HIGH FIVES, June 2007, by Jenifer Merifield
and Physical Fitness
...rowing is a sport for winners
Coach Shani Doucet of Kingston Ontario, took the time to tell us about her rowing team, the Crusaders, and what rowing is all about.
History: Rowing first originated not as a sport, but as a means of transport in the ancient cultures of Egypt, Greece and Rome. It was also used in warfare in the 1700's and later became popular with ordinary folk, and with watermen racing down the Thames in barges. The earliest rowing race in Canada was held in the Halifax Harbour in 1811, between the Garrisons and a visiting Royal Navy warship, who won. Rowing gained popularity by the 19th century in Europe, and then America. The first champion was Toronto's Ned Hanlan, who also has the distinction of being the first true world champion in any sport! Rowing was one of the original Olympic sports, but due to bad weather however, the sport was postponed from its scheduled debut at Athens in 1896, to its first appearance at the 1900 Olympics in Paris, France. Women's Rowing was first seen at the 1976 Montreal Games.
Type of Sport and Commitment
Level: An outdoor sport, rowing practices are everyday for 90 minutes once they are on the water. The season for high school starts after March Break and finishes the first week of June. Dryland training is 60 minutes.
Starting Age: Girls can start around age 12, but most start in high school at about 14 or 15. This also depends on where girls life; if they are at a school that doesn't offer a rowing team, then they may have to wait until University.
Physical Requirements: Rowing, lifting boats, weight training, cross training. Girls become fitter as the season goes on and they must know how to swim.
Equipment: Boats are usually owned by the clubs and the rower's fees include use of the boats, oars, rowing machines and clubhouses.
Average Costs: Club dues can vary, but the average is about $300.
Jargon/Slang: "Let it run" = stop!
Why others should consider rowing?: Rowing is the ultimate team sport. It teaches girls time management, dedication and fitness. The boat can't be rowed without everyone in perfect timing with each other. The girls are all very supportive of each other. My girls are all in grade 9. They come from a variety of backgrounds but have all become good friends and are dedicated to each other and their sport. Rowing is a physically demanding sport and the girls will develop muscles. The more successful girls are often the stronger or heavier ones who don't fit the typical "pop culture image".
Rowing Sheros: Diane O'Grady, Marni McBean, Silken Laumann, Kathleen Headle, The National Team is listed on the Rowing Canada website.
Levels: Club and recreational to Olympic and worl competition.
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