Camrowers thrive on friendships, fun, fitness and fresh air

Aimed at older people who want to learn to row, Camrowers Club provides a sanctuary for its 120 members, all supported by great coaching

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Fun and friendly rowing with Camrowers

Situated on the picturesque River Cam in Cambridge, Camrowers Club’s unofficial motto is fun, fitness, friendship and fresh air. The club is open to the over-50s and beyond and was launched in 2001 as a GP referral scheme for people recuperating from illness. Nearly 20 years on, the club has an active membership of 120 who are enjoying the facilities of their new boathouse, completed a couple of years ago.

But Camrowers’ success is thanks to the dedication of their coaching team.

Club committee member Lesley Noblett said: “Every new member is welcomed by a coach who will provide six one-to-one coaching sessions – more if necessary to ensure that rowers are competent and safe and that they are rowing the right boat for their capabilities.

“Most members have learnt to row with the club, or have been coached to relearn old skills.”

Karen Goldstone discovered Camrowers through the University of the Third Age and after learning to row, she decided to take it further and completed the British Rowing Level 2 coaching course.

“The course was very valuable not only for coaching knowledge but for helping with my own rowing,” she said.

Karen loves keeping fit in the open air and “the challenge of trying to improve my rowing and the opportunity to row in a double or quad or single”.

“I enjoy the challenge of coaching people with a range of aptitudes and adapting my coaching accordingly. It is very satisfying to see someone progress from a nervous beginner into a competent rower.”

Our coaches do an amazing job giving us the skills and confidence to achieve what seems impossible

With social occasions throughout the year, Camrowers also know how to enjoy themselves and the club provides a welcoming home for many of the members.

Lesley said: “We carried out a member survey a few years ago and the majority of people said that making and seeing friends was an important part of Camrower sessions. We operate year round, and in most weathers, so rowing becomes a reason for getting out of the house. Not just to row but to see friends.

“Because most of us have never rowed before, it gives you a real sense of achievement and can boost your self-confidence. One member said she saw rowing on the Olympics and thought she would love to do that, but was too old. Then she learnt, in her 70s and was so proud.

There’s no pressure, just support. Not to mention the coffee, biscuits and chat afterwards

“You see people rowing on the Cam and it seems just for youngsters. Then you discover this club that specialises in teaching old people to row.

“Our coaches do an amazing job giving us the skills and confidence to achieve what seems impossible. And then you find it’s a club where everyone is so friendly and everyone helps each other. I think the fact that we are not competitive is part of it. There’s no pressure, just support. Not to mention the coffee, biscuits and chat afterwards.”

If you’d like to try coaching then British Rowing can help support your development. Check out our courses here.

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