Rowers push for world’s best times

Sonny Grant (nearest) doing his 1.000 metre test alongside Friendship Rowing Club captain Luke Clarkson, Jack Kelly and Morgann Russell.

Sonny Grant (nearest) doing his 1.000 metre test alongside Friendship Rowing Club captain Luke Clarkson, Jack Kelly and Morgann Russell.

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With winter fitness and conditioning sessions back in full swing after the festive period, officials at the Friendship Rowing Club in Whitby are delighted with the progress of their young rowers.

Many of them are returning performances that put them in the top levels in the world.

Ben Betts and Callum Halley working out on the SkiErgs

Ben Betts and Callum Halley working out on the SkiErgs

As Steve Wilson, the club’s performance director, said: “As part of our regular testing programme, we ask everyone to undertake a 1,000 metre row on the ergometer machines.

“We then compare the results against a database maintained by the leading rowing equipment manufacturer.

“This gives rankings from all over the world based on age and gender. Overall, we are extremely pleased with the results, especially in the under 20 age brackets.”

While nobody has yet managed to record a world’s best time, several rowers are ranked in the top half dozen.

Fifteen-year-old Amy Clarkson and Kelly Betts (20) are both ranked third in their categories, Sonny Grant (13) is 5th, with 14-year-olds Owen Grant and Callum Halley ranked 3rd and 6th respectively and 17-year-old Jack Stewart 11th.

In the older age brackets, James Kendrew is 3rd and Laura Parkin 8th, while in the adult category, Rebecca Smith ranked 5th.

Club Captain Luke Clarkson is upbeat.

“It’s great to see Whitby rowers up there with the best in the world,” he said, “and it speaks volumes for the facilities and coaching we enjoy at the club.

“It would be nice to think this will encourage even more people to take up rowing to keep our traditional sport alive.”

This view is echoed by Mike Brown, the club President. “We cater for everyone from age 10 to 70,” he said, “and coastal rowing has a proud history in Whitby. It’s good to see the next generation coming through so strongly, and I hope we can attract even more people to take up the sport through our efforts.”

The club enjoys an air conditioned gym, nine rowing machines, two skierg machines and a full range of free weights available.

Training sessions are on Monday and Thursday nights at the Friendship club. Under 16s start at 5.30pm, and adults at 6pm.

New members are welcome, especially those with no previous rowing experience.