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Row, row, row your boat!

Ninety-five per cent. That, according to UFV rowing coach Liz Chisholm, is the percentage of her varsity rowers who barely touched an oar until university. By itself this percentage makes rowing unique among UFV varsity sports, since what other team provides the opportunity for the average student to reincarnate himself or herself as a varsity athlete?

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By Paul Esau (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: September 12, 2012

Ninety-five per cent. That, according to UFV rowing coach Liz Chisholm, is the percentage of her varsity rowers who barely touched an oar until university. By itself this percentage makes rowing unique among UFV varsity sports, since what other team provides the opportunity for the average student to reincarnate himself or herself as a varsity athlete?

This is not to say UFV has a weak rowing program. Last year Chisholm took a novice student rower named Alex Jansen and turned him into one of the top student rowers in Canada. He was part of a UFV crew that finished second only to the national Olympic men’s team at a competition last March.

This year, the team is looking for a new batch of student rowers to fill out their ranks, or even to simply come out and experience the sport. Chisholm is offering students the chance to join the “rowing club”: a month of instruction, exercise, and equipment usage culminating in an amateur rowing competition in October. Students are given the opportunity to try out the sport at their own level of ability and comfort, choosing which and how many training sessions to attend per week at the team’s practice grounds in Fort Langley.

It’s a wonderful opportunity both for students interested in an unusual recreational activity through the fall, as well as those looking to become part of the team. It’s also an easy way to become part of a community on campus.

“There is such an opportunity [in rowing] to meet others on campus,” says Chisholm, “and it’s so unique.  [Students] enjoy it so much and it forms friendships whether you end up being a varsity rower or not. We let them come back again in another year as well [to the rowing club] if all they wanted to do was have fun … we get quite a few that do that, that return for a second year.”

For those who missed last week’s meeting but are still interested in rowing, Chisholm is accepting new rowers until September 20. Training sessions are held most days from 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. at the boathouse in Fort Langley, or from 4:30 to 6:30 in the afternoon.

The cost is $200 for the sessions, equipment usage, insurance, and a t-shirt. Contact Liz Chisholm for more information about UFV rowing.

Rowing Tip: Never call your oar a “paddle”. Everyone will laugh … and you might have to do push ups.

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