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Get (back) in the boat

By Jane Robinson – Three-time Olympian and World Champion

When was the last time you went rowing? If the answer to this is ‘years ago’, I encourage you to think about getting back in the boat. Many still take to the water on a regular basis and even participate in the competitive world of Masters Rowing.

Neville Howell, at age 86, is a regular racer. As an elite rower he was part of the bronze medal winning Australian Men’s Eight at the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games. Today, he defies advancing age not only by rowing competitively but also by still managing a successful international import business and also recently remarrying. Years of regular training may be the key to him possessing the energy to accomplish these things.

Rowing again after once being supremely fit can be a mental challenge. After all, we never can expect to be as fit as we once were. However, your skills will still be there even if initially a little rusty. Two-time Olympian David Ramage still exhibits amazing blade work, despite not having quite the flexibility he once possessed after two hip replacements.

Virginia Koo (nee Lee) and Fiona Antonie (nee Milne) both take to the water together in a double on an infrequent basis. Word is that this combination moves along pretty nicely. Not surprising given that Fiona was World Champion in the single and Virginia a bronze medallist at the 1996 Olympic Games. Maybe some day their daughters may row together? Olympics 2032 perhaps!

“I encourage you all to get back in the boat. Even if its just for one row. Ring some old crew mates or take to the water with novice or young rowers who can benefit from your experience. Perhaps the most satisfying rowing I have ever done was to go out in a coxed tub quad with my husband, father, niece and coxed by my nine-year-old son!”

One of the best ways to get back in a boat is for a crew reunionEasy Oar would love to publish reports from any such reunions that may take place. Photos of your crew from ‘then’ and ‘now’ would also be most welcome.  Send your reunion report to Jane Robinson on email [email protected]

Neville Howell

Neville Howell in the two seat of his Masters’ Quadruple Sculls