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Learn to Row 2021 is GO!

We are excited to announce that we are now able to offer Learnt to Row courses for those who wish to join us on the river. Rowing is a highly technical sport, based around leg power, which offers so much fun, whether you wish to pootle down the river watching herons and enjoying the sunshine or race flat out at regattas. Oxford Academicals prides itself on its supportive and encouraging environment. We are a close-knit club which thrives on camaraderie and there is always someone willing to lend a hand if needed. Rowing is the most wonderful sport and we look forward to being able to share it with you!

Our Learn to Row courses are open to anyone over the age of 18 who fits the following criteria:

  • Can swim 50m in light clothing
  • Can understand and quickly respond to instructions given in English
  • Has a basic level of physical fitness, strength and flexibility
  • Each crew must move boats the short distane from the boathouse to the water. You should, therefore, be comfortable lifting at least 30kg to complete this exercise.

    On the course, you’ll gain a solid understanding of rowing technique and get plenty of experience on the water. Plus, you’ll meet a mix of novice rowers and get a feel for our club community.

    What will I learn?

    The course will cover:

    Basic rowing technique

    • The fundamentals of taking a stroke
    • How to balance the boat
    • Manoeuvres such as stopping and spinning

    You will also learn about

    • Boathouse safety
    • How to move boats onto the water
    • Rowing terminology and how to respond to calls from the cox
    • How to cox – should you wish to try

    When is it?

    We are offering 4 courses this year – more may be offered if there is demand!

    Each session lasts two hours. You will be given the opportunity each week to sign up for slots that you’re able to attend, and we’ll do our best to ensure you get two sessions per week. If for some reason we’re not able to schedule you for two sessions in a week, we’ll work with you to ensure you can carry out the session at another time. Masks must be worn at all times until the cox/coach tells you that you may remove them. Please bring a plastic bag/dry bag to store your mask in in the boat.

    4 week course – weekday evenings and weekends – £115
    This course will run from Saturday, 17th April and again from Saturday, 15th May. 4 sessions will be offered each week: Monday evening, Wednesday evening, Saturday afternoon, Sunday afternoon. This course has 16 spaces.

    4 day intensive course – weekdays – £150
    This course will run 3rd – 6th May, with 2 sessions/day. There are only 8 spaces on this course so participants must be able to attend all 8 sessions. This could be a great option for those of us who have annual leave to take but can’t go anywhere!

    4 week course – daytimes – £115
    This course will run from Monday, 10th May. This course has a maximum of 32 spaces, and, depending on the number of spaces filled, up to 8 sessions could be offered each week

    To sign up, or if you have any questions that aren’t covered below, please contact Nick Chandler, our Learn to Row co-ordinator

    What should I wear?

    Wear lightweight clothing suitable for exercise, that you don’t mind getting wet and you could swim in, if necessary. Avoid anything bulky, loose or heavy. Bring multiple thin layers if you are worried about being cold. Lycra type clothing is ideal – no need to be shy! Not many of us look our best in it but is very comfortable, doesn’t get snagged when rowing, and, to be honest, you stand out less! Might as well embrace the lycra love early.

    Shoes are not worn in the boat,(boats have shoes in them), though you will need to wear stable shoes, like trainers, to enable you to move the boat onto the water safely. Please wear socks in the boat.

    Sunglasses/visors/suncream should be worn on sunny days – remember that the water reflects sunlight. Always bring a bottle of water with you and any medication you may need, such as inhalers. Masks must be worn at all times until the cox/coach tells you that you may remove them. Please bring a plastic bag/dry bag to store your mask in in the boat.

    Wearing unsuitable clothing could be deemed a safety risk, and we reserve the right to remove you from a session if you aren’t dressed appropriately.

    What is the club community like?

    Oxford Academicals is a small, friendly and community-focussed rowing club, full of keen and committed rowers from all over the world. Inclusivity is important to us, and we can accommodate a range of abilities and schedules – we understand that you have a life outside of rowing!

    Because we’re smaller, you can be confident that you’ll get out on the water regularly, if that’s what you want.

    Our club is run by volunteers, which means that we might be a bit more informal than other clubs. But this also means that we’re flexible – for example, if there’s high demand for outings, we’ll put on extra sessions. Or if you want to learn to cox, we’d be happy to support this.

    Can you accommodate adaptive rowing?

    We are a small club, and, unfortunately, we are not equipped for adaptive rowing at the moment. However, you might be interested in joining City of Oxford Rowing Club’s adaptive squad.

    Will I be able to join the club after the Learn to Row course?

    We hope you’ll want to keep rowing after the course! After the course finishes, we aim to offer Development Squads over the summer months. Graduates of the Learn to Row courses can join the Development Squads, which will enable them to keep rowing with the other novices until September. This squad will have access to regularly scheduled weekly outings, and ongoing coaching. A full annual membership can then be taken out should you wish to continue!

    By late summer, we’d hope the Development Squad to be able to join the rest of the club on rows to Abingdon/the Perch for pub lunches and we’d anticipate Milton Keynes regatta in September being the first racing opportunity for those who wish to try their hand at competing.

    We can accommodate a wide range of abilities and do not expect you to be at peak fitness – however, if you have really struggled on the Learn to Row course it might not be suitable for you to join the Development Squad. We’ll work with you individually if this situation arises.

    Ready to commit?

    If you have any further questions or would like to sign up, please contact Nick Chandler, our Learn to Row co-ordinator for further information.


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