Keeping warm on the lake

August 05, 2017

In good Nick: Nick Waller rows on the lake during one of Shepparton Rowing Club's winter training sessions.

Oarsome foursome: Shepparton Rowing Club members warm up during winter training. Pictured (from left to right) is Lydia Todd, Hayley Tidd, Stella Cranefield and Samantha Michenton.

Dynamic duo: Shepparton Rowing Club stalwart Tom Schier (front) and new member Toby Crichton will form a strong combination this season.

There is no substitute for hard work.

It is an adage the Shepparton Rowing Club embraces completely.

After an increased winter training program last year led the local club to its most successful season ever on the water, members are doubling down ahead of the new campaign.

‘‘We’ve been doing a bit of winter training, most of the guys have been doing a fair bit of long distance work on the ergometers,’’ president and head coach David Schier said.

‘‘We’ve even had rowing on the water when it was -3°C one day and we actually had 12 rowers out that day which was surprising, but it just demonstrated not only their commitment but the need to continue that sort of program.’’

Fellow coach Michele Cranefield, who mostly looks after the female junior rowers, agreed.

‘‘Training over the winter sets you up for the commencement of the new season and the rowers just go into the season better prepared,’’ she said.

‘‘We saw the results last year as we persevered with training in winter and then started the season, the rowers were ready to go and they fired quickly.

‘‘Whereas if you have that break, it takes you that four to six-week period to actually fire again and then by that time you’re half-way through the season and you just don’t get the results.’’

John Darbyshire completes the coaching trio, nurturing the junior male competitors at the club.

As is the case for many country organisations, the club has been decimated by the annual migration of many of its stars to the city for education, but Schier is hopeful his charges can recover quickly.

‘‘It will be a building year, the cycle we’ve had in the past is that you have success and then you have two years to build and then you have success again in the third year,’’ he said.

‘‘That’s basically the formula that’s seemingly appropriate for this club because of the fact that we lose the best rowers, it’s a good thing of course that they go on to educational institutions, but you have to spend the next period building.

‘‘That’s the story of a country rowing club I’m afraid.’’

Along with its own winter training, the club is also involved in the North East Higher Performance Program with former Great Britain olympic rowing representative Richard Hamilton.

‘‘It’s held at different clubs, mainly Nagambie, but that’s a day where we spend doing ergometer testing and we also spend a fair bit of time on the water with him doing technical work,’’ Schier said.

‘‘We’ll also, as a part of that program, be competing in the Australian Indoor Rowing Championships in November.’’

With the season fast approaching, Schier encouraged athletes from all sports to try their hand on the water.

‘‘We always need to recruit, so we’ll have a recruiting day here in late September,’’ he said.

‘‘We hope to build up the numbers and get back to having significant crews to boat when the season gets under way.

‘‘Quite a few people still involve themselves in winter sports and we want them to think about what happens after September.’’

Cranfield also highlighted rowing’s unique appeal.

‘‘The sport is so versatile, you don’t have to be necessarily a certain build or anything to do rowing,’’ she said.

‘‘Because it’s a non-contact sport you don’t necessarily suffer the injuries that you may get with other sports and I think the whole regatta feeling, going away to regattas and spending time together and meeting other rowers and other clubs and that sort of thing is great.

‘‘It’s probably a very underrated sport in Australia, probably the knowledge of us and the presence of us here (on the lake) is not widely known, but we’ve had to manage that with a start-up club.’’

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