January 16, 2015
Rowing oaring its way locally

President of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Rowing Association Shanna Browne agrees that there are exciting times ahead for the sport, despite being a relatively new undertaking locally.

“There are very exciting times ahead,” Browne told SEARCHLIGHT last Saturday at the association’s first hosting of an indoor rowing competition, which took place at Ronnie’s Gym at Mc Kies Hill.

A beaming Browne noted: “We have come a long way from the start…. We started in 2014 in terms of getting the association started… It is something that’s new, it’s different, not so much out of the box, because we are surrounded by water and calm bays where we can actually row in.”

Browne revealed that it has been plain sailing for the association within the last year.

“We have had two coaches come down, Christopher Groot from Princeton College and Michelle Darvill — an international rowing athlete…. We have been able to secure six boats from FISA, and these boats are located in Layou – five singles and one double,” Browne said.

Browne added that Aubrey Oldham of Canada is here on a 10-day stay to assist the local rowers to sharpen their techniques, while getting in some needed training himself.

Wanting to utilize the many calms bays available, Browne revealed that her association is already entertaining the thought of harbouring an international competition here.

“We are looking to invite international teams to come down …. We are definitely going to be a rowing destination for the colder climate teams and it definitely promotes … sports tourism … We are looking to do an international meet around November, not to only build our own athletes, but to continually build that relationship,” the SVG Rowing Association head commented.

“It is not only about growing the sport…. It is also about getting some scholarships, because a lot of the colleges are taking in students with rowing skills and there are lots of opportunities for them for a career path,” Browne added.

Beyond the shores of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Browne said her association is looking to take plunge into international competition, as they look to meets in Florida, Canada and possibly Cuba.

And, buoyed by the successful completion of last Saturday’s indoor event, Browne is further optimistic of the local rowers’ progress.

“Their times will be entered and they will have an opportunity to compete in the finals in Boston, once they go through the rankings, as at least two have times of under seven minutes, which is good,” Browne advised.

When the times were tabulated on Saturday, both Akini Hypolite and Keyan Barrow returned times of six minutes 59.2 seconds and six minutes 59.5 seconds respectively in the open men’s category.

They were followed by Jante James, who clocked seven minutes 33.1 seconds.

Daron Shallow’s seven minutes 40.5 seconds was the time among the lightweight segment.

The athletes were required to use the ergs to notch up a distance of 2,000 metres.(RT)