Rowing is one of the most strenuous sports out there that requires a lot of commitment to frequent training sessions and isn't something people tend to take lightly. 


Latymer Upper School is no exception and has garnered a number of eminent rowing awards that have contributed to its outstanding reputation since the boat club's conception over a century ago. Most notably, Latymer won the Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup at the Henley Regatta in both 2013 and 2019. There are also many Latymer alumni that have gone on to become distinguished rowers such as Andy Holmes who won gold in the men's coxed four in the 1984 Olympics. 


While hearing about these achievements, it can be easy to overlook the arduous preparation that rowers undergo for these races. Elena Yu, a veteran rower of three years at Latymer, recently spoke to me about her typical weekly routine and I burned calories just listening to her descriptions. "Every week we have approximately eight sessions," said Yu. "We usually have three to four water sessions and the rest are gym or erg." Knowing next to nothing about rowing, I quizzed her on what an 'erg' was. It is apparently the colloquial term for "rowing machines which simulate rowing on the water" according to Yu.


I asked Yu how Covid affected rowing and her frustration with the situation was palpable. "Covid has impacted rowing a lot... obviously, we can't gather in one place at one time with multiple boat clubs so a lot of races have been cancelled which has been really annoying," she explained. However, the rowers are expected to maintain optimal fitness levels even in the interim. "They send us a lot over the holidays… like high intensity workouts, pieces to do on the rowing machine or go on a run if you don't have a rowing machine at home," said Yu. 


Despite the demanding schedule, Yu expressed her enjoyment of rowing and is grateful for the rowing coaches' unwavering zeal for the sport. "They do push us quite a lot which is helpful to an extent because sometimes you do need some kind of motivation," said Yu.


Hopefully, when Covid restrictions have eased, Latymer will be able to preserve their formidable rowing reputation and blow the competition out of the water (not literally).