Evening row: Mondays in March participants got on the water of an evening to try rowing or reintroduce themselves. Photo: SUPPLIED

Safe, active and connected through choppy waters

April 3, 2020 BY

IF you can see yourself rowing a single scull in the middle of Lake Wendouree, watching the sun set, it might seem like the perfect picture of self-isolation.

For a while, Wendouree Ballarat Rowing Club are putting these kinds of opportunities on hold, in line with government guidelines, but a pandemic won’t stop their community from keeping active, having fun and staying connected.

WBRC captain, Alicia Ivory said the committee met this week in a very foreign context, marking the first club closure since it first opened, fuelled to create opportunities.

“There was a mix of shock and gratefulness that we could get together online and continue the normal business of running the shed, even from the comfort of our own homes,” she said.

“It was really positive. Everybody was keen to see some new initiatives developed to help our members and the broader rowing community get through the next few months.

“Our plan’s simple; we want our members to stay safe, connected and come out mentally healthy and physically well. We’ve got club members of all ages, from primary school to people in their 80s, so any opportunities we have to share experiences, we’ll take those.”

The club is supplying as many free resources to the public as they can. Members will be given a fitness program, and weekly live interactive videos with coaches, the committee and athletes will cover ergo exercises and things people can do to be active in their own homes.

The committee is also looking to bring their annual coaching seminar forward, which attracts people from around Victoria.

“We’ve got the capability to run some high-quality media presentations, so we’ll be making use of those,” Ms Ivory said.

An awards night would have been coming up soon, which the committee has decided to postpone until everyone can truly celebrate together, but that won’t stop members from staying friendly and having fun in other ways.

“We will still use the awards date that’s in everyone’s diaries for some kind of online social evening, and we’re investigating options for how that might look,” she said.

Prior to its closure, the club ran a Mondays in March evening program, introducing new men and women to the sport, and welcoming more experienced rowers back to the water.

“We were really pleased and excited to launch that, and equally as disappointed to cut it short, but that was the necessary thing to do.

“We’re really looking forward to connecting with the people who signed up to the program in the future, and we’ll certainly run something similar once we’re able to get on the water,” Ms Ivory said.

“The support that council has provided in the last few months, and since the Active Women and Girls Strategy was first released, has been fantastic and we’ll continue to work with them on ways we can keep our women and girls active, and stepping up into leadership roles in the community.”

The committee is investigating membership options for the next year. Anyone already interested in getting involved with the club and its digital programming, whether a beginner or experienced rower, can get in touch via facebook.com/Wendouree-Ballarat-Rowing-Club-217802138231772 or wbrc.com.au.