Row Row Row for Heart!

Once upon a time, I had a cross training coach for synchro who told me I needed to try kayaking. This man had a huge impact on my life at the time, so I decided to listen to him! I took a recreational kayaking class Port Credit.  That’s where my kayaking career ended though, outside of the occasional paddle at a friend’s cottage lol. Cue freshman year. I didn’t make the water polo team at Mac, and while I still had synchro, pool time was limited and I wanted something else. The following year I tried out for the rowing team knowing absolutely nothing about rowing, but having Coach Ken’s voice in the back of my head.  Yes, yes, I realize now that rowing and kayaking are nothing alike, but at the time I just saw boats and paddles and figured they couldn’t be that far off! Naïve. I know.

My first rowing team! #goMacgo

There was a mass tryout held out front of the Ivor Wynne Centre for rookie rowers. We were given a brief lesson on how to use an erg, and then just hoped on them in heats and went for it!  There were A LOT of girls at the tryout and I was pretty nervous about my odds. We had rowing team members hanging over our shoulder the whole time reading a monitor that was absolute jibberish to me.  When I finished however, I knew the jibberish must’ve read in my favour because I had multiple members of the rowing team standing around me.

I rowed for McMaster for a few seasons until the demands of rowing started to conflict with the demands of synchro. I had to make a choice.

Race day with my first Row for Heart team “The Rowing Stones”

I picked up rowing again when I learned about the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s summer Row for Heart program shortly after I lost my Dad to a heart attack in April of 2009. I have only missed one season since then and I’m gearing up for the 2013 Row for Heart regatta on Saturday!

Docking the boat with my current team “PerfOARmance High Speed”

My Dad loved that I rowed. He was happy that I was a swimmer too, but I’m pretty sure there is a limit to how excited dads can get about synchro lol.  When I made the team he gave me the money to buy my the club’s optional “McMaster Crew” jacket because he was proud of me.

I row every summer because I still want to be connected to the sport of rowing, and because I want to pay tribute to my Dad by supporting the research of the Heart and Stroke Foundation.  He was taken far too soon, but hopefully advances in cardio research, and more access to educational tools, can prevent it from happening to others.

Should the waves move you, please feel free to drop by my personal donation page.  If you’re in the Hamilton area on Saturday, drop by Leander Boat Club any time between 7:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. for the Row for Heart regatta!


2 thoughts on “Row Row Row for Heart!

    1. There are tonnes of opportunities for “mature” people lol.

      The Row For Heart program runs every summer for 8 weeks, and then the regatta is our big celebration at the end. There are always people who have never stepped foot in a boat. All of the crews have their very own coach who work with everyone on technique development. We had 4 brand new rowers on our crew this year and there were even more than that on other crews. You wouldn’t be the only newbie in the crowd! 😉 There’s definitely a huge variety of ages as well. I was the youngest on my team this year and the majority of the other rowers are older than I am too. With it just being an 8-week program, it’s a good opportunity to test the water (no pun intended!) and see if you like it! Here’s a bit more info with contact information for next year:

      Leander also offers “Learn to Row” classes as well. I’ve never participated in those, but it could be something for you to look into as well!!

      If you think you might be interested in the Row for Heart program, let me know! Registration usually starts in January and if we have a spot to fill on our team, I’d be happy to give our captain your contact info! Rowing’s an awesome sport and it’s really nice to be out on the water after a crazy day at work – so relaxing!

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