Masters Rowing was formally known as Veteran Rowing, but the new title suggests that great skill and experience is required, rather than simply advancing years, which is the reality. Masters events take place in a set of different age bands, typically spanning 5 years, which helps ensure reasonably fair competition. The yougest age band (Masters A) starts at the tender age of 27, but most people in their 20s and 30s will usually compete in the Senior categories and only finally acknowledge their advancing years as they progress through their 40s.
Masters rowing for men and women has expanded significantly at Pengwern over the last 5 years. Before that we had a regular 8+ of "old guys" who rowed more as a group of friends and competed locally and occasionally with some success.
Today we have a thriving squad of mixed rowers from mid 30s to late 70s of around thirty, focused on competing at regional and national events. We have two on the water sessions a week, Thursday evening because that's club night and the bar is open for detailed discussion on the outing over a pint and Saturday morning followed by bacon butties in the club. Older rowers know how to chose their outing timings! Of course not everybody can commit the time to full race training so there is always the opportunity to sit in as a sub, scull, make up small boats or join the club social row on Monday mornings open to everybody which is always followed by coffee, a chat and hopefully cake.
The season starts in September targeting head races and for the seriously masochistic, the Boston Marathon. Usually we have a couple of crews at the Masters Fours Head in October followed by entries to 8+s head races with crews regularly winning their category in the North of England HOR. In 2015 we had our first win at Wallingford with a MasG8+ beating strong Thames valley and Tideway crews. This year 24 attended the masters training camp run by Nathan at Henley based at Upper Thames RC all competing in the Henley HOR on Saturday followed by 2 coaching days, a memorable evening in a local Italian restaurant and the hope that we would absorb some of the magic of rowing on the same stretch of water with Leander and OUBC Lightweights. It was a great 3 days.
This year we had 3 crews going to the Vesta Masters Tideway 8+s at the end of March; our mixed E 8 (pictured above) was outright winner of the mixed E, D and C categories. The focus now changes to regattas including our own Shrewsbury Regatta in May, the Masters National Championships and finishing the season with Henley Masters in July. A memorable moment in club masters rowing legend was our G8+ in 2013 half a length up in the final against the German composite Hellas Offenbach RC of huge Olympians until they decided to take it up a couple of pips. We are still convinced though that we gave them a scare!