Rowing in whitecaps
Despite valiant efforts to keep the University of Regina rowing club afloat, it remains stuck in rocky water.
Robert Blake, a second-year science student at the U of R, took over the coaching duties for the club last year with the hopes of expanding its membership and turning the club into something the school could be proud of.
While some significant strides were made, the future of the club is still uncertain, a frustrating problem that the school has continuously been dealing with for the past decade.
“Right now we are kind of at a stand-still,” Blake said. “Over the spring we had a few people who were rowing but it didn’t necessarily transition because of summer work and things like that, but there is still interest.”
Last year, Blake admitted that he was setting a rather unrealistic goal when he said he wanted 18 people involved. While he didn’t quite reach that mark, he was able to recruit a handful of students.
“I had 10 people, so not too bad. Not many of them were on the water which would have been awesome,” he explained. “[This year] my biggest goal in terms of numbers, I would change it from just getting 18 people, down to having people interested in the sport and having a nice transition from the gym to the water. I would really like to get five people [on the water].”
Blake didn’t have to go far in order to track down people he thought might be interested in the sport, all it took was a trip to the gym.
“It wasn’t necessarily hard to get the ten people,” he said. “There are always people on the [rowing] machines in the gym so it only takes a second for me to say ‘hey, do you like what your doing? Would you like to be on the water?’ In that regard, if they are there and they are already putting the time in it is very easy to get them to refocus and work on their technique.”
“It’s something that I am definitely passionate about and would definitely like to promote.” – Robert Blake
While most members of other campus clubs have some experience in their respective sports, Blake admits that his new rowers were fairly green.
“None of them had [experience rowing],” he said. “They had never been on the water before.”
Although the progress of the club seems to be moving at a slower pace than Blake would like, he is still going to strive to make the U of R rowing club a success.
“It’s something that I am definitely passionate about and would definitely like to promote,” he said. “I would like to promote the sport through [the Regina Rowing Club] as well. Definitely if we were able to work out sort of an athlete coaches system, it would be nice to have an athlete around the gym to get people interested.
“One of our main selling points is the fact that you can row in the gym. Sometimes people are looking for a regiment to follow and it is a very good workout.”
Blake is also hoping that a recent announcement will provide more attention to rowing in Regina.
“A cheque was given for $100,000 to build a half-million-dollar finish tower [on Pine Island in Wascana Lake],” Blake said. “It’s very exciting because we have a lot of potential here. Having the finish tower will make our course a world-class venue, you can do photo finishes and all that sort of stuff; it’s a big project.
“The project brings more attention to the sport and also a realization of what we can offer people here in the city, at the university, as well as internationally. Once the news gets out and people start seeing the five story tower on Pine Island, it will be a very good thing for the club.”
For further information on the rowing club, contact firstname.lastname@example.org