USRowing Breaks Records at 15th Annual National Learn to Row Day
By USRowing Staff • June 3, 2016
This year, a record-setting 124 rowing programs in 34 states will host a National Learn to Row Day event. From as far north as Anchorage, Alaska, to the sandy shores of Pensacola, Florida, rowing clubs will open their doors to participate in the 15th Annual National Learn to Row Day, which is officially Saturday, June 4.
“We are thrilled at the level of participation from our clubs,” said Director of Membership Services Susan Smith. “This year tops last year’s record-setting numbers by another 15 percent. Clubs are really gearing up to make this year’s National Learn To Row Day the best yet.”
With participation up from last year, the annual event has also seen a rise in first-time organizations, as 50 clubs hold their inaugural programs.
Sponsored by USRowing and Concept2, rowing and health clubs across the country expect participants from 12 to 90+. New rowers will benefit from instruction on water safety, a crash course on the ergometer, the opportunity to spend time on the water, and the numerous health benefits of rowing.
For Nanda van Ginkel, a masters rower with Bergen County Rowing, the benefits of rowing have gone above and beyond what she had hoped for. She attended her first National Learn to Row Day in 2015.
“My learn to row classes were so interesting and really had my brain and body working together trying to master this new skill,” said van Ginkel. “It was not hard to learn, but it did take a little effort and some determination. But then again, I was looking forward to a little challenge. We also have a great coach, which was very helpful.
“Nowadays, I tell anyone that will listen that my six a.m. rows feel like flying over water. To say it made a positive impact on my life would be an understatement. I lost close to twenty pounds and feel in better shape than I did ten years ago. Besides the physical benefits I have also felt a wonderful mental re-charge taking place when you are on the water and can enjoy nature and stunning sunrises. To be clear, I was never really a morning person, but rowing is so worth it.”
In Washington, D.C., clubs in the nation’s capital banded together to create a larger National Learn To Row Day event. Capital Rowing Club and D.C. Strokes have teamed up to double their volunteer pool and double their fun.
“Working with D.C. Strokes to host our local version of National Learn to Row Day is a nice way to remind us of who shares our river,” said Director of Capital Rowing Club Meredith Somers. “Even though we’re out on the water at the same time of day, our heads are in the boat and we’re focused on practice. After we’re done, we all dash off for work and other life responsibilities.
“The joint event is a way to interact with the people we see every day and learn a bit more about each other, all while helping newcomers get introduced to rowing. Hopefully that spirit of teamwork is tangible to the people who come out for Learn to Row Day, and it encourages them to stick around.”