Para-Rowers Unite in London

The second National Para-Rowing Development Camp took place at the London Regatta Centre last weekend (7th/8th September), with rowers and coaches of all ages and abilities taking part in two days of seminars, workshops and on-the-water sessions.

Last year’s inaugural training camp was hailed as the biggest gathering of rowers with disabilities in British Rowing history, and the 2013 camp went one better – with close to 70 participants and a record number of first-time rowers.

“A year after the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the increase in attendees for this year’s camp clearly highlights a continuing and growing interest in Para-Rowing,” said Rowability Project Officer Katherine Morris.

“We had 17 new athletes classified over the weekend, and it was great to see so many people taking to the water for the first time.”

Attendees at the camp were split into three groups – beginners, intermediate and advanced – to participate in three very different sessions each day: a Strength and Conditioning session, a training programme or rigging seminar and an on-the-water coaching session.

On Saturday evening, attendees were given an after-dinner presentation by Lawrence Whiteley, a member of the GB Rowing Team’s Para-Rowing Development Squad. Just 12 months ago Lawrence was himself an attendee at the inaugural Para-Rowing development camp, and he provided a fascinating account of the highs and lows he has experienced in the sport since.

However, as well as providing an opportunity to develop skills and to learn from the GB Rowing Team’s top Paralympic coaches, the weekend also enabled rowers and coaches to meet other members of the Rowability community and to share their experiences and best practice.

“I had a great time,” said Laura Richardson, who travelled from Leeds Carnegie RC to take part in the camp. “The whole weekend was very educational and inspiring! I would recommend it to any coach or adaptive athlete, and definitely would go again.”

As the dust settles from another successful Para-Rowing Development Camp, the Rowability Team’s focus will now shift to the next 12 months – aiming to provide more opportunities for people with disabilities to take part in rowing.

“The next Para-Rowing events will be Bedford Small Boats Head and then the British Rowing Championships in October,” Katherine added. “We’re working hard to ensure that as many people as possible are able to experience a sport that can be so rewarding, and we look forward to seeing you all over the next 12 months!”

Our exclusive photo gallery from the 2013 National Para-Rowing Development Camp is now available on the British Rowing Facebook page.

For more information about British Rowing’s Para-Rowing programme, visit www.britishrowing.org/taking-part/rowability.

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