at the highest level. Australia has a good record in Adaptive Rowing winning five gold, three silver (including one Paralympic silver medal) and two bronze medals since the sport was introduced to the World Rowing Championships in 2002.
Rowing Australia has entered into an agreement with the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) to establish and develop a Paralympic Preparation Program (PPP). Rowing Australia’s PPP is managed through the Adaptive Rowing High Performance Plan with the establishment of structured programs and selection requirements to optimise Australia’s opportunity to win medals at the Paralympic Games.
Arms Only (A)
Arms only adaptive rowers are athletes who have no or minimal trunk functionl. Arms only rowers apply force predominantly using the arms and/or shoulders. Arms only rowers use pontoons fixed to the riggers to aid stability. The fixed seat will have a backrest allowing the rower to be straffed into the boat.
Trunk and Arms (TA)
Trunk and Arms adaptive rowers are athlete who have trunk movement but are unable to use the sliding seat because of significantly weakened or restricted function of the lower limbs. Trunk and arms rowers can use stabilising pontoons to row if they prefer. A backrest on the fixed seat is optional.
Leg, Trunk and Arms (LTA)
Leg, Trunk and Arms adaptive rowers include athletes with impairments who are able to use the sliding seat as well as their trunk and arms. Athletes with vision impairments, or with an intellectual disability will usually be classified as LTA rowers. Many athletes with an amputation will also row in this classification.
Intellectual Disability (ID)
ID adaptive rowers include athletes with an IQ of 70 or less and with significant limitations in adaptive behaviour expressed in conceptial, social and practical adaptive skills. ID athletes are currently not eligible to compete at the Paralympic Games, however can compete internationally in a mixed coxed four.
A list of current classifications for adaptive rowing that can be checked to see whether an athlete is classified is available on the RA website
Australian Paralympic Committee Classification Information Sheet for Rowing
Racing and Regattas
For racing at club and state championships in NSW, adaptive rowers do not need a formal classification. Athletes who think they are eligible to row as adaptive rowers should contact both Georgie Lee and Pamela Hubert before entering adaptive races for the first time. This will ensure the athlete is likely to obtain a classification for adaptive rowing and that the boat race officials are aware of any special arrangements that might need to be made for the race.
Adaptive rowers competing at the National Championships will be expected to have a formal classification. Classification sessions will normally be held at the National Championships prior to the commencement of adaptive events.
Adaptive rowing events are included at most age/open regattas and most grade regattas in NSW. They are also held at Championship regattas. Adaptive races are held in single and double sculls. Adaptive rowers can enter adaptive double sculls either with another adaptive rower, or with a master rower (minimum age B grade). For female rowers, the master rower should be of the same gender. At National Championships adaptive double scull races must be raced by two adaptive rowers of the same gender.
When entering adaptive single scull races, the rower should nominate their classification and the distance they prefer to race (either 500m or 1000m). Where there are sufficient entries, LTA entrants will race in a separate division to the TA and A rowers.
Adaptive Rowing provides athletes with a physical or intellectual impairment the opportunity to be active on the water, get involved in a fun and friendly club environment, and participate in a variety of competitions from club regattas through state and national championships to world championships and Paralympic games.
Coaching Notes on RA Website
Who can be an adaptive rower?
Coaching Athletes with an intellectual impairment
Adaptive Rowing Talent Seach
A list of adaptive rowing talent search dates are available on the RA website
A list of equipment that can be sought in Australia suitable for adaptive rowing is available on the RA website
Rowing Australia / National Rowing Centre of Excellence
02 6214 7518
Sport Development Officer
02 8116 9777