Tapping into the strength of the community

We’ve all been there. You can feel the heat on your neck, the warm wind kicking up dust and rippling the surface of the water. Crowds gather in the heat, swarming and buzzing and anxiously waiting to see who’ll cross the line first.

It’s summer rowing. 

It’s hot, it’s hectic, it’s irreplaceable. When the pressure to compete for your club, build speed and remain (relatively) unburnt gets too high, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Whether you’re a novice, a high school or college rower looking to stay in form, or a seasoned veteran, it can be easy to fall victim to the routine and lose sight of the bigger picture. In truth, summer rowing brings athletes from all over the world together in a way that few other sports are able to, and can create bonds that transcend club rivalries and country borders.  

While massive international regattas like Henley and the World Cup series draw the top crews on the world stage, if you’re looking to trade stories (and maybe a few unisuits along the way) you don’t have to look any further than your local club.

Though a 2000 meter race may be all business, crews tend to take a more casual approach to the off-water scene. Barbecues, cookouts, and even the occasional summer gala have rowers marking their calendars and reaching for their best rowing clothing.

At many clubs, it wouldn’t be a stretch to spot ex-national team athletes sharing the water with novices and masters. While this mix may seem frustrating to the more weathered rower, ultimately this exchange is how rowing culture, tradition, and values are passed down. 

Though summer rowing could be marked by crowded rivers, sunburns, and long regatta days, a change in mindset can lead to a more enriching and exciting summer both on and off the water. 

Take time to remember the magic moments that make summer rowing what it is; an incredible time to hone skills, spend time on the water, and ultimately forge bonds that can last a lifetime. 

August 14, 2019 — Jon Mabie

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