The aim of this study was to characterize changes in maximal oxygen uptake over several years and to elaborate current reference values of this index based on determinations carried out in large and representative groups of top Polish rowers. For this study 81 female and 159 male rowers from the sub-junior to senior categories were recruited from the Polish National Team and its direct backup. All the subjects performed an incremental exercise test on a rowing ergometer. During the test maximal oxygen uptake was measured with the BxB method. The calculated reference values for elite Polish junior and U23 rowers allowed to evaluate the athletes’ fitness level against the respective reference group and may aid the coach in controlling the training process. Mean values of VO2max achieved by members of the top Polish rowing crews who over the last five years competed in the Olympic Games or World Championships were also presented. The results of the research on the “trainability” of the maximal oxygen uptake may lead to a conclusion that the growth rate of the index is larger in case of high-level athletes and that the index (in absolute values) increases significantly between the age of 19-22 years (U23 category).