Five tips for the new season
Roehampton student rower Siri Dohrn Ellefsen gives her top tips for the coming season
Originally from Norway, Siri Dohrn Ellefsen, 22, is studying psychology and counselling at Roehampton University and took up rowing in her second year at the University of Roehampton Rowing Club (URRC). Her family have all been involved in rowing in the past back in Norway, so Siri was excited to follow in the family tradition.
“I always looked at the people rowing on the Thames under the bridges, and it felt like a very iconic part of university life in the UK,” she says. “It has been challenging organising and keeping the club running as well as actually being able to train during the pandemic, but we’ve been able to have quite a few sessions that I’ve enjoyed greatly.
“We’ve also managed to get new members this year even with having to cancel a lot of sessions because of lockdowns, as well as keep existing members engaged and able to row.”
Here are her top tips for the coming season…
1 – Enjoy the learning experience
Try to take the pressure of yourself and instead enjoy the process of learning to row or brushing up on your skills.
Rowing can be difficult, both for beginners who have never tried rowing and for more experienced rowers feeling like they’re out of practice or not improving as much as when they started. However, going from maybe never having been in a rowing boat to being able to row with confidence is a wonderful and exciting experience worth enjoying. As a rower you will always keep practising and training, so it is important to enjoy the moments even though you might feel like you aren’t good enough yet.
2 – Make sure you’re familiar with safety and navigation rules and guidelines
Familiarising yourself with – and following safety and navigation rules – are necessary for your own and others’ safety when out on the water. In addition, being confident in your own abilities to navigate on the water can make rowing both a safer and more fun experience, as you won’t have to worry about forgetting safety and navigation rules while learning, pushing yourself and enjoying your time on the water.
Roehampton students on the River Thames (Photo: Mike Benson)
3 – Have fun with your fellow rowers
Being a part of a university club means having other people around you who are in the same boat (sometimes literally), so you’ll always have someone to ask for help or guidance if needed, or they might need your help. Support and push each other when needed and try to be an active member of the club both on and off the water. If you’re new to rowing, don’t be afraid to talk to the other members of the club and remember that rowing together out on the water is a great bonding experience that can help create lasting friendships with your fellow club members.
4 – Pack the proper kit
As well as the kit that you’re wearing, it’s important to have a spare set of clothes with you and a spare bag just in case. A spare pair of everything – underwear, shorts, everything – you never know, you might find yourself having an unexpected swim!
5 – Be eco-friendly and aware of the environment
Rowing is a great outdoors sport and will give you opportunity to enjoy being in a beautiful environment – but make sure you and your club help keep it this way!
Instead of using single-use plastics, take a reusable Tupperware or water bottle with you for training. Use a bucket and sponge to clean boats and biodegradable cleaning agents for boats and equipment.
Finally, cut down on car emissions by walking or cycling to your training session. If you live further away or are travelling to a regatta, then arrange to share transport with your teammates.