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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

LaSalle Rowing Club making waves locally and nationally


by Garrett Fodor

As the cold weather and snow still persists, a local club has sights set on hitting the water in the coming weeks.

  For the LaSalle Rowing Club (LRC), flipping the calendar to April means preparing to switch from one season to the next, putting in the last work on the rowing machines before checking boats and hitting the water and competing. From November until April, club members train during the winter months at the club, located on Laurier Drive, before shifting to getting onto the water in April and May. The LRC features 80 athletes from the youth program up to the masters, seniors, and para-rowing programs. 

“For us, we are excited to be back and get onto the water as a club once again, these last couple years have been challenging,” Doug Diet, LRC President and Coach, said. “I think more people want to get outdoors now, be active, live a healthier lifestyle, and at LRC we hope to be an option for everyone.”

  Originating in 1970, originally under the Windsor Rowing Club, the organization has undergone a series of changes over the years, including moving to different locations before settling into a boathouse on Laurier Drive and eventually becoming incorporated in the Riverdance project in 2010 for the current boathouse.

The biggest change the LRC has undergone in recent years has been to equip themselves to support a para-rowing team, joining six other clubs to offer such programs in Ontario. 

  “We kept asking ourselves why the club did not offer the program and no one could really come up with a reason, so we developed a committee to help develop a plan on how to launch the program and coach the athletes,” Diet recounted. “The program is starting to really liven up in terms of people coming out. We have some people [who] mentioned they didn’t know they could actually row with disabilities, but as a club, we have the attitude that anything’s possible. We are really starting to see the para-rowing program grow.”

  Diet noted since introducing the para-rowing program, the LRC has been recognized by Sport Canada and Row Canada nationally. The LRC will now receive funding and will run a pilot program for the para-rowing program. He said he and the committee – which helped create it – are thrilled with the growth of the para-rowing program within the community. He noted as they continue to grow the program, he’s excited to create a network of coaches nationally, while continuing to adapt, solve problems, and make sure everyone is able to compete with their respective abilities.

  Closing out the indoor and training period, members of the LRC competed at the 2022 Ontario Ergometer Championships, with Eden Rathbone taking home the Club’s first Ontario Championship honours in the high school junior 145 lbs division, finishing three-seconds ahead of the next competitor. 

  Rathbone noted she has only been rowing for a few years and credits the support and training her teammates and coaches have provided at LRC. She added she has been rowing for three or four years, but has been learning each day and encourages anyone interested to try rowing and check out the LRC.

  For anyone interested in the LRC, Diet encourages them to visit their website lasallerowing.ca.

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