It’s been a busy stretch for the coaches and athletes at the Orlando Area Rowing Society.
While the organization has been conducting the first two weeks of its eight Summer Learn to Row camps, three teams from the Windermere-based organization competed at the U.S. Rowing Youth Nationals in Sarasota.
The men’s lightweight 8, women’s lightweight 8 and women’s youth 8 boats all competed at the event last weekend. The men’s lightweight 8 placed the highest for OARS, finishing in ninth place. The women’s lightweight 8 boat placed 15th, and the women’s youth 8 placed 19th.
Kirsten Anderson, the girls head coach and an alumna of Dr. Phillips High School, said she was pleased with the organization’s showing over the weekend.
“It’s very hard just to get to nationals, so it’s pretty fun for them to do as well as they did,” Anderson said, noting that competing just a few hours from home helped their athletes feel relatively at home.
Upon returning, Anderson and many of the OARS athletes who participated in the competition will focus their attention back toward the weeklong camps for middle- and high-school youth with no rowing experience.
“The main goal is just to expose as many kids as possible to the sport of rowing; so many people don’t know what it is,” Anderson said. “Hopefully, out of the kids (who participate), a few of them will get hooked on the sport and want to join.”
Anderson expects the organization to host about 30 kids each week through the beginning of August. Campers will learn the basics of the sport, from coming to readily identify the parts of a boat and rowing terminology to utilizing indoor rowing machines and learning technique. Participants also will have the opportunity to practice with current high-school rowers, with the idea that it will allow younger rowers to jump the learning curve pretty quickly.
“It’s funny, because everybody thinks it’s pretty easy (to row), and then they jump in and realize, ‘Wait a second — this is harder than I thought,’” Anderson said.
The cost of each session is $130, and campers are welcome to participate in more than one session.
For more information on the camps, how OARS did at nationals and other related items, visit oarsrowing.com/summer-learn-to-row/.OA.