Eastbourne Rowing Club is experiencing a boom in participation after the Olympics with help from Brighton University and local schools.
On a dark and soggy Monday night down on the seafront, 24 students were coached in the club’s boat house.
Brighton University Rowing Club’s (BURC) President Chris Lovell runs the training sessions and was already part of the Eastbourne Rowing Club (ERC) before attending University.
The BURC has been based at the Eastbourne’s boat house for the past two years and has seen a huge shift in involvement.
Beginning with a warm-up the students were divided into two groups. One began with circuit training and the other receiving one-on-one coaching whilst on the rowing machines.
The club became a hive of physical strength and the damp room transformed into a burning centre of energy.
Chris Lovell said, “At the start of last year [September 2011] the University club lost a lot of people as our season ends in the autumn.
“There is currently a bigger attendance to the club this year mostly down to the Olympics. The 2012 Games were great for us as it increased interest so much.
“This year we’re going to keep training going throughout the winter to maintain interest for when the competitions start in the spring.”
There was a notion which kept returning of -this is where the Olympic heroes that brought such delight to the British public, begin their journey.
It’s here in the local clubs just like Eastbourne and all around Great Britian.
On the unpleasant nights where rowers push themselves to the maximum and test their stamina to the limit.
And for one highly-committed and talented member of the ERC, this long and painful journey to the top could become a reality.
Former Eastbourne Rowing Club captain Joe Guppy has won a series of junior titles since he took up rowing aged 12 and has competed in many senior events.
Joe was chosen for Great Britain’s Junior Team and participated in the Double Scull last year finishing sixth in the world.
His ultimate goal is to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and to get there he hopes to triumph at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney next January.
Alan Warland, the ERC Club captain said, “Of course the Olympics has given us a boost and I hope we can sustain it. There is loads of potential from all of the beginners.”
Local schools are also involved with ERC, including rowing in sports programmes and education.
Bob Noakes, ERC chairman said, “Willingdon Community School was instrumental in helping ERC set up its Youth Development Programme. Bede’s School has added rowing to their activities programme and train twice a week using our facilities.
“It is hoped these links will get more young people into the sport and create great things.”
ERC run training sessions for all levels of ability on Tuesday and Thursday nights as well as women only circuit training on Wednesday nights.