As the Irish senior rowing team trains hard in Varese, Italy this week in preparation for the upcoming European Championships (May 26-28), the career cycle begins for many young and upcoming athletes back home, writes Sarah Dineen.
Rowing Ireland, together with their Get Going…Get Rowing partners Dublin City Council and Waterways Ireland, held their first on-the-water Blitz at Charlotte Quay, Dublin, last week. Over 300 students from all over the country travelled to the heart of Dublin to take part in the rowing event, which ran over 250m.
This regatta is a culmination of the hard work and perseverance from 11 Get Going…Get Rowing community coaches. Many of the competing students from the five GGGR centres (Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Carlow) who took part on the day had only rowed once or twice. The event was organised in line with the Department of Education Active School’s initiative that encourages schools to get students active.
In 2016 the GGGR programme enabled 16,000 students to row on machines in a fun and active way as part of their school’s PE curriculum, assisted by funding from Dublin City Council, Sport Ireland and NUI Galway. In addition, Carlow Youth services put huge resources into the programme to run it in Carlow town and county. The programme has also gone from strength to strength in Limerick and Cork with the assistance of local sports partnerships, and in conjunction with the Active Schools Flag and Healthy Ireland.
This was the initiative’s ultimate finale: a day of fun racing, creating a clear pathway for those who enjoy the sport to camps, clubs and beyond. Speaking after the event, programme manager Michelle Carpenter said: “This event has finally given us the chance to lead these girls to the water, to camps and clubs. We are delighted Dublin City Council (Events, Sport and Well-being) together with Waterways Ireland have opened the way to showcase our programme on the waterways in the heart of the City Centre. We have already been approached by numerous girls wanting to join camps and clubs, and learn how to row.”
The GGGR programme is geared towards female secondary school students, but young male athletes who are interested in becoming involved in rowing have the opportunity to get started through Talent ID Screenings hosted by Rowing Ireland. One screening has already been held in 2017, and due to its success a second date has been announced for June 10 at the University of Limerick’s Physical Education and Sports Sciences Department.
Rowing Ireland announced in March that in partnership with the Department and the UL Beo Initiative, a Talent ID and Talent Monitoring Project would be undertaken to identify male athletes with the potential to be part of a High Performance Pathway to the U23 national squad. The search includes athletes with potential from other sports, as well as current rowers, who may have an interest in taking up rowing for the first time. Ultimately, the goal of the Talent ID and Monitoring Project is to develop athletes capable of competing at Olympic level.
Meanwhile, the annual Lee Regatta takes place on Saturday at the Marina in Cork City. This is a non-status event held over 500m, with racing from 9:30am to 6pm. Over 400 crews will participate on the stretch of water in front of the clubhouse on the River Lee. The annual Regatta is always a great family day out, hosted by Lee Rowing Club, and all visitors are welcome.
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