The sport of Masters Crew was born in the mid-1980’s by rowing alumni athletes who, like tennis and squash players, and golfers, loved their sport and did not want to enjoy it from the sideline. What was unique was that rowing is a team sport. Yet despite the problems of getting the various teams together, and finding equipment, Masters Rowing has flourished.
In 1990, responding to a challenge from former collegiate opponents, nine members of the USNA Class of 1963 and their original coach came together to race Syracuse and Pennsylvania alumni boats in what would become the first Masters IRA regatta. During the week long training program at the U.S. Naval Academy, this crew decided to pick up the oars permanently. In 1991 the Navy Masters Rowing Club was formed and incorporated as a 501.c.3 NFP Corporation.
By the next year word had spread to other classes and the five day mid-Spring rowing camp was born and has been conducted in one form or another every year since. In 2004 twenty oarsmen and coxswains met at the Camp at the Academy to select crews and entries for the Royal English Veteran’s Henley. Seven crews were entered and two reached the finals. The eight lost by just two seats. They were NAVY Rowing athletes from the 1960’s and 1970’s.
In 1993 the plans were put in place for a significant fund raising effort to begin to build the Navy Crew Endowment Fund (NCEF). Discussions with the NAAA and the USNA Foundation resulted in an Academy managed fund that is overseen by a committee of NMRC members. The NCEF has already funded travel and equipment to help provide the “margin of excellence” necessary for NAVY to continue to be competitive.
In 2006 the NMRC is, itself, flourishing. NMRC athletes have competed at the Canadian Henley, U.S. Masters Nationals, FISA World Masters Championships, and at the World Masters Games, as well a the Head of the Charles and Royal English Veteran’s Henley. The NMRC is the oldest alumni rowing organization and remains the most active.