By Jessica Tuggle
FELLSMERE -- Traffic in the canal bordering Indian River and Brevard counties is about to be a little jammed.
The Indian River Rowing Club will celebrate National Learn to Row Day on June 1 with free rowing lessons for the general public from 8 a.m. to noon at the C-54 Canal in Fellsmere.
"From the proper seat to posture to stroke rhythm, the experienced members of the rowing club will help show people what great exercise and what fun rowing as a sport can be," said Alejandrina Micket, club member.
Ms. Micket first got involved with the rowing last year at the free learn to row day, and has been an enthusiastic participant ever since.
While some people train and row to compete, many people join rowing clubs for purely recreational purposes.
"It's a combination of low-impact exercise and a social activity for me," Ms. Micket said.
While some sports require running or other training methods that have a lot of wear and tear on joints, rowing does not, but that doesn't mean it isn't strenuous and challenging, said Chris Hochreiter, a rowing club member.
"You have to build your endurance and stamina," he said.
First-time rowers will first have the opportunity to watch a safety video and become acquainted with the boats, or shells, and the rowing techniques on land, Mr. Hochreiter said.
"Once they get better acquainted with everything, they'll get into a boat with experienced rower that very day," Mr. Hochreiter said.
Rowing is one of the oldest Olympic sports, but is seeing a resurgence among younger generations, and in this area that is evidenced by the popularity of the Sebastian River High School rowing team, he said.
The C-54 canal is actually a popular place for out-of-state college rowing teams, or crew teams, to come and train during the winter. Rollins Boston College and Columbia University are just two of the schools that have visited the area to train in the St. Sebastian River and the Indian River Lagoon when their home training grounds have been too chilly.
Many people think that because college students and high school students enjoy the sport, you have to be young to participate in the sport correctly, but that's not the case, said Ms. Micket.
"You can be anywhere from 12 to older than 65 years old. You do have to be a little active, but it's a low-impact sport so anybody can try," she said.
A few weeks after the learn to row day, anyone that is interested in pursuing the sport further with the Indian River Rowing Club can sign up for a regular class program and become a member, Ms. Micket said.
"Just give it a try on the Learn to Row Day. It's free so you're not going to lose anything," she said.
For more information on the Indian River Rowing Club, visit www.indianriverrowingclub.com.