By: Saije Rusimovici, Staff Writer
SFU sports clubs are organized and entirely student-led, motivated by a common interest in participating in athletic activity. Not only is joining a sports club beneficial for both your mental and physical health, but it also reduces stress levels, expands your social circle, and provides a sense of value and belonging to participants.
Rowing brings a competitive edge to SFU as one of Canada’s top university rowing programs. Members of the rowing club have gone on to compete at both the national and provincial levels. If you’re interested in challenging yourself physically and learning something new, this is the team for you.
Not sure where to start? Current member of the SFU rowing team Mercedes Turner breaks down rowing, her experiences, and how to join the team.
Turner described rowing as “a strength-endurance sport that consists of repetitive movements over short or long periods of time.” The sport involves using an oar to propel a specific type of racing boat in a team of one, two, four, or eight people. Rowers sit facing the opposite direction of the boat’s course.
“Rowing to me is a sport that accentuates the beauty of being synced with your teammates and pushing yourself past your limits,” Turner said. “It’s a sport that is so mentally challenging [ . . . ] whether you’re focusing on your power, form, breathing, or making sure you’re in time with the person in front of you.”
There is no need for previous experience to join the team, just an enthusiastic attitude, willingness, and commitment to learn! Newcomers are, however, required to attend a tryout session to assess their fitness level. The tryout consists of a timed run and ERG testing — a device that measures your strength ability — in order to learn a bit more about your upside and capabilities. Nervous? Turner said the “amazing” coaches and team members are present to support and guide you throughout the process.
Practices are held at Burnaby Lake, with indoor training and meetings held at the SFU Fitness Centre depending on the time of year. “The beauty about rowing as a sport is that you can be training at all times of the year; therefore, our club runs all year round,” said Turner. Meaning the team can practice early in the morning and on however many days they choose. Right now, practices happen four days a week from 6:00 a.m.–8:00 a.m.
Since the rowing team is considered a club and not a varsity sport, most of their support from SFU goes towards operational fees. Any equipment or travel expense has to come out of pocket. You can support the rowing team by bringing your recyclables to any Return-It express station and providing the number “8888687121,” or by open donations through their website.
“Every penny counts,” said Turner. “We don’t get much funding from SFU, and if the team wants to go out and race, it can get really costly.” Money also goes towards hosting “awesome events for people in the community.”