The ways and reasons that see people become masters rowers are as wide as they are varied. It encompasses a huge piece of life from the age of 27 through to, well, death. That’s a lot of decades of rowing.
Some come to masters rowing due to injury in other sports with the low impact nature of rowing being the attraction. Some follow their teenage kids to practice and regattas and then into the sport. Others continue after finishing their career as elite rowers. Some try a learn-to-row class and get hooked.
Whatever the reason, these individuals become part of the growing world-wide masters rowing community and in the lead up to the 2020 World Rowing Virtual Masters Regatta, World Rowing introduces you to some of them.
"Brock Sampson knew nothing about rowing until he moved from North Carolina to Austin, Texas in the United States. “I had no idea about the sport,” says Sampson. “It wasn’t a part of my world growing up.”
When Sampson moved to a new city, he was looking for a group activity. “I wanted to do something outside of basketball and (American) football and I heard about learn to row. I got into an eight, I pulled on the oar and that was it. It changed my life.”
Sampson was 31 years old and from then on, his life rotated around rowing.
“I took every opportunity to get into a boat. I went in all the boats that I could, I raced and I volunteered.”
Sampson’s club, Austin Rowing Club, had a very good men’s head coach and Sampson says that right from the beginning he was well coached and was inspired to learn more.
As well as rowing and competing at both open and masters events, Sampson immersed himself in all parts of rowing and was soon teaching Learn to Row classes and then advanced rowers. He has now worked at all levels including in the development of Ugandan rowing.
Sampson sees the need to build rowing in all communities and he has used the sport as an outreach tool, going into areas that don’t have rowing. His passion for this comes from his own experience of having no rowing in his own community growing up.
“One of my largest hurdles has been to demonstrate that rowing isn’t just for elite athletes and university students and those that have the means,” says Sampson. “It is truly a transformative sport and we need to showcase what rowing can do for everyone, not just a few.”
With that Sampson has established ‘Rowing Without Limits’ (www.rowingwithoutlimits.nl) and now living in the Netherlands, he continues to work in all things rowing."
Rowing Without Limits will support Gehandicaptensport Nederland to provide an exciting sports day for the Visually Impared