Rowers off to Summer Games

Cranbrook rowing club members are heading to Nanaimo to compete against the best in the province.

The two crews from Rockies Rowing Club

The two crews from Rockies Rowing Club

Row, row, row your boat gently down the 1,000 metre course.

Four local rowers from Cranbrook will be heading down to Nanaimo to compete in the upcoming B.C. Summer Games, as athletes across the province head to Vancouver Island this week.

Zoe Chore, Katie Clark, Danielle Macdonald and Reili Savage are all representing the Kootenay zone under the guidance of coach Roberta Rodgers, who heads up the local rowing club.

All four athletes are just starting out with the rowing club and Chore has only been on the water for a couple months. This will be her second trip to the Summer Games, as she competed in athletics two years ago.

“I really enjoyed going to the Summer Games, and I thought rowing was a sport I could go for, I was the right age for it,” said Chore. “It kind of looked like a really cool sport to try anyways.”

Chore has also competed in the Winter Games as an alpine skier.

Once she connected with Rodgers, she was able to get out on the water with three other girls and learn the intricacies of the sport.

While it sounds easy on the surface, it’s very much a technical sport that requires attention to detail, according to Rodgers.

“It’s not an easy task. The cycle itself is a four-part stroke and it seems straightforward and simple, but it’s about the finesse of that stroke and making sure it stays in a flow pattern,” said Rodgers, “so there’s lots of things about rowing that when it’s done well it looks pretty stunning on the water.

“It’s all about the body’s timing, it’s about timing with blades in the water, they have to hit the water at the same time. When two people are rowing together, if the boat goes off balance, they go off course.”

The four have practiced regularly at Jim Smith Lake since May and have attended two regattas in Vernon and Calgary to experience the competition.

All four rowers are also coming in with different sport backgrounds, which has helped them with the learning process.

“They’re all athletes that come from different sports so the advantage that they have is that they have a sports skill set and the mindset,” said Rodgers. “They listen well and they’ve had some good coaching in that they’re coachable.”

Those athletic abilities translate to working on the water, even if it’s a completely new sport, said Chore.

“You have to be able to push yourself, and push yourself in practice, so when you are in a race, you’re not scared you’re going to tip or anything,” she said.