GDRA’s Discover Rowing Day on Saturday, May 11, was a success! We had an excellent turnout, welcoming 27 visitors who were eager to learn more about rowing. A committee led by Linda Clemens, our Recruiting Director, organized our volunteers and made sure that we had plenty of experienced rowers available to coach and assist visitors. Several of our rowers commented that they enjoyed helping and were glad to have had the opportunity to take part in the event.
With so many volunteers available to row team boats, our visitors could choose between sweep and sculling. Some enjoyed their first experience of rowing so much that they wanted to do both. There were plenty of smiles and cheerful remarks. The event began by taking the Millennium 8+ out on the water, letting visitors feel the power of a big sweep boat.
Sculling was popular too—we had three quads on the river at the same time. The day started out a bit chilly, but it soon warmed up as the sun came out in a lovely blue sky, giving us perfect weather for the event.
Our visitors had so much fun that several of them signed up over the weekend to take Learn-to-Row classes. In fact, we had to increase the size of the upcoming class to accommodate the large number of people interested in enrolling. Fantastic! Many thanks to our organizing committee and all the volunteers.
Mark Wilson from All-American Rowing Camp visited GDRA last weekend to coach our rowers in morning and afternoon sessions from Friday, May 3 through Sunday, May 5. Although we had some concerns about rainy weather in the forecast, all went well because the river did not rise as high as predicted, and the water was beautifully smooth.
Each session consisted of two coached rows, with breaks in between to watch and discuss video. Having an opportunity to improve our skills with the help of a professional coach, just in time for the sprint race season, was very helpful. As a bonus, the weather was gorgeous on Sunday, with a brilliant blue sky.
Janice Hill volunteered to organize the lunch and snacks, along with coffee and yummy hot chocolate, which were much appreciated—many thanks, Jan! The first two days, we all went out to dinner as a group, enjoying some social fun after a very productive camp.
Several GDRA members went on a “spring break” trip April 12-16, 2019, and enjoyed rowing on the Melton Lake course maintained by the Oak Ridge Rowing Association. This high-quality course, located on the scenic Clinch River in the Knoxville area, regularly hosts many regattas that include championship events. With six docks in a sheltered lagoon, launching and recovering boats is quick and easy.
During the sprint race season, the Melton Lake course is fully buoyed with seven lanes, giving our spring break rowers an excellent opportunity for sprint practice. A convenient parking area for boat trailers is provided next to the docks, making it easy for GDRA to bring boats to the venue so that our members can enjoy rowing their favorite boats.
A well-maintained bike path that runs directly past the docks provided more opportunities for outdoor fun. The weather was great, and we all had a wonderful time visiting Oak Ridge. Spring break in Tennessee is becoming a GDRA tradition!