On The Water

Training kicks off this week both on and off the water and today I was out on the water at London Regatta Centre by City Airport. Although I have rowed before, this is the first time I've been out in a single scull and it's no walk in the park...

Having rowed in an 8 when I was at McGill University, Montreal, my relatively small amount of experience is only in sweep rowing (one oar) and from 14 years ago. The challenge I have at the moment is building up the technical skill in a lighter, less stable boat, and perfecting sculling technique with two oars. I imagine I have a fairly mixed audience here so this will be old news to the rowers among you but to others I'm trying to give a bit more of an insight into just how much is involved even getting on the water. It's definitely a challenge - but it felt so great to be back out on the water and throwing myself into this. Better still - I'm lucky enough to have got into this beautiful Carl Douglas racing shell! 

The first thing you realise when you get in a single is that you're still a long way from actually going anywhere. Racing shells are so narrow and lightweight (as light as 14kg) that your technique and concentration have to be fully intact. If you shift your weight or your hands (and in turn the oars), or catch your blade in the water at the wrong time, you risk taking a swim. Stepping into that boat, I was hit with a harsh realisation of just what I have got myself into - it all became very real, very quickly. I found myself hit with something like 3 parts excitement 2 parts terror, and that's exactly what this challenge is about: putting myself through the hardest training of my life to take on an endurance row which has never been done before. 

That being said, this was a great first day on the water. Much of the day was spent in a double, to work on technique in a more stable boat, and we got through a good 8km before I got into the single - can't say I made it far at all after that, but...baby steps.