Port Rowers Continue To Flourish In An Unprecedented Time

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Reilly Katz (right) with coach Isa Abdur-Rahman after winning her race. (Photo courtesy of Port Rowing)

Nothing is stopping the Port Rowing team during quarantine. The team is continuing to practice from the comfort of their own homes. Port Rowing’s young athletes are even receiving personal feedback from their coaches on how to improve and what steps they can take to become even stronger during this difficult time.

Each rower was given an erg and a set of workouts to complete. The workouts are to be completed daily and filmed in order for the coaches to provide them with accurate feedback. The athletes and coaches think the plethora of at-home exercises and workout sessions will give the team the opportunity to stay strong and prepare for next season.

“We are making the most of a difficult situation,” high school girls head coach Isa Abdur-Rahman said. “By the use of modern technology available to each individual, we are able to make technological improvements, build skill and fitness and continue to provide an enriching experience for each athlete.”

The Port Rowing team is moving forward with their season in a unique way. Rowing is the only sport that is still in session in the region, and Port has the opportunity to provide each of their athletes with a personal erg and workout calendar. Completing virtual workouts are giving athletes the opportunity to strengthen their skills for the coming season. It gives them a light at the end of the tunnel, while also passing the time.

“While it was certainly difficult to start the season with the team together outdoors and then [being forced to] split up, we have still seen steady improvements in fitness over these first three weeks in quarantine,” high school boys head coach Mike MacMinn said.

“It’s especially hard on the seniors. But overall, these kids have great attitudes, care quite a bit about staying accountable to each other, and continue to prioritize their personal athletic development. This is a team that loves to work hard and has a ton of fun doing it. We’ve come a long way since August, and we plan to be fully prepared when the next race opportunity presents itself.”

With online learning during the day and practices at night, these athletes are performing almost as if they are physically in the gym with their teammates. It allows the young rowers to stay on schedule and be kept motivated during a time where puzzles and baking is the only thing to do.

“I think virtual crew will ultimately help us in the long run, especially for the eighth-grade team in preparing us for high school,” middle school rower Sydney Silverstein said. “For me, even just a few weeks of no crew in between seasons hurt my skill, technique, and strength tremendously. Once we get used to online training, I hope I can gain my strength back and like it as much as regular practice. I think this will be a great help in improving our skills and being ready for regattas when we this is all over.”

“During this unprecedented time, when our kids are facing so many disruptions and problems, Port Rowing quickly focused on finding solutions,” board member and mother Theresa Hughes said. “While other teams may have been forced to come to a halt, Port Rowing’s athletes have maintained continuity–with a little virtual creativity-as they continue to work out [seven days per week], stay connected [with Zoom meetings], improve their performance [with video feedback and indoor regattas] and lend support to one another [with captain-led core workouts and group chats]. The kids are engaged, challenged, having fun and realizing their athletic potential.”

Aside from making the most of a difficult situation during the apex of the coronavirus, the Port Rowing team has shown major improvements from last season.

Sophomore Reilly Katz has been rowing a great deal and creating new records for the team. Katz rocked the Crash B’s regatta and was the first to place in her age category. She posted the fastest time on the day (7:08.9) for all women at the high school level. Since that race, Katz is now second in the 2,000-meter dash in Port Rowing’s girls rowing history.

“She has made big strides in improving this year both in technical skill and rowing fitness,” Abdur-Rahman said.

The Port Rowing community will only continue to support and praise such athletes and this unique at home season will allow this to happen.

“Port Rowing believes that the row must go on and has adapted to offer an online training program due to the pandemic,” executive director Kari Hammer said. “By continuing to offer our rowing program, we are able to keep our athletes physically active, which is great for both their physical and mental health. Plus, when it comes time to get back on the water, our teams will be string and ready to compete without missing a beat.”

The Port Rowing community is only continuing to grow each season. The athletes and coaches are dedicated to their work and commitment to the team.

If you are interested or want more information on how to get involved or information on upcoming events and programs , visit www.portrowing.org or email info@portrowing.org.

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