ENGLEWOOD — Cathy Spencer couldn’t imagine a better experience than being out on the water at 6 a.m., watching the sunrise and enjoying nature and the camaraderie of her fellow rowers.
A former board member, Spencer has served in every position in the Lemon Bay Crew Club since joining in 2003. She’s preparing to help teach anybody who is interested as part of an open house celebrating National Learn to Row Day from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday at Indian Mound Park, 210 Winson Ave., Englewood.
“People come out of curiosity,” said Jan Barrett, a past president with the club. “Last year, we had 50 to 60 people who were interested.”
The club has come a long way since its days near Michael Saunders & Co. before moving to Indian Mound Park two years ago, said Barrett. The club was founded in 2001.
“It was about having an enclosure to protect our equipment, and Indian Mound Park is a nice launching point, and it has great access to Lemon Bay,” Barrett said.
Barrett said the club usually retains 20 to 30 percent of people who go to the three-week introduction course before moving on to the three-week novice program. People will learn basic rowing skills and to row synchronously in a shell. Rowers must be able to swim and bring shorts and water shoes.
“We mix the new people with the experienced,” she said. “There’s a lot of terminology. It’s a hard commitment because it’s so early and people have to work.”
Spencer said learning to row is a continuous process.
“I’m still getting coached,” Spencer said. “I’m stronger and I’ve learned about my body muscles, but I’m still learning about form and technique.”
People who sign up range in age from about 40 to 70. The club may consider expanding to a later morning start or evening sessions.
“We’d love to expand it if we can find additional coaching,” Spencer said. “Most of the people in the club work. It’s hard to get people to start at 5.”
“Rowing is an excellent sport,” Spencer said. “It’s great exercise and you have a wonderful community of people.”
For more information, call 941-473-2535.