British Rowing launches ‘Down My Club’ video series to celebrate our clubs

A new video series will showcase different rowing clubs around the country, spotlighting what makes each community so special

In a new series called ‘Down My Club’, British Rowing will be sharing the experiences of athletes, coaches and volunteers from a range of clubs up and down the country, in a series of videos over the next few months.

Look out for stories from #DownMyClub on our social channels as members of the rowing community share their passion for our sport.

Meet the London Otters

With Pride Month a focus in June, the first club we celebrate in our series is the London Otters Rowing Club – an LGBTQ+ inclusive club based at London’s Royal Docks.

Co-founded by Grant “Ralphie” Ralph, the club prides itself on welcoming everyone and teaching anyone to row – it’s about having fun, getting fit and being part of a supportive community.

Ralphie says: “We probably have a secret recipe in terms of making the sport available to everybody and letting people know that you can be any size, any height, any age – and we’ll be able to teach you to row. We’ll get you excited to row as well – it’s about being passionate.”

“I saw the club at Pride in 2019 and I thought, ‘I want to be in that gang!’”

Since being founded in 2014, the Otters have grown to more than 150 members with about 1,500 would-be rowers currently on their waiting list. Their women’s squad is quickly expanding too, with the club entering its first ever women’s crew in the Women’s Eights Head of the River earlier this year.

Emma Gant says: “No one has been more welcoming or hilarious than the London Otters to take up a new sport as a woman.”

The club is entering its first ever men’s crew for the Henley Royal qualifiers this season, demonstrating the breadth of racing on offer.

But back to Pride and in 2019 the Otters won ‘Best Float’ in the London Pride Parade awards.

Joint social secretary Felix Briant recalls: “I saw the club at Pride in 2019 and I thought, ‘I want to be in that gang! With these people on this water, in this onesie.’ Later that year I joined, and it was everything I thought it would be.

“It’s a family community.”

Fellow social secretary Martyn Harrod agrees, reflecting: “Since joining four years ago, it’s completely changed my life. I love this club.”

#DownMyClub – what’s next

Next up we’ll be featuring the Isle of Ely Rowing Club, situated on the bucolic Great River Ouse where cows gather by the water to quench their thirst as the Ely crews paddle by. We’ll also pay a visit to Lea Rowing Club, a welcome oasis within the bustling London neighbourhoods of Clapton and Hackney. Our future features include Birmingham and Bristol Ariel Rowing Clubs, plus we’ll be spotlighting a coastal club to celebrate the World Rowing Coastal Championships in October, with more club stories from around the country to follow. All #DownMyClub episodes can be found here.

Look out for our #DownMyClub series across our social channels – and let us know what makes your own club special by tagging #DownMyClub and @britishrowing on social media!

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