A junior rower is 18 years old or younger, racing nationally or internationally. Junior rowers race in all boat classes, singles to eights. The ultimate aim of competitive junior rowers is to represent their country at the World Rowing Junior Championships. The World Rowing Junior Championships often launch junior athletes to future successes as under-23 and elite rowers.

Junior rowers are selected to row for their country after a series of trials similar to those held for senior rowers. International junior rowers can also be selected to compete in the Youth Olympic Games (YOG). The YOG is held every four years.

Junior rowers often first begin to row at high school and there is now a strong community of competitive school rowing worldwide. Most nations have national school regattas held annually. In school rowing there is a strong focus on crew boat rowing, teamwork, inclusivity, commitment and ambition.