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Posts Tagged ‘Pocock Foundation’

Oak Harbor waters call out to a rower. (Photo courtesy CeCe Aguda)

They’re sailing into new waters.

Rowing on Whidbey, a non-profit group dedicated to life on the water, launched in 2018, with an extra push earlier this year.

Now the group, headed up by champion sculler CeCe Aguda, is attempting to work out a plan with Oak Harbor city officials to install a storage shed for its boats at Windjammer Park.

The shed would sit near the boat ramp, be fenced and blend into the surroundings by having a similar look to a kitchen shelter already at the park.

Aguda plans to bring her proposal to the Oak Harbor City Council during a June 30 workshop.

Rowing on Whidbey was established to create a way for local rowers of all skill levels to get out on the water without having to leave Whidbey Island.

“There is no facility here for rowing, so if you want to row team boats (as in not just a single by yourself) you have to drive to Bellingham, Everett, or Seattle,” Aguda said in March.

“I commuted to Seattle for two years, 2-3 times a week, to train at Pocock Rowing Center,” she added. “When I spoke with people on the Island about rowing, they wanted to see a local club so they could row here too.

“So I started working on it!”

While Aguda is a gold-medal-winning rower who competed in college, the club is welcoming to anyone.

Women or men, young or old, experienced or not, there is opportunity for all.

“Novices are welcome,” she said. “We have boats that are stable that they can learn on, and coaches with experience in teaching the skills.

“Competitions are available at all levels – juniors through masters. And from local regattas geared toward novices, to national and international competitions.

“It all depends on what an individual wants to do,” she added. “Competing by members is NOT required. Recreational rowers who just want to learn, get some exercise, and commune with seals are welcome as well.”

 

For info on the club, email rowonwhidbey@gmail.com, or pop over to the club’s website at Rowing on Whidbey (rowonwhidbey.org).

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CeCe Aguda competes in the 2018 World Rowing Masters. (Photos courtesy Aguda)

Get in the boat.

The benefits of being a rower are many, and the opportunities for those who love being on the water are about to expand locally.

CeCe Aguda, a champion sculler, is at the forefront of a group, Rowing on Whidbey, which is holding a club introductory meeting this Thursday, March 4.

The creation of the club answers a big issue — how can you row, regardless of your skill level, without having to go off-Island.

“There is no facility here for rowing, so if you want to row team boats (as in not just a single by yourself) you have to drive to Bellingham, Everett, or Seattle,” Aguda said.

“I commuted to Seattle for two years, 2-3 times a week, to train at Pocock Rowing Center,” she added. “When I spoke with people on the Island about rowing, they wanted to see a local club so they could row here too.

“So I started working on it!”

While Aguda herself is a gold-medal-winning rower, she stresses the club is welcoming to anyone.

Women or men, young or old, experienced or not, there is opportunity for all.

“Novices are welcome,” she said. “We have boats that are stable that they can learn on, and coaches with experience in teaching the skills.”

The club will help those who want to compete, but also offer an outlet for those who just want to get on the water in a fun, low-stress environment.

“Competitions are available at all levels – juniors through masters,” Aguda said. “And from local regattas geared toward novices, to national and international competitions.

“It all depends on what an individual wants to do,” she added. “Competing by members is NOT required.  Recreational rowers who just want to learn, get some exercise, and commune with seals are welcome as well.”

The benefits of the sport are many.

“Rowing is an all-body workout, and low impact. It’s also the best cross-training for other endeavors as well,” Aguda said. “It is both a team and an individual sport, depending on what you want.

“There is always something to learn, and new people to row with, so you don’t get bored.”

Along with the physical benefits, rowing offers up a chance to be one with nature.

On the water in Oak Harbor.

“The sunrises and sunsets on the water are amazing,” Aguda said. “The opportunities for competition are there, and you can take it as far as you want to.

“The rowing community is incredible, and once you get connected, you will have friends all over the world,” she added. “When you travel, you can jump in a boat at another club and have an experience that you otherwise wouldn’t have.”

For Aguda herself, rowing was a big part of her college experience, as she was in the boat from 1983-1985 while studying at Johns Hopkins University.

After that, a bit of a break, then the big return.

“At that time (the ’80s) you basically needed to be an elite rower to continue, and I wasn’t,” Aguda said. “Life happened and I was away from rowing for 32 years, but then I started again in 2017.”

She picked up the oars again at the Whatcom Rowing Association in Bellingham, before joining the Pocock Rowing Center in Seattle.

Racing with sweep and sculling teams, she has attended an average of 15 regattas a year, hitting the water from Florida to Michigan to Boston and beyond.

Aguda was a gold medalist in multiple events at the Northwest Regionals Masters Championships, and claimed titles at Desert Sprints in Tempe, Arizona, before COVID shut down the racing season.

Now, she’s set on helping others experience some of the reward she gets from her time on the water.

Rowing on Whidbey is getting help from the George Pocock Rowing Foundation — HOME | Pocock Foundation — which helps “build and support high-quality programs and facilities that promote access to rowing, excellence in rowing, and use rowing as a means to foster physical activity, health, leadership, and community engagement.”

The club will hold a Zoom meeting from 6-7 PM this Thursday, and all are encouraged to virtually attend.

Aguda and her associates have an equipment manager in place, but are seeking a business manager, a facilities manager, and coaches.

If there is enough interest to form a youth club, parents will be involved, like a booster club.

Bringing in the next generation of rowers is key, both for the future growth of the club, and for the benefits which can reaped by the athletes themselves.

“There are lots of opportunities for youth to get rowing scholarships, both near Seattle, and across the country,” Aguda said. “If you can row in high school, many more doors will open for you. Especially for women.”

 

For more info on the club and Thursday’s meeting, email rowonwhidbey@gmail.com, or pop over to the club’s website at Rowing on Whidbey (rowonwhidbey.org).

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