Masters rowing has seen a measurable increase in participation, with masters rowers engaged in the sport for competition, health, and recreation reasons. Unlike other masters sports, masters rowing has a unique high level of synchronous, cooperative, and interdependent elements. To better understand the benefits and challenges of participation in competitive masters rowing, the purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of competitive masters rowers. Twelve competitive masters rowers were recruited and interviewed. Utilizing an interpretative phenomenological analysis approach to guide data collection, analysis, and interpretation, the analysis revealed four major themes: navigating community relationships, finding a reason to row, growing opportunities, and seeking considerate coaches. Utilizing self-determination theory as a framework for interpreting the findings, the identified themes illustrate the varying motivations, needs, and preferences of competitive masters rowers, as well as how their experiences are influenced by their coaches and peers. Efforts should be made by masters rowing coaches and administrators to better understand the needs of their athletes to ensure the maximum benefits of participation, commitment, and enjoyment of the sport.

Publication Date



This is the "accepted manuscript" version of the paper. The final, publisher's version of record can be found here: https://doi.org/10.1123/japa.2023-0216

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Wegmans School of Health and Nutrition


College of Health Sciences and Technology


RIT – Main Campus