The recent easing of the restrictions on sporting activities has enabled rowers from Loughborough Boat Club to return to training on the water in boats, after spending the last few months using land-based rowing machines.

The strict 2 metre distancing and the limit to the number of participants has meant that only single person sculling boats can generally be used, although a few double sculls have also been able to get afloat, crewed by members of the same household. Father and daughter crew Allen and Thomasin Storey were among the first ‘doubles’, with Allen as the less experienced rower admitting that he benefitted greatly from some useful and carefully phrased coaching from his offspring! Victoria and Matilda Haines have also successfully been rowing as a ‘mother and daughter’ crew.

Tom Scholefield, Erica Gummery, and Zoe Hudson, some of he Club’s more experienced scullers, have made the most of the ability to get back into serious training, even though there is no immediate prospect of any return to competitive events this Summer. Sadly, this means that Zoe and Erica will be unable to defend the gold medal that they won this time last year in their double scull at the British Rowing Masters Championships, since the event has been cancelled this year. However, Zoe says that the good news is that she can claim to have retained the title for at least two consecutive years!

Several of the Club’s Masters Men have also been sculling regularly, which is proving of great benefit to those who generally prefer to row in larger sweep oar boats such as Fours or Eights, but cannot do so because of the distancing guidelines. Charlie Henry, Jonathan Cox and Jerry Heygate have all benefitted from  having no option but to row the less stable ‘singles’, and the increase in their skill has been matched by a decrease in their capsizes. May’s spell of glorious weather and warm water provided a perfect training environment, although the River Soar pleasingly experienced a large increase in the number of ‘wild swimmers’, canoeists, and rafters taking their daily exercise in or on the water, so a careful lookout has been necessary by all to avoid collisions.

With the loss of income from Regattas and from the hire of their boathouses as function venues, many Rowing Clubs have had their finances hit hard by the current situation. Loughborough Boat Club, whose boathouse, clubroom, and riverside lawns form a popular wedding venue, is therefore extremely grateful to Charnwood Borough Council for a generous grant, which has helped towards essential maintenance costs and also ensuring that the sport of rowing can continue to be available as widely as possible.