Rowing is a sport in which athletes race against each other on rivers, on lakes or on the ocean - depending on the type of race and the discipline. The specially-designed boats are moved by oar blades pushed against the water, and athletes can compete in individual, pair or team events.
One of the oldest Olympic sports, rowing is recreational and competitive, as well as inclusive. Disabled people with a desire to race for their country, or to train for the fun of it, can also participate in the exhilarating sport of adaptive rowing.
The adapted sport is about removing barriers to participation for anyone who has a physical impairment, and there are four boat classes available - all of which race over 1000m on a still water, straight course.
Just like its non-disabled counterpart, adaptive rowing is a test of physical fitness and mental toughness. But the rewards in fitness, social connection and excitement are well worth the training. Advances in available equipment and the growing number of accessible rowing venues also means rowing is quickly becoming a sport for everyone.
Although the boats may have some adaptations for disabled rowers, in most other areas it meets the rules and regulations for non-disabled rowers. In fact, during non-Paralympic years, rowing is the only sport to have a fully inclusive World Championship event.
Rowing in New Zealand has been a competitive sport since the 1850's and Rowing NZ aims to keep young people involved in the sport and physically disabled athletes competing and participating in adaptive rowing.