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Sports you should definitely try this summer... rowing

“Not everyone can be Steve Redgrave, but whatever size or shape you are you can get into a boat and get stuck into it.”

IT’S SUMMER, AND World Cup games don’t kick off until late in the afternoon. So you’ve got ample time to get out there and try your hand (and feet) at a new sporting pastime.

Over the coming (hopefully stone-splitting) month’s we’ll bring you some top tips on how to take on those sports you’ve always liked the look of, but didn’t quite get around to. This week… rowing.

Monika Dukraska Ireland's Monika Dukraska walks away after finishing fourth at the Universiade in Kazan last year. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Give it a go if… you’re fond of fresh air, water and a wee bit of heavy lifting. Or if you need some strenuous cardiovascular exercise that’s relatively easy on the joints.

What you need: A boat, some oars, an ability to swim and a life jacket are a good place to start.

Sanita Puspure Sanita Puspure warming up at the 2012 Olympic Games. Source: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

I can’t afford any / all of that, now what? Good, you’re better off not going off on your own anyway. There are three ‘learn to row’ summer camps being run this summer (full details here) but the one taking place this August in New Ross is open to adults as well as teenagers.

Where? Between coastal and inland rowing, there are over 70 rowing clubs on this island, so whether you live in Belfast, Ballincollig or anywhere in between you should be able to find a club near you here.

Graham Rowntree excercises on a rowing machine Lions forwards coach Graham Rowntree takes his ergometer for a spin in South Africa. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Anything I can do before taking it on? As, Rowing Ireland CEO, Hamish Adams points out; the gateway to rowing is sitting right under your nose in your local gym.

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“The great thing about rowing is that you’ll find the ergometers [rowing machines] in every gym across the country. The movement on that directly simulates rowing. Obviously, there are technical aspects on the water and a variety of skills to utilise, but it gives you a feel for it.”

Amy Bulman Amy Bulman competing during the World University Games for Ireland in Kazan last year. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Top tips? Aside from getting yourself up to speed on the rowing machine, there’s nothing for it, but to get out on the water and give it a go.

“Not everyone can be Steve Redgrave and win five Olympic gold medals, but whatever size or shape you are you can get into a boat and get stuck into it,” says Adams.

Although there are lightweight categories and varying disciplines (from individual to teams of various sizes) available for competitors of all shapes, Adams adds that their talent identification programmes have found that athletes with long arms and legs are more naturally predisposed to succeeding at skimming across the surface.

However, even if you’re not blessed with long levers, there’s bound to be a place for you.

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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