Young people between 11-16 years old competed in individual and relay events, many for the first time. All participants have been introduced to indoor rowing by the team of LYR Community Coaches working across London, with Active Row Partner Schools from Southwark, Lewisham, Lambeth and Wandsworth in attendance.
Schools taking part included: Harris Academy Bermondsey, Ark Walworth Academy, Townley Grammar School, Dunraven School and Bishop Thomas Grant School, Conisborough College, St Matthew Academy, John Roan School, Ricards Lodge High School. In addition, Community group ‘Brixton Wings’, based at Ferndale Sports Centre, Brixton with young people from nearby Schools signed up.
‘It’s so exciting to see the young people I work with everyday, come to life on race day. They come together as a team, support each other, push themselves and put everything they’ve learned into practice. It’s got to be one of the best bits of my job,’ said Isobel Turner, Community Coach for South London schools.
‘Rowing is different to other sports. It teaches you confidence because you have to work with new people, and determination as well because you have to see how far you can actually push yourself and what you can achieve. I’ve really enjoyed today - I won. You push yourself hard and it pays off after,’ said Lucas, Gravey School student.
Working with 76 Schools in 12 priority London Boroughs, over the next four years Active Row will offer regular indoor and on-water rowing sessions and a pathway to further opportunities. The programme focuses on engaging young people who are less likely to participate in physical activity, such as those from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds, girls and individuals with special educational needs or a disability.
‘Rowing is a different kind of sport. The girls that take part are mainly not participating in other more mainstream sports; it’s something different where they can excel. It teaches our students how to be resilient and competition teaches them how to work together. The girls are buzzing [to be here]. We appreciate London Youth Rowing and what it provides, because our girls really benefit from it,’ said Keishana Kelly, PE Teacher at Harris Academy Bermondsey.
Geoff Loader, Head of Stakeholder Engagement at Tideway attended the event to present medals to the competitors. Delivery of bigger indoor competitions and a fixed seat regatta has been specifically funded by Tideway, to help provide opportunities for wider engagement and education of Tideway’s unique project. Two schools from today’s competition are Tideway funded schools; 14 schools out of 72 schools in total are funded by Tideway.
‘This is my first rowing competition as part of our new partnership with London Youth Rowing, and it’s amazing to see how many children we’ve got in here, and the enthusiasm, and the noise they generate - it’s great to be involved.
One of our big connections with London Youth Rowing, is the River Thames. Tideway is all about cleaning up the quality of the water in the River Thames, and wouldn’t it also be great if we could connect more people to the river? Some of these children might not even know the river exists, believe it or not, and if we can help reconnect them with the River Thames then we’re doing our job over and above removing pollution from the River,' said Geoff.
The Competition series provides a fun and social environment for young people to enjoy being active, while also acting as a stepping stone to the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships 2018 hosted by London Youth Rowing.