Do you fancy having a go at rowing? Penarth Rowing Club are looking for more female members to join their club. They took a new step this week as they held their first women-only open day, with aims to have a female only training course in the near future.
The club hosted the open evening on Tuesday night and the aim of the night was to recruit more women into the sport. The evening was part of the Vale of Glamorgan council’s campaign “March on Girls”, which aims to increase the number of women and girls involved in sport.
The open evening began at 6.30pm at the Yacht Club, situated on Penarth promenade. Around 15 people turned up, eager to learn more about rowing. In the boathouse, the ground floor of the yacht club, Andrew Zacharias, captain of the rowing club, began the introductions by explaining the new initiative.
He said: “The aim of tonight is to show you what we do and our facilities and get some of you having a go on rowing machines.”
The prospective women members were shown the facilities the club had to offer including the female changing room the snooker room and the Yacht Club bar.
The bar, a highly praised aspect of becoming a member, was expectedly nautical and guaranteed the best views of the sea in Penarth. After the grand tour, enthusiastic potentials got to try out the ergos, the nickname for indoor rowing machines.
Members of the current rowing team were on hand to instruct. Mr Zacharias, who has been rowing for over a year, emphasised that an introduction to rowing course could be used get fit, have fun and find a new hobby.
He said: “This is designed to give an introduction to rowing and sport and unfortunately fitness, which is the hard bit!”
The Penarth club is one of the oldest rowing clubs in Wales, currently in its 135th year. In 2014 the club had the sweet taste of success, as rowers Gabe Ackerman and Jack Davies won the Double Skulls category at the Head of the Taff.
The clubs Novice Mens 4+ group also won at the Autumn Head against Llandaff group. The club has recently begun renovating the boat house where they train and store boats.
The developments have been able to go ahead thanks to the rowing club members and volunteers. Emily Scaglioni, interested in joining the club, said:
“This is a chance to get fit with a fun activity which is also outdoors. You get to make the most of the area.”
Natalie Woodhall, a MPCT skills academy instructor in Cardiff, said: “I have just moved to the area and wanted to try a new sport, I fancied rowing, googled it and this came up. I have done some rowing before at university but I really want to get into it.”
A member of the rowing club, Jack Davies, who also competes in competitions said: “I have been doing this for four years now. I started going it to get fit but I actually got good at it!”
The club currently run sessions for girls aged 14-18 but have noticed the interest for a women’s’ team. The club also run training for four categories: juniors, students, seniors and veterans.
Mr Zacharias said:
“This is all about people coming and having some fun. My criticism of some sports teams is that it can be very elite focused, which in my eyes is wrong, you should have fun first.”
In sport many women wanting to take part can get put off by training with men. Mr Zacharias realised this was an issue and began the move towards a women’s team. He said: “I want our female members to feel they are in a comfortable environment when they are training.”
The rowing club launched a similar introductory course in January; “New Year’s Row Solution”, which ran for seven weeks and cost £35. The club is aiming to put on a similar style course for women members that are interested.
The club row on the seafront in Penarth and are based in the Yacht Club. They also have a base in Grangetown so they can row on the Taff River in Cardiff. Mr Davies revealed he prefers rowing on the river, especially during rugby days as it’s “the best way to experience the atmosphere.”
Details of length and price of the all-women’s course are to be set soon, and they say they are flexible about when the class will be held. If you’re interested the club recommend following them on their Facebook page or contacting them directly.
Mr Zacharias, who has been changing things in the club since his appointment really encourages people of all abilities to join the club. He said:
“This is a friendly and sociable environment. We tailor the training to the individual and help each other. This sport needs to be pushed as it is fun and a great experience.”