Andrew Eames reports on this summer's sculling courses:
So what happens in your boat club when you're not there? You'd be surprised.
Just as the best universities throw open their doors to people who want to share the smell of success, so does TSS. Since the end of the racing season, we've had two Alec Hodges sculling courses, with thirty-five would-be scullers on each.
The Alec Hodges courses are a significant operation, requiring six or seven coaches, a similar number of junior coaches, a caterer for lunchtimes, thirty-five singles and sets of blades, plus assorted quads and doubles. And seven launches. That means fifty-plus people in the clubroom, Monday to Friday, which can be quite a surprise for the occasional club sculler wandering down for a watery midsummer mooch.
The aim of these courses is to get everyone into singles as quickly as possible, but we also have lunchtime talks on subjects like core stability, rowing injuries, and rigging. Then, on Friday, we have a singles race, followed by quad racing for those finishing in the top sixteen.
We get a huge cross-section of ability, and recent courses have yielded a number of successful new recruits to the club. Among these are James Sanders (GB and Belgian national champion, lightweight quad 2011; GB triallist 2012), Ben Crouch (novice to Home International selection in 2010-11 season, GB triallist 2012), and Jacqui Johnston (finalist in senior lightweight single at Henley Women's Regatta, 2011).
This year we had a particularly quick crop of juniors from Westminster, St Pauls and Hampton, and a couple of good university-based scullers. We also had a sixty-seven-year-old who was no slouch, and a thirteen-year-old who managed to capsize no fewer than nineteen times.
All courses this year sold out, so there's talk of running more next year.