ALTHOUGH Stratford Boat Club’s WJ17/18 squad have been off the water for more than three weeks, they are still ‘virtually’ together sharing their training programmes and ideas, writes Chris Best.
Dr Graham Collier, J17/J18 coach, mused: “This last week – the run-up to the Easter weekend – was meant to be the Easter camp at Stratford Boat Club where not only the J17/18 squad but all club juniors would have had the opportunity to hone and improve their rowing and sculling skills ready for the competitive regatta season ahead.
“However, all the squad members are in touch with each other and their coaches, swapping ideas and following their coaching plans with sessions on their ergos, strenuous outdoor cycles and floor exercises.
“We’ll be ready and in good shape when the season eventually opens, no matter how late! Our challenges and inconveniences are nothing compared to those around us who are battling and doing their jobs and bringing us care and essential services during this pandemic. Our thoughts are with them every moment.”
Home training is not just being undertaken by the club’s junior squad. Stratford’s masters sculler Kjersti Rogneflaten commented: “The River Avon at the bottom of my garden has never looked so calm and inviting as in the last three weeks so I’m looking forward to getting back into the boat when it is safe and people are well.”
Other adult members have taken their training in other ways including ‘extreme gardening’ – finally taking out that tree stump they have been tripping over for the last 15 years – and more gentle pursuits such as getting to grips with flying a remote-controlled model helicopter without breaching social isolation protocols.
Kjersti continued: “Being a single sculler, I am used to training on my own, but during this time I have got to know a lot of rowers ‘virtually’ throughout the world.
“We have even created a new club – Stuck At Home Rowing Club – which is a global club, so I have more training buddies than I ever had!
“It’s great to compare ergo scores and see the different training ‘facilities’, from garages, gardens and some even in their own swimming pool!
“On Easter Saturday I took part in a Tabata intense virtual training session with Warrington Rowing Club and competed with a colleague I know from last year’s Tyne United Summer Sculling Camps.
“We had over 50 people doing high-intensity training in our front rooms on Zoom.
“On Easter Sunday I also participated in the Gloucester Virtual Easter Regatta. There were eight men and 12 women entered of all ages with no handicap given.
“My ‘virtual’ crew won the W4x and I came third in W1x, losing by only ten metres! I also came third in the women’s category overall so I was quite chuffed by that.
“It was a really great experience and it took me the whole afternoon and a couple of glasses of wine to recover. My ‘trophy’ was an Easter egg which I awarded myself!”