Rowing in Melbourne

Words Maisy St.Cyr

As a graduating high schooler with little to no idea of what my gap year had in store, I did know one thing: I wanted to continue my passion for rowing.

I never thought of going to Australia to row until I stumbled upon a YouTube video with a list of gap year options. A small image depicting a rower caught my eye, and I immediately checked out the Sport Lived website, where my curiosity began.

Living only 4.5km from Melbourne’s Boathouse Drive, I learned to enjoy the 15-minute bike ride to practice every morning. The city’s lights would illuminate the Yarra River as beats played through my headphones. Sometimes dreading it, but most of the time excited to see my teammates and participate in another challenging and enjoyable session.

Many people would say moving across the world on your own at 18 is a scary idea, so as I had hoped, Sport Lived made it extremely easy for me to settle in Australia and provided lots of support. They helped with items such as opening an Australian bank account and setting up a phone plan, as well as introducing me to members of my club.

Sport Lived placed me at a rowing club in Melbourne where I felt challenged yet comfortable and welcomed and I’ve made life-long friends. I’ve had the opportunity to race at competitions all around Victoria and also at the Australian National Championships in Perth. Coming from one of the smallest rowing clubs in Maine (USA) the rowing setup in Melbourne and Australia generally has given me a whole new perspective on the sport. It opened my eyes to aspects of rowing I had visualized but never seen before.

I’ve had loads of fun off the water too. Whilst in Oz, I experienced Melbourne’s great nightlife, attended music festivals and concerts, traveled along the Great Ocean Road and backpacked up the East Coast.

Deciding to come to Australia is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and it wouldn’t have happened without the help of Sport Lived.

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