Several years ago, my friend Elizabeth Burke and I rowed twice a week through the Seattle winter. We ventured out without fail as dawn was breaking - rowing two single shells or a double. We'd row from the Fremont Bridge to the Chittenden Locks and back, or maybe across Lake Union and on to Lake Washington. Sometimes we'd come back to our home at the Lake Washington Rowing Club and wipe the ice off our boats. But we always came back with an irrefutable sense of moral superiority! We'd done it again!

Rowing - particularly Rowing Through the Winter - provides a richness of metaphors...instructive in my life as a Family Physician and the Home Dialysis CarePartner for my profoundly ill husband, Steve Williams. Now that Steve is gone, rowing reminds me of consistency and focus - so critical during grieving. Rowing requires balance, as does my life.

Row with me this winter. Linda Gromko, MD

Friday, February 18, 2011

A New Way to Teach Sculling?

This week, I turned out for a Women's Sweep Group. Both days - undoubtedly hampered by weather, there were only two of us present - plus our very patient coach, George.

We wanted to get out in the water - no erging for Linda!

And even though my new friend Marcia had never sculled before, we took out a double wherry! I stroked, and she followed. The first day's row was a bit tentative - but on the second day, we rowed to the locks and back with no major difficulty!

Could this be a new way to teach sculling?

Perhaps. Here's what I noticed:

1.   Rowing a double wherry is a fabulous strength work-out! Like rowing a tugboat, maybe!

2.   The "follower" doesn't have to worry about tipping; the boat is set by the stroke.

3.   The "follower" can copy rhythm, ratio, and body position.

4.    Rather than being on a leash at the wherry dock, you get to cover some ground!

I remember that rowing to the Ballard Bridge was a very big deal in Learn-to-Row Classes. The Locks would have been way out of reach.

I acknowledge that the "follower" could pick up the stroke's bad habits - but we certainly had fun.

Thanks, George, for helping us with this slightly unorthodox method. We had a wonderful time. We'll get to sweep rowing next week!

Take care,
Linda Gromko, MD

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