Here is a recent Q&A with novice rower, James, who just joined our Freedom Rows: Delta Heroes team, a program formed by active duty US Military and veterans with disabilities. James rowed with us during the summer for several months but because he works an 8pm to 3am shift in Lathrop and lives in Tracy, he eventually had to interrupt his sculling lessons with us. He later rejoined our team for some fabulous indoor rowing. Please read on . . .
“I'm part of the team now!!! This is going to be super fun!”
Throughout the year, Delta Sculling Center remains active in San Joaquin County. Whether at community fairs or hosting Sample Sculling sessions out on the Delta waterways, our goal is to make the sport of sculling accessible to everyBODY. We are able to adapt our boats and instruction to accommodate any physical or cognitive challenge one may face. Our adaptive rowers find “the run of the boat” with just as much ease and comfort as those that are able-bodied.
Our hearts are filled with joy every time we meet with a novice sculler, one who experiences rowing on the water for the first time. We get the opportunity to CONNECT! And in rowing, “connection” is everywhere. The biggest and best is, of course, connecting with one another. But there are metaphors for connecting throughout the most elemental parts of rowing. All the time we are in our sculls, we are thinking about the connection of our feet with the foot stretchers, our hands with our oar handles, our bottom with the seat, our blades as they drop in the water and the connection that is created as we drive the boat past where our blades lock onto the water. Connection is everywhere in our sport!
That’s why when one of our new athletes decides to take the leap and join our center, we get super excited! James is one of our novice scullers at Delta Sculling Center. Right before spring, James took on the World Erg Challenge, an indoor row competition hosted by Concept2. In just 30 days, James clocked in at 220,069 meters on his erg (indoor row machine) and took the bronze medal on our team! That is nearly 137 miles rowed in one month…not bad for ANY rower let alone a total novice!!
Here’s a few thoughts from James, who just caught the “rowing bug” as we like to call it. We cannot wait to see James and all of our DSC athletes back at our boathouse at RiverPoint Landing Marina soon!
DSC: James, how did you start your indoor row training this year?
James: I had a great experience at The Row House Gym. The instructor told me I had great technique, thanks to the instruction I received from DSC so far. I was so proud to hear that! This was what sparked me to buy an erg. Maybe one day I'll be a Row House franchise owner. I know it'll do well because people are now realizing how good rowing is for the body.
DSC: Concept2 hosts an indoor rowing challenge each year. You’ve been such a huge part of our World Erg Challenge team, Team Delta. Wish we could have ranked a little higher on the team leader board!
James: Winning comes in different forms. Being on Team Delta is a win for me! I was on a soccer team once where most of the team smoked marijuana and drank beer before, during and after the game and didn't care if they won or lost. That's a losing team. This team is doing the best they can. The win for me is that I am learning and getting stronger. I'm sure if we weren't so nice, we would limit the number of spaces and instruct the rowers in how much they need to do to be in the top 5.
Anyway, I'm going to try and do the best I can to get some big numbers for the team for the challenge. I'm having a great time doing this, and I'm really enjoying this new world I am in!
DSC: How do you feel about the 220,000+ meters you accomplished in 30 days?
James: When I finally saw all of the rowers and teams on the Concept2 website, I felt this immense motivation to row my a*# off! So, if my calculations are correct, had I not been so slow to realize what I had to do to set up the challenge on my computer, I could’ve ended up with at least 420,00 meters.
DSC: How has your on-water practice helped with your land rowing?
James: On land, I gave full effort in trying to stick to the technique you taught me. I feel that I was able to row longer on land at higher watts when I incorporated them. In the last week and a half, I have seen improvements in my mental state and fitness.
DSC: What do you think you still need to work on?
James: Currently (and probably forever), I am working on technique and form. I would like to get to a point where it would be hard for me to deviate from good form. I think I am pretty close considering how long it takes me to understand new things. After that, I can concentrate on time, power and stamina. The club’s mission, the vibe, and the people are all great, so I’d like to stay involved.
DSC: Where do you see rowing fitting in to your life from here on out?
James: I honestly think this is the tip of the iceberg. My mind has been going crazy in wanting to go to the next level. I know that I am new, but I do want to compete, I just don’t know how to go about it. Also, I know that I am still dialing in technique and form, but I definitely want more!
All of this is making me feel that saying thank you is not enough to describe my appreciation of what you have done for me. I love rowing. The people, the challenge, the fitness, the beauty, the suffering… everything associated with rowing. I can’t wait to experience the next level. Thank you, Pat. Thank you, DSC!
Thank YOU, James! Rowing is for everyBODY, and we are SO thrilled that you have found a passion in the sport that we all hold so dear to our hearts! Next time, we’ll see you on the water!