Rowers with a range of impairments and disabilities came to the Adaptive Rowing time trials at Phyllis Court Club on Sunday morning to compete over a 600 metre course in the sunshine.
The event started in 2016 and was formerly just a time trial for the Phyllis Club rowers and has grown through more invitations being extended to rowing clubs with adaptive sections.
Janine FitzGerald, Chair of the Phyllis Court Rowing Club said, “We’re delighted to welcome rowers and their support volunteers from Guildford, Stratford and Marlow Rowing Clubs today as well as the Mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon, Kevin Taylor, President of Stratford RC, Paul Stanton and Mayor of Henley, Sarah Miller. The rowers love coming here as they get to row on the hallowed Henley Regatta Course. There is a range of disabilities and impairment and I’d like to thank all the volunteers from Phyllis Court and Henley Sea Cadets for helping today. We’ve been really lucky with the weather conditions as the river was really choppy yesterday.”
Bruce Lynn, Coaching Co-ordinator of Marlow RC said, “This event is vital in a couple of ways. A lot of the Regattas are very intensive affairs with strict timetables. For someone just starting out this is a very relaxed event and is very flexible. It used to be a Phyllis Court event and then they invited a few adaptive rowers. Now it is an adaptive event with a few Phyllis Court rowers and we’ve kind of taken it over but they have been so generous and made it bigger and bigger and invited more clubs. The other thing is it is very hard to find match ups with equal disabilities. So we have something like golf with time handicaps so each athlete has their own handicap. We can then match up any Paralympian rower with any other Paralympian but to do that you need to know how fast they are so this is the very first event of the season and is a time trial. When we do racing, we use their times to base their handicap. It is the first race for 13 new rowers today. This is the grassroots for British Rowing and the Paralympian team and one rower who has been here today has been trialling for the Paris 2023 Paralympics team. Some people are though just here for fitness, therapy and recreation. There’s a lot of different motivations for people taking part in adaptive rowing.”
Jo Atkinson, Community Sport Manager for British Rowing said, “One of my lead projects is adaptive rowing so our plan is to increase the number of clubs that offer adaptive rowing and increase adaptive rowers. Events like this help to publicise and increase all round awareness that even though you have a disability or an impairment you can still take part in the sport.”
The event was attended by over 120 people.