About adaptive rowing
Adaptive rowing (or para-rowing) is rowing with a modification of equipment and technique that enables people with disabilities to participate in the sport.
The first all-adaptive rowing club was Philadelphia Adaptive Rowing (PAR), the host club of the BAYADA Regatta, which was founded in 1980 as Philadelphia Rowing Program for the Disabled (PRPD). In 1981, the BAYADA Regatta—the nation’s oldest and largest all-adaptive rowing competition—began.
Adaptive rowing was included as an exhibition event at the World Rowing Junior Championships in Finland in 1993 and at the World Rowing Championships in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada in 1999, both organized by the International Rowing Federation (FISA).
In 2005, adaptive rowing was selected to be included in the Paralympic Games, three years after it made its debut on the world championship level. The sport was in the Paralympics for the first time in 2008 at the Beijing, China games. Two PAR athletes were on that US Paralympic Team—Scott Brown, a six-time adaptive national team member who joined PAR in 1989, and Laura Schwanger, who previously competed in the Paralympics in track and field and took home the bronze medal in 2008 for women’s single sculls.
At the London, England 2012 Paralympic Games, 96 athletes competed in adaptive rowing in four medal events. Rob Jones and Oksana Masters—both bilateral above-knee amputees who have previously participated in the BAYADA Regatta—won the bronze medal for trunk and arms mixed double sculls. Jones and Masters were also awarded the 2012 Isabel Bohn Award for Achievement in Adaptive Rowing. Bohn, who helped form PAR and is its current board president, was given the inaugural award the year before for her achievements in adaptive rowing—including being the first adaptive competitor at a world rowing championship.
Today, more than 27 countries participate in adaptive rowing and the sport is continuing to gain popularity throughout the US and the world.
If you are interested in participating or volunteering and are in the Philadelphia area, please contact PAR at firstname.lastname@example.org. For those outside of the Philadelphia area, view this list of adaptive rowing programs in the US from USRowing.
For more information, visit the following sites: