Rowing Glossary

Getting to be a “Master” is easier than you think!

As in all communities, there are lots of magic words that rowers use. Some of them make intuitive sense, and some can be a bit mysterious! In rowing speak, Masters can be beginning rowers, and Seniors is a racing category for serious rowers over age 21. Sadly, being a Senior rower does not entitle you to cheap movie tickets!

In addition to informal categories, there are formal categories defined by governing bodies such as Rowing Canada Aviron, US Rowing, and World Rowing (FISA). The categories can be based on age, experience, or something else. For example, there are lightweight events, para events, and some regattas even have specialty events like parent-child, alumni, or costume required!

For those with an insatiable thirst for knowledge, Rowing Canada Aviron's  Rules of Racing has many details. 

Here are a few frequently used terms:

  • JUNIORS - an informal term that generally refers to high school students enrolled in one of a club's Junior programs.
  • MASTERS - This is often used as an informal term for any adult rower. It also corresponds to the Masters racing category, which, in Canada and the USA, is open to adult rowers over the age of 21. Masters sprint races are 1000 meters long.
  • SENIORS - Informally, clubs often say Senior to refer to rowers over 18 who train for, and race in, 2000 meter sprint races. Formally, this is a racing category open to all adult rowers over the age of 21 who row 2000 meter sprint races. It is often frequented by rowers under the age of 27 who rowed competitively in high school and university.
  • UNDER 23 (U23) - This is a racing category open to adult rowers who will be under 23 at the end of the current calendar year. It's a highly competitive race category.
  • UNDER 27  (U27) - This is an informal category. In days gone by, the Masters event category was limited to rowers 27 years or older. Today, the Under 27 category generally refers to programs with a racing focus aimed at experienced, younger, rowers.

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