Anyone looking into the Alive Downham Leisure swimming pool on Saturday evening would have been forgiven for doing a double-take: West Norfolk Rowing Club (WNRC) brought in a single scull rowing boat and oars for members of the club to perform a capsize drill.
More than 20 junior and adult members of WNRC, based at Denver Sluice, gathered to take part in the exercise, each in turn taking to the boat in the middle of the pool, rolling it, and showing that they could get out, turn the boat the right way up, and push it back to the side. They also had to demonstrate that they could tread water and swim wearing rowing kit.
Belinda Walker, chairman of WNRC, was supervising the training drill along with other club members and lifeguards from the pool.
She said: “This is an important exercise for the safety of all our rowers, particularly the juniors, giving them confidence that if they did capsize on the river, they would know what to do.”
Some of the rowers were nervous before their turn, but were glad to be practising in the warm, clear water of the swimming pool.
Club member, Nix Marston, said afterwards: “It wasn’t nearly as tricky as I had imagined, but I still hope I don’t ever have to do this on the River Great Ouse!”
WNRC is grateful to Alive Leisure for allowing use of the pool for the event.
WNRC has increasing numbers of club members in both junior and senior sections, and is hoping to enter more crews in regattas and head races this year.
A senior quad crew and a double recently competed at Norwich Head, with other members of the club going along to support them, and this weekend WNRC rowers will take part in Alton Head near Ipswich. ‘Learn to Row’ courses will be offered again soon at the club for beginners interested in taking up the sport.
For more information, see the club website on wnrc.westnorfolkrowingclub.co.uk/