You may have seen members of the Des Moines Rowing Club gliding down the river, in perfect rhythm. They make it look effortless, but rowing requires a lot more strength and thought than you might think.
We recently ventured out on to the water with the group and it was an experience – to say the least.
Right away we can see that rowing requires precision teamwork... off and on the water. When it all comes together – it’s a thing of beauty.
But to get here, you have to start on land - on a rowing machine.
Julia Martinusen is the president of the club. The group welcomes anyone who can swim – even novices like us. You might think the power in rowing comes from the arms, but Julia explains that the legs actually do most of the work. It takes some time to learn the technique and it also takes stamina.
From rowing machine to boat is a big leap. In fact, just getting into the boat is challenging. Sonya nearly tips our vessel over trying to get on board. Once we're settled, we learn what it's really like to put an oar in the water.
Julia and our rowing mates, Lance Brown and Randall Wilson have their work cut out for them. As we sit idly in the water, other rowers zip past us. We are clearly out of our league but thanks to Lance and Randall, we finally start moving.
Now it’s up to us to maintain the momentum. The other rowers make it look easy – it’s not! And adding two more rowers to the mix makes it even more difficult.
Thanks to Julia’s direction, we finally get the hang of it - if even for a short time. As we glide – or should we say bob – back to the deck we have a new appreciation for rowing.
It's fun and challenging and a great workout - and you can try it, too! For information on novice day, click here.