Richard Stock, Explore Rowing Programme Manager, dips an oar into rowing history and explains how Explore Rowing is bringing the sport to the whole community.
I guess everyone’s seen the Boat Race and most people know who Sir Steve Redgrave and Matt Pinsent are. Lots of Olympic medals and superhuman effort from supersized athletes. Well, you’re partly right but there’s so much more to rowing. It really is a part of our country’s heritage – all the way back to the Vikings!
Our longest running rowing race was instigated in 1715 by Thomas Doggett between the Watermen, London’s taxi drivers of yesteryear, one hundred years before the first Boat Race. People from all walks of life, all shapes and sizes can enjoy this sport and British Rowing’s Explore Rowing initiative aims to counter some of the misconceptions about rowing.
Explore Rowing aims to capitalise on the Olympics and deliver a fantastic, diverse and lasting legacy for rowing. Through a network of clubs throughout the country we’re opening up rowing to everyone, not only making it easy to get into the sport but also making sure there’s a way of staying involved whatever your aspirations. Whether you want to get fit, feel good, escape the hustle and bustle of life or simply just get out in the fresh air.
We were delighted to welcome the Minister for Sport, Hugh Robertson to one of our projects on the Serpentine On Tuesday (5 April). This is a great example of where Explore Rowing has allowed us to bring together different partners to access new sites.
The Serpentine Association unites the Royal Parks, London Youth Rowing and Westminster School to deliver a rowing programme to local schools and community groups who may never have considered rowing in the past. It’s something that London Youth Rowing have a tremendous pedigree in, having delivered rowing to a large number of kids throughout London. The creativity they put into their delivery helps them access kids in areas of London that normal sports delivery would not reach.
This project is just an example of the tremendous work being done by our clubs up and down the country to provide rowing to the whole community. So, if you’d like to pick up an oar and give it a try just visit www.explorerowing.org to find your nearest club.
Image courtesy of British Rowing/Iain Weir.