The program had its origins from 2007 when a young man who had lost both legs due to meningococcal contacted Balmain Rowing Club and asked to be taught to row. Mens’ coach Keith Swanson agreed to coach Matthew and this led to Matthew being our first para athlete being invited to trial in 2008 for selection for the Paralympics.
This was followed in 2010 when a young man, who had sustained a traumatic
brain injury and physical injuries as a result of a car accident, participated in the Balmain Rowing Club’s ‘Learn to Row’ course.
His GP had suggested that rowing might aid his rehabilitation. This proved to be the case from both the physical and social perspective. Barbara Ramjan, Liam James and Anne Craig volunteered to continue coaching him after the initial introductory course and hence began the para-rowing program.
The Program has had many participants since its inception and each participant has come with their own special needs. We are an inclusive and diverse team and are always keen to work with new athletes regardless of their experience or disability.
Para-Rowers are classified into one of three categories depending on
- PR3 / LTA- rowers with a verifiable and permanent impairment who have functional use of their legs, trunk and arms for rowing and who can use a sliding seat to propel the boat, eg. the impairment may typically involve an amputation, vision impairment, intellectual impairment, or another condition such as Cerebral Palsy.
- PR2 / TA – rowers with a verifiable and permanent impairment who have functional use of the trunk but are unable to use the sliding seat to propel the boat because of significantly weakened function or mobility of the lower limbs. eg bilateral around knee amputation, significantly impaired quadriceps, Cerebral Palsy, paraplegia
- PR1 / AS – rowers with a verifiable and permanent impairment who have minimal or no trunk function eg. Cerebral Palsy or paraplegia.
Rowing Australia and Rowing NSW are continually directing interested person to the Program. The Program has, at the request of Rowing Australia and Rowing NSW, held “Try Rowing” days for persons with disabilities, making contact with disability organisations eg Vision Australia, Cerebral Palsy Association.