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Rower Profile – Joanne Leeman (Learn to Row)

By Steven Sullivan | In General News, Rower Profile | on January 30, 2017
I began rowing in June 2016 when I joined the Learn to Row programme at John O’Gaunt Rowing Club and it has been a positive and thoroughly enjoyable experience. I have some childhood experience of canoeing and have always enjoyed swimming, so generally I’m a fan of water. Rowing was something I’d always wanted to try but felt that maybe it wasn’t for me. I went to Birmingham Poly where I didn’t come across the rowing society, there probably wasn’t one. When I moved to Lancaster, I frequently drove past JOG club house as I lived nearby for 15 years.  I thought “I should do that one day” but how to start? A good friend told me about Learn to Row last year and on a whim, I said “I’ll do it.” Attending the first session was daunting and I seriously questioned my sanity on the drive down to the club. However, I’m so glad I persevered. The club is friendly and welcoming. The Learn to Row programme is run by knowledgeable and laid back people who are happy to share their skills and help you get better. I found I picked it up quite quickly and couldn’t believe how soon I was out in a boat and on the water. The feeling of gliding over water and the power of team work are rather special. I even enjoyed the capsize test, the last session of Learn to Row. Seven months later, I can truly say I’ve got the rowing bug. I regularly attend sessions at the club and feel this may be the key to getting started. I have even participated in a few races, something I never thought would happened before I started. My tone has improved and getting out on The Lune (even on a frosty morning at 8am) is a real mood enhancer. I even enjoy getting the club boats in and out of the boat house. I’ve felt my confidence dip a few times, most notably in an eight with an Olympian at Christmas, when I was totally out of my depth. But at John O’Gaunt there are lots of experienced people who are happy to suggest something different to try and provide a focus for the next session. I hope I can continue to row for many years to come.

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