It’s funny I should be writing this final piece about my rowing experience here in this particular space, considering it was an editorial I wrote in this spot some two months ago that brought about the adventure.
After writing about the South West’s poor exercise performance rates I was called out – and rightly so – on my own exercise habits.
Bunbury Rowing Club president Carmel Lloyd told me in no uncertain terms I should put my money where my mouth is and get involved in the club’s Zero to Hero rowing challenge.
The competition saw teams of four beginner rowers train for five weeks in the precise art of quad scull rowing.
The journey wasn’t without it’s difficulties and the first and arguably most important roadblock I ran into was trying to form a team who were enthusiastic and up for the challenge.
I eventually found my team in South West editor Jeremy Hedley, Bunbury Mail receptionist Ebony Jones and Donnybrook-Bridgetown-Manjimup Mail senior journalist Matt Lau. Each person bought something special to the team.
Jeremy might not be able to keep a steady time to save his life but what he lacked in rhythm he made up for in determination and constant strategization.
Ebony was probably our strongest team member, with powerful rowing arms and a great sense of rhythm it’s not a mystery as to why she was positioned as the lead rower – responsible for keeping everyone in time.
Finding our fourth team member was a difficult task but eventually the spot was filled by Matt who valiantly put his hand up to support our fledgling rowing squad. As the training began Matt’s athletic ability – he’s a frequent soccer player – proved perfect for our rowing team.
After all the training was done, the teams were pitted against each other in an amateur regatta on Sunday at Bunbury’s Leschenault Inlet. As before any sporting competition the nerves were strung throughout our team, mostly because of the pressure I put on my team to succeed.
Race one wasn’t our strongest race, with some issues with clashing oars or “catching crabs” as the rowers call it, but we pulled it together to secure second place.
Race two was by far the race we rowed the best in, but as the competition went on our competitors also improved. We pulled together to scrape through with another second place.
Finally race three, the most important race of the day for ourselves and probably one of the most interesting to watch from a spectator perspective.
As the race started it proved to be more of a horror show for us, Matt’s oar caught my own and soon we were almost at a dead stop. After an unfair mouthful from me, Matt was rowing again but the competition had gained ground on us and were well ahead.
Even our own colleague and commentator Andrew Elstermann had written us off as a loss. But in the spirit of Steven Bradbury we jumped on the mistakes of the other teams like vultures and gave it all we had to race ahead and secure first place right on the line. Our magnificent victory in our third race secured us second place in the competition overall, the footage of which can be seen on the Bunbury Mail Facebook page.
During Zero to Hero I rediscovered a long dormant addiction for the adrenaline induced by competitive sport which has resulted in Ebony, Jeremy and myself signing up to continue with the Bunbury Rowing Club. - Blayde Grzelka.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.