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Victoria Sports and Recreation: Rowing

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Pair of women rowing

Rowing is a sport that helps achieve a total body workout. Rowing takes place in a rowing "shell" a long, narrow and very light boat holding either one, two, four or eight participants. The shells are only slightly wider than a person's shoulders and about ten inches deep and are propelled by oars on each side. In a "eights" shell, there are four oars on the each side, one for each rower. Each rower sits on a sliding seat, with their feet strapped to the boat, to exert their full force to pull the oar back and push the boat. Competitive rowers race at the pace of a four minute mile through water!

The rowing action is as follows:

  • The rower reaches forward with the oar, arms fully extended
  • The oar is placed in the water (the "catch")
  • The rower pushes with legs first to pull the oar towards them
  • The stroke is finished by pulling the oar into the chest, just below the ribs, at which time the oar is pulled out of the water
  • The rower then pulls forward on the sliding seat to prepare for the next stroke

In an eight person or 4 person shell, the coxwain, steers the boat and instructs the rowers on their rowing pace.

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Rowers require basic gym equipment, shirt, shoes, and shorts. The rowing shells are provided by the rowing clubs.

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The Gorge Rowing Club (250- 380-4669) is the place to learn how to row, located on Jutland Rd on the north shore of the Gorge. You should also check out the Victoria Rowing Club on Elk Lake, north of town(250) 658-5331. This facility is also used by the Canadian Rowing Association as the National Team training venue.

For between $120 and $150, the aspiring rower will get a three-week program with an hour of water training each day. Novice rowers begin in a training shell, which is more stable than the racing shells. As the rower becomes more comfortable, they are coordinated into crews for more regular rowing training. Learn-to row sessions begin in early May. You can practice your rowing technique at many fitness clubs who have proper rowing machines (called "ergometers").

For more info, contact Rowing BC at (604) 737-3064

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