We’ve entered a team of brave UniRec staff into the Gallagher Great Race Corporate Rowing Challenge, set to take place on the Waikato River next month.
Craig, our resident marketing guy and first-time rower, is going to keep us in the loop with ‘behind the scenes’ action as the UniRec crew builds up to race day on Saturday 12th September.
Keep an eye on our Facebook page for weekly updates, videos and pics. Check out his first update below.
Heading into our first weekend of training, it was difficult to shake the image of Erin being flung from the boat during last year’s event (sorry to mention it Ezza). Having never rowed before, it seemed like the potential of me going for a swim was pretty high and that made me nervous.
Upon arriving at the club, a few of my team mates looked equally concerned. Tamaki and Cory (both rowing newbies) seemed edgy and Nicola was less talkative than usual…
We met Sam, our young but enthusiastic coach, and headed to the ergs to practice some basic technique. After what seemed like nowhere near enough time practising, Sam pipes up with “OK team, we’ll get you on the water eh?” My first reaction was to think “Is he taking the p***?” But I tried to reassure myself that ‘Coach knows best’.
Our first experience on the water was a little shaky - literally. Balance was an issue and we were finding it hard to stay in sync (even though only a few of us were rowing at any given time). After half-an-hour of cold, uncomfortable wobbling, we reached dry land and I was stoked not to have fallen in. I was however questioning the reasons why I volunteered to take part in this event…
Heading into our second session on Sunday morning, I wasn’t feeling particularly enthusiastic. Sundays are usually reserved for relaxing with the missus – not highlighting what an appalling athlete I am whilst playing river-swim roulette. However, this time was different. Things were a little better. The sun was shining, the team was in good spirits and after a few attempts up and down the river, we were starting to show improvements.
After an hour of practicing in fours whilst the others kept balance (think riding a bike with stabilisers on), we tried rowing as a six. It went pretty well. There were a few shaky moments but that was to be expected given it was only our second time on the water. Upon seeing this progress, Sam declared it was time to have a go as an eight (in my mind, this was another “Is he taking the p***?” moment). But again, ‘Coach knows best’. We rowed as an eight and actually managed to stay in the boat. It didn’t look pretty and consisted of a number of cheek-clenching moments - but we did it.
Feeling a genuine sense of accomplishment, we reached the bank, put the boat away and headed for the ergs where we were challenged to do a 300m sprint to finish the session. Heading into the sprint, all I wanted to do was beat James Campbell (I HATE losing to James Campbell). Thankfully, I smashed him, which was an awesome way to end the morning.
The Sunday session has left me feeling positive and I’m looking forward to getting back on the water and making some more progress with my wonderful teammates.
this year's crew: JTR (Team Captain), Cory, Craig, James, Tamaki, Jolie, Tanya, Nicola and Jack