Portage Lakes Rowing offering popular rowing classes
|Portage Lakes Rowing Association is offering learn-to-row classes.|
|Photo courtesy of Portage Lakes Rowing Association|
“Introduction to Rowing” is a three-hour course, explained Kathy Becks, a member of the Portage Lakes Rowing Association’s Board of Directors.
“You can choose from one of two classes on Aug. 11 from either 9 .m. to noon or noon to 3 p.m.,” she said. “In this class, we will cover technique on the rowing machines, safety information, boat terminology, proper handling of equipment and actual time rowing on the water.”
Becks said the class will teach participants the basic principles of rowing and safety on the water.
“They will actually get to row on the water the first day of class,” she said. “Rowing on the water for the first time is an awesome feeling and so much fun. That is when you really get hooked on the sport of rowing and itching to do more.”
Once participants have taken the three-hour “Introduction to Rowing” course, they are eligible to sign up for the “Learn to Row” program in the fall.
“The 13-week ‘Learn to Row’ program consists of two days each week on the water — 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and 8:30 to 10 a.m. Sundays,” Becks stated. “These will be coached classes where you will be learning proper blade technique, balance and rowing in unison. You will be rowing in eight-man shells for these classes.”
The cost of the “Introduction to Rowing” course is $50 per person.
“If you choose to continue on and take the fall ‘Learn to Row’ class,” Becks said, “your $50 will be credited towards the cost of the ‘Learn to Row’ program, which is $250.”
Becks said the classes are open to rowers of all skill levels, including newcomers.
“Anyone is invited to take the class,” she said. “We have a wide range of rowers in our club from all ages and backgrounds. We have husbands and wives that join together. One of our members loves rowing so much that she talked both her son and daughter into joining the club. We had a mother and her daughter just take our spring ‘Introduction to Rowing’ class together. We have people that have previously rowed in college or high school join the club. It is a great way to meet new people. Eventually, once the rowers become more experienced, they can choose to either row in a competitive program or a master’s program.”
Becks said the workout will not be strenuous during the first three-hour course, but the process will become more challenging during the “Learn to Row” program.
“Once participants join the 13-week fall session, the difficulty will increase as the participants start learning proper rowing techniques and begin rowing together more frequently,” she explained.
Becks said the classes will start indoors and then move outside as the lessons progress.
“We will be using indoor rowing machines to learn proper rowing technique. Then we will move on to learning how to use the actual oars and practice blade work,” she stated. “From there, we will progress to learning all of the workings of the boat and move to rowing on the water. The rowers sit on seats that roll on tracks, which allows them to use their legs to power the boats. Baggy clothes can get caught in the seat slides. Participants should wear workout clothes and tennis shoes and bring a bottle of water.”
The rowing classes are “very popular and fill up very quickly,” Becks said.
“We run the ‘Introduction to Rowing’ classes two times per year, once in the spring, usually the beginning of May, and once the beginning of August,” she said. “We are limiting each three-hour class to 12 participants so that they get more hands-on attention.”
To reserve a spot, fill out an online beginner application and waiver form at www.por tagelakesrowing.com or call 330-333-2ROW (2769). The $50 “Introduction to Rowing” fee can be paid in advance or on the first day of the class.
According to Becks, the Portage Lakes Rowing Association was founded in 2005 with limited equipment, no rowing facilities and only 12 members. The club has grown to approximately 60 members with a boathouse and rowing facilities located in Craftsman Park on Rex Lake.
“My husband, Larry, and I joined the club in May of 2009, so we are both going into our fourth year of rowing with the club and still loving it,” she said.
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