These are very exciting times if you are an international rower, with the 2016 Rio Olympics now merely a matter of months away. Competing at an Olympic Games is the pinnacle for any rower, an Olympic medal being the sport’s ultimate prize. Australia have won a fair few of those down the years, 37 to be exact, and will be expecting that total to be added to in Brazil this summer. The world will get another chance to see the depth of talent that the country has in the sport through a crew including the likes of Sally Kehoe, Chris Morgan and David Watts. As a consequence yet more young, aspiring rowers will be given an added motivation to head Down Under to further their careers in the boat or even be inspired to pick up an oar and get on the water for the first time.
Indeed, there are few nations on the planet with such a long and proud history in rowing as Australia. The passion for rowing, and the appeal it subsequently has for athletes of all ages and abilities, simply cannot be understated. As a nation, Australia has over 60,000 people currently participating in the sport, with 25,000 active club members from school right up to masters age groups. At all levels there are over 90 different rowing clubs alone in the states of Queensland and Victoria. Rowing is not just popular in Australia. It is ingrained into its national sporting heritage.
So what puts rowing clubs in Australia amongst the very best on the planet? In a nutshell they are sizeable and accommodate men and women of all standards via a number of different streams. For example, ‘elite streams’ are focused on producing the next crop of world-class rowers, training one to two times a day five to six days a week, whilst ‘club streams’ comprise of rowers of all abilities and partake mainly in weekend regattas.
Domestic rowing competitions form an integral part of the Australian sporting calendar, with regattas occurring throughout the season, such as the nation’s premier rowing event the Sydney International Rowing Regatta. The state and national championships, which usually occur in February and March, are additional highlights with some of Australia’s finest rowers competing. The chosen locations for these events add to the allure. For example, the site of the 2008 National Championships just happened to be on the same water that Sir Steve Redgrave made sporting history at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
It is for these many reasons that Sport Lived run a variety of rowing gap year programmes in the country, based in the thriving cities of Melbourne and Brisbane. Full or mini season options, as well as a superb coaching programme, are on offer for rowing enthusiasts looking for rewarding experiences in totally new environments. Whether it is for six weeks or six months, Sport Lived participants will get to spend an invaluable period with a hand-picked rowing club that will test and push them, further enhance their love of the sport and enable them to return home far-improved rowers. For those wanting to coach, the programme in Melbourne provides participants a wonderful oppotunity to pass on knowledge and dramatically develop their coaching ability through five to ten hours of paid weekly work at a local Australian school or boat club.
Fine facilities, clubs and schools, a genuine fervour for the sport, strong competition and of course two of the most exciting sporting cities on the planet on the other side of the world. What more could one want from a rowing gap year?
To view what Sport Lived have to offer for rowing fanatics, click here.