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Rowing is a sport that helps achieve a total body workout. Rowing takes place in a rowing "shell" a long, narrow and very light boat holding either one, two, four or eight participants. The shells are only slightly wider than a person's shoulders and about ten inches deep and are propelled by oars on each side. In a "eights" shell, there are four oars on the each side, one for each rower. Each rower sits on a sliding seat, with their feet strapped to the boat, to exert their full force to pull the oar back and push the boat. Competitive rowers race at the pace of a four minute mile through water!
The rowing action is as follows:
- The rower reaches forward with the oar, arms fully extended
- The oar is placed in the water (the "catch")
- The rower pushes with legs first to pull the oar towards them
- The stroke is finished by pulling the oar into the chest, just below the ribs, at which time the oar is pulled out of the water
- The rower then pulls forward on the sliding seat to prepare for the next stroke
In an eight person or 4 person shell, the coxwain, steers the boat and instructs the rowers on their rowing pace.
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Rowers require basic gym equipment, shirt, shoes, and shorts. The rowing shells are provided by the rowing clubs.
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In the Toronto area, you get involved by contacting:
- Don Rowing Club of Etobicoke 905-274-1871
- Toronto Argonaut Rowing Club 416-532-2803
- Hanlan Boat Club 416-466-5880
- University of Toronto Rowing Team (at Hanlan Boat Club)
- University of Toronto Mississauga Varsity Rowing 905-569-4655
For between $120 and $150, the aspiring rower (there is also and active Adult Learn to Row program) will get a three-week program
with an hour of water training each day. Novice rowers begin in a training shell, which is more stable than the racing shells. As the rower becomes more comfortable, they are coordinated into crews for more regular rowing training. Learn-to row sessions begin in early May.
You can practice your rowing technique at many fitness clubs who have proper rowing
machines (called "ergometers").