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  • Writer's pictureCity Of Sheffield

Training Camp 2023: Royal Chester

This year’s training camp saw City of Sheffield Rowing Club take a weekend trip to Chester to enjoy some good training and coaching on the beautiful River Dee.

We had a significant number of first-timers at training camp this year. In particular, many of our novices from last year, who have graduated as senior rowers at the beginning of this year attended their first CSRC training camp in April 2023.

One of our newly-graduated novices, Judi, has entered our Recreational Squad and has written about her experience at her first CSRC training camp. Judi’s story is described below.

I was so very excited to be going to an actual real training weekend with the “real” rowers! We arrived on the Friday evening and quickly bumped into other club members who were very welcoming at the picturesque youth hostel.

We woke up bright and very early for out first session on the water at 7.30am, following a quick but informative safety briefing from our Captain Cat.

Everything was different to our usual Reservoir-rowing, including:

  • Not in Dora (Explorer boat) but a fine boat

  • Different cox

  • Different direction of launching

  • On a river

  • Tidal times to consider

  • Lots more people!

This could have been daunting but everyone was so helpful, both from City of Sheffield RC and Royal Chester RC. In addition, our cox was very experienced and had previously spent many years coxing on rivers, so we felt very safe and soon were out in a coxed quad.

We rowed in different crew combinations over the course of the weekend. Although some of us knew each other, rowing together was new, and it was fun to experience other people’s rowing styles. We did relax into it and really got a good rhythm going – at times! My second outing was in an 8 (sweep rowing) which was exciting but slightly unbalanced. However, the experienced cox got us rowing in fours, gave us some very helpful feedback and coaching, and we

had a fun outing and really felt an improvement towards the end. My final 4+ of the Saturday was the best yet and I am thoroughly cured of my fear of unbalanced fine boats.

A dinner had been arranged by the women’s squad leader for the Saturday evening at a local pub, and the food was great. After a full day of rowing, we were ready for a good meal, and it did not disappoint! We then all headed back to the Youth Hostel to get some sleep before an early rise for the Sunday sessions.

We had Ergs on Sunday morning and this was a completely new experience for some of us newly-graduated novices who have entered the Recreational squad. We were very lucky to have some useful instructions and individual coaching from one of our very experienced and knowledgeable coaches. Maybe I’ll even attend training on the Ergs next winter!

Two more water sessions followed our morning Erg session, including some very exciting race starts – my personal favourite. We were also followed for some time by coaches on the launch, where we were given some feedback, and filmed by some of our ‘film crew’. In between the last two sessions we settled down for some lunch in the common room and feedback on the video recordings. The videos were shown on a large TV in the Chester social room and our coaches gave some excellent feedback, whilst also pointing out the things that we were doing well.

I learnt a great deal at my first training camp, from our coxes, coaches, and other crew members. Some of these things include:

  • What real hunger is, gazing longingly as the buffet was set up

  • How to move my feet position more easily

  • How to rig and de-rig a boat

  • How valuable and helpful experienced rowers are

  • How everyone has good and not so good outings

  • How to improve the balance of a boat

On behalf of all the other recently-graduated novices, I wish to extend a special thanks to the organisers, caterers, coaches, coxes and my fellow rowers. I look forward to next year’s training camp!

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