Charleston Rowing Club to host ‘learn to row’ sessions for juniors and adults
Ever wonder what it might feel like to power across Lowcountry waterways, propelled by a set of strong oars, determination, and some good old-fashioned teamwork? Now’s your chance!
The Charleston Rowing Club is a nonprofit organization “dedicated to teaching and promoting the international sport of rowing,” according to Coach Wesley Oliver. It operates out of Brittlebank Park in downtown Charleston. Oliver mentions two types of rowing that are offered by the club – “Slide Seat” rowing and the more traditional “Gig” rowing. Anyone over the age of 14 can join, and no experience is required.
“Joining is easy” Oliver said, referring those interested to check the organization’s website, www.charlestonrowing.com to begin the process. “You can become a member and start rowing right away. We also allow people to guest row with us before joining.”
Things are a little different if you have never spent time on the water.
“Two to three times each year we organize a ‘Learn to Row’ camp,” he added. “The camp will cover all the basics: everything from how to move your body while rowing to the proper ways to handle and care for the boats.”
The next camp for junior rowers will take place August 13-16. The adult session will be held August 11-12 and again August 18-19.
One of the club’s junior rowers is Daniel Island resident Cameron Hartford, who works tirelessly each week to be a prominent member of the team.
“I thought that rowing would be a good sport to try because I enjoy being on the water and I have no hand-eye coordination whatsoever!” she said. “Being a part of CCRC has helped me strengthen this passion. I love rowing more than I ever thought I would…I enjoyed seeing how different clubs operate and what sort of equipment they use. I recently started researching colleges, and I have decided I will not even consider a college unless it has rowing in some form or another.”
She found herself getting involved in Charleston’s club after seeing it online, surprised to learn about the dynamics of the sport. She jokes, “The most rowing I had been exposed to was watching the US women’s 8+ win at the 2012 Summer Olympics.” Her junior team consists of 12-18-year-olds finding a secure bond within their shared experiences on and off the rowing shell. Despite a separation between novice and varsity skill levels, there is still a shared adoration of the sport and each other.
Hartford encourages anyone in the Daniel Island community to sign up for the upcoming “Learn to Row” session, especially the junior club.
“There is only one for high schoolers each year, so if you are on the fence about committing full time to the team, go to ‘learn to row’ to see if you even like the sport” she said. “…A lot of the time kids decide that they want to try rowing right after the season starts, so they have to wait an entire year even to try it. Just go for it, and if you do not like it, you do not have to join the team.”
Hartford believes rowing is a lifelong activity, making it the perfect sport to pick up now.
“I have learned valuable leadership and teamwork skills that could not have been found anywhere else,” she added.
Oliver is also in agreement.
“Don’t let fear hold you back,” he said. “It’s not as difficult as it looks, but there is a learning curve. Too many people try to learn how to row, feel awkward and embarrassed when they’re not perfect right away, and then stop. But remember: everyone goes through that same phase when they learn how to row. Don’t give up!”