The varsity rowing team has trained throughout the summer in preparation for their competitive racing season. For the month of September, the team races in exhibition races. The exhibition races allow newer rowers to acquire race experience.
Being a younger team, exhibition races will help athletes understand the intensity and pressure of racing. Not only are they expected to row with proper form for the full two kilometres, but also be able to change course within a couple strokes by command of the coxswain.
The coxswain is an athlete who is preferably lighter, and whose sole purpose is to be in charge of the course while critiquing technique. During competitive season, athletes train five days on the water, with six dry land sessions per week.
Workouts on the water are held at the Bedford Channel in Fort Langley. Dry land sessions consist of three days of weights, while the other workouts are either running, spin, swimming, or on the rowing machine. All of this is in preparation for Western University Championships, which will be held at the University of Victoria this year. The Canadian University Championships, which are held at the University of British Columbia, are also an important regatta for UFV. Instead of having one captain for the men’s and women’s rowing, this year the team is using a team leader system.
The team leaders for the men’s team are Stephen Wall and Mitchell Wierks. The women’s team leaders are Genelle Grubb and Michelle Olive.
This month, the team is hosting its annual Learn-to-Row program. Students are welcome to come out and try rowing. Varsity athletes will coach on and off the water at the beginning of the program. Once athletes have developed in the sport, they can choose to try out for a spot on the varsity team.
Coach Liz Chisholm said, “Not only is this a great recruiting opportunity for this late entry sport, but it also tests to see who has what it takes to row at the varsity level.” Learn-to-Row athletes will be able to test what they learned in the boat by acquiring race experience.
Their races will be at Western University Championships and Head of the Lake in Seattle, Washington.
Westerns is essentially a two kilometre sprint, whereas Head of the Lake is approximately a six kilometre course. These races will be between other novices from Simon Fraser University, as well as a few other universities.
This program is offered to any UFV student who is interested in learning about the sport while meeting new people. For those who may want to try rowing competitively or recreationally.