Why we rowCanadians have been involved in rowing for a very long time. As far back as 1874, Toronto's Ned Hanlan won his first sculling race. In the years that followed, Hanlan won several races as a "professional" with purses of up to $1,000. This was a pittance compared to the hundreds of thousands of dollars wagered on his races, which sometimes saw 100,000 spectators line the banks to watch..

But how do we compare with the rest of the world today? Perhaps the best measure is our Olympic Record. Canadian rowing has garnered a total of 38 medals, being 9 Gold medals, 14 Silver medals, and 15 bronze medals. This is more than the combined medal total Canada has won in Olympic Ice Hockey, Basketball, Bobsleigh, Curling, Equestrian, Lacrosse, and Triathlon. There is much national pride in our crews .

There are few sports as self-fulfilling as rowing. It's not all about racing or competing. It is a non-impact full body exercise that works three main muscle groups of the body: legs, back and abs. In fact the perfect rowing stroke is 65% legwork, 25% arms, and 10% back.

The serenity of an early morning row is unequalled. Typically, rowers love to row the calm water of daybreak. As they peer through the low mist that hugs the shore and stretches across a glassy bay, the mind is at ease and the challenges of the day ahead dissolve into insignificance.

Why we rowA hundred yards from the dock, the rower hears the sound of oars dipping into the swirling puddles it creates, and maybe the flapping of cormorant wings as they march across the water taking flight. At the boat's stern, a "V" from the wake shows the strength of each stroke. Reaching out at each stroke, he lightly grips the oars, gathers water at the blades with each kick of the legs, then snaps the handles to his chest.

Rowing looks graceful and effortless when done well. This myth is quickly exposed the first time you enter a boat. Rowers haven't been called the world's most physically fit athletes for nothing. The sport demands endurance, strength, balance, mental discipline and an ability to continue on, even when the body demands he stop.

As for recreational rowers, what can they expect. All of the above, in moderation. Few activities offer the total enjoyment package of rowing: beautiful scenery, physical workout, the camaraderie of fellow rowers, the challenge of athleticism, and the quiet inner peace of gliding across a lake at the crack of dawn.
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