UFV’s rowing program is hard work with a high payoff

By Nathan Hutton (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: February 18, 2015

The beginning of February means buckling down for the winter semester for many UFV students. For the UFV rowing team, it means that they are less than a month away from their home regatta on March 7 and the beginning of the spring season. Varsity rower Riley Dueck shares his thoughts on the rowing program to shed some light on UFV’s mysterious water sport.

What got you into rowing?

I was playing competitive volleyball through high school and I thought that that was what I really wanted to do. [But] through grades 11 and 12, volleyball really changed — it just didn’t happen [to give me] what I wanted out of it, and I realized it definitely wasn’t a part of my future.

I thought about rowing as an option and it became a reality. I knew UFV was the school I wanted to go to, I had what I wanted to study … it also just so happened to have this cool rowing program. I thought, “Oh, I might as well join.”

It was something that you don’t get to do every day. It’s an experience that is almost exclusive — not every school in the world has a rowing program, and not everyone has the chance to try the sport.

Why is rowing not as well-known as other varsity sports?

I think a huge reason people don’t know we have a rowing team is because we can’t row in the Abbotsford gym at UFV. Our location is in Fort Langley.

Another reason people don’t know who we are [is that] we have two races a semester. Both we had last semester were far away; one was in Calgary and the other [was in] Seattle. Sometimes there will be a race at Burnaby Lake or something. So I’d say that those are probably the two biggest reasons.

[pullquote]“It is really a sport where the effort that gets put in is really the reward that comes out. It is more than a great workout. It’s temporary, excruciating pain for long-term gain and reward.”[/pullquote]

[It’s not that] we aren’t popular but [that we’re] not known. There is the occasional person who does know about our novice program. We want to make sure that everybody knows that they can try it. It is called “Learn to Row.” We are taught by the varsity athletes and get to know other athletes and people. That is how I started, through the novice program, and you get integrated into being a varsity athlete.

Basketball, volleyball, and soccer are like your classic go-to university teams. [But] I think what appeals to me about the sport [is] it is such a cool experience and you don’t get to try it every day.

What would you want students to know about rowing at UFV?

The learning curve is high but it is hard work. It is really a sport where the effort that gets put in is really the reward that comes out. It is more than a great workout. It’s temporary, excruciating pain for long-term gain and reward.

That is another reason I like it so much — not necessarily for the push, but for the team aspect. The effort and hard work that goes into it is huge. You go through so much with your team. I am thinking back to our winter training session. Week after week you’re going through hard workouts; you’re pushing yourself to the limit almost every time you go on the rowing machine. [So] you go through a lot with these people and it brings you together.

Is there anything else you would want people to know about rowing?

Anybody that has the smallest lick of time and thinks a new sport would be kind of cool, they should absolutely look into our rowing program. It is not necessarily the biggest thing in the world, when you look at UBC’s novice program where they have hundreds of people and end up cutting a tonne. Our [team] is smaller, the coaching is one-on-one, and we really get to build good athletes out of specific people.