Monday, 1 February, 2016 - 12:16

Rowing: thrown in at the deep end!

by KatieJ

I first took an interest in rowing when watching Katherine Grainger at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The British team topped the rowing medal table with 4 golds and 9 medals in total. So when I had the chance to try it at university I couldn't say no! Last summer, before moving abroad, I competed in one last competition. WEHoRR (Women's Eights Head of the River Race) takes place in London every year and is for crews of eight women. About 300 crews take part so the atmosphere is amazing. Who won the year I took part? A British squad composite crew, including no-one other than Katherine Grainger!

Not only can I say that I rowed in the same race as Katherine Grainger, but also that in 2015 I rowed in three different countries. I moved to Austria last summer to work as a translator and joined the local rowing club, mostly so I could practise my German with the other rowers. Right from the word go, I put my German into practice, shouting out the commands, "into position, ready, go!" and the other rowers were keen to help me learn the new vocabulary.

After a fun summer of rowing on the Mur in Austria, I moved to France to work as a language assistant. Luckily, my town has a river running all the way around it - perfect for rowing! At my new club I was thrown in at the deep end and instructed to row in a single. It was the first time I had been in a boat on my own and I was surprised at how nervous I was. But all went well and I started to improve, until one particularly cold day. On perhaps my fifth outing in a single, I only managed about twenty strokes before falling rather spectacularly into the very cold river Doubs. Again my language skills were put to the test, as other rowers shouted instructions at me, this time in French. After about five minutes of flailing around, I managed to turn the boat over. Shortly after the coaches arrived in a boat to help me get back into my single. That's right, no warm shower and cup of tea for me, I was told to carry on rowing! Fingers crossed that was my one and only involuntary dip!

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