About Masters Rowing Association

About MRA

The Masters Rowing Association (MRA) was established in 1999 as a non-profit organization to fulfill three important needs: the ability to continue to row and train with people you know and respect, providing important educational support and an organizational voice and contributing to the success of all rowing clubs, charities and organizations. It will offer Masters everywhere their own organization to pursue their passion to row throughout a lifetime.

Never before has there been such an unprecedented groundswell of excitement. Rowers and clubs from Seattle to Atlanta, from San Diego to Nashville have been e-mailing us with enthusiasm and support. Here are just a few:

"I'm excited about this new organization."
Alex Binkowski
Head Coach
Girls Preparatory School
Chattanooga, TN

"Having rowed in high school and college, and 'rediscovering' the sport within the past few years, I am excited to see the MRA write up in IRN."
Jim Vega

"I am the men's varsity coach at the University of Colorado – we are planning to start a community rowing program in Boulder next summer, and would love to be back scratchers to the MRA!"
Cymber Quinn
Men's Varsity Coach
Colorado Crew

"I'm delighted to know MRA exists, we have 170 active master rowers – and you are greatly to be encouraged!"
Shirley Reekie
Professor of Sports History
San Jose, California

"My wife and I are taking up sculling. We are both in our forties and both have an extensive bicycling road racing background. We saw your website and want to keep in touch."
Jeff and Carol
New Jersey

"From a master rower (50yo) here in Australia please accept my congratulations for initiating what looks like a superb WWW venture. I see you accept international members – but would I be an 'interloper' if I joined?"
Keith Thomas
Canberra, Australia

"It sounds too good to be true! Thanks for setting up an organization devoted to masters!"
Jennifer Gruenberg
Syracuse Chargers Rowing Club

MRA Mission Statement

The Masters Rowing Association (MRA) is a non-profit organization, dedicated to promoting the amateur sport of rowing to masters men and women at both the recreational and competitive levels. Our purpose is to provide a national organization that supports, educates and encourages the drive and athletic experience for individuals and rowing clubs and one that enhances their spirit of camaraderie.

History of Rowing

Rowing has a spirit all its own. The sport of rowing has always been fiercely competitive! The ancient Greeks and Romans were the first rowers, but for them it was survival, skillfully maneuvering battleships in active combat. Where the abilities of oarsmen were critical.

Yet the challenge of battle turned competitors into sports rivals as well. The earliest documented regatta took place on the canals in Venice in 1315.The first eight-oared race pulled away in London in 1778. And the first documented United States race happened in the waters of the Hudson River in New York City in 1811.

Rowing officially started to swing in 1852. That was the year the sport, which had matured at the amateur level, held its first and oldest intercollegiate athletic event in America --- the famous Harvard/Yale Race. Harvard won, but from that day on a quite remarkable rivalry developed.

Naturally Harvard oarsmen thought of themselves as quite clever when they discovered that greasing their leather pants allowed them to slide back and forth with great ease and utilizing their whole body to drive the oars helped demolish Yale. Not to be outdone, those spunky Yalies tried oatmeal. Thankfully for today's rowers, Yale gave up on food solutions the following year, and began using seats with wooden rollers - forerunners of today's sliding seats.

Philadelphia's Schuylkill Navy, which began in 1856 with collegiate and amateur oarsmen, is considered the first amateur sports association. Ambitious and dedicated, they formed the National Association for Amateur Oarsmen (NAAO) in 1872 - the first national governing body for sport in the United States.

Despite the fact that women rowed at several schools around the country, it was not until the early 1960's that The National Women's Rowing Association (NWRA) was founded. Then combining to become the United States Rowing Association (NWRA), incorporating both women and men.

Today rowing is one of the most ambitious, competitive and prestigious sports in the world. Simply ask any rower.