Balance and teamwork; rowing teaches much more than technique

Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2014, 10:40 am
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Todd Welvaert,
For Deidrah Kennedy, it happens when all the rowers in the boat find it, a unique mix of rhythm and ratio that makes you part of something bigger.

"It's probably like a lot of sports that once you get it, it's one of the most amazing experiences you can have" Ms. Kennedy, of Rock Island, said. "It's a great way to learn how to work with a team, and when that happens you can feel the boat kind of become balanced. When the people in the boat work together, and you find yourself on a good, set boat, there's just nothing like it. You feel like you are part of something out there, a part of a bigger community."

She's been working as a rowing instructor at the Two Rivers YMCA for about three years but has been around the sport for 15. She also coaches Augustana College's crew teams.

She and her family have been active members in the rowing community, first with the former Quad Cities Rowing Association. She got interested in rowing when her brothers and sisters started rowing. In 2002, she started rowing as a member of the Junior Rowing Club.

"Rowing teaches you to be a part of something bigger," she said. "You have to overcome obstacles on the river, you have to communicate, you have to listen. We start on a machine inside, off the river, so you have proper technique and know a little of what to expect out there. Then you move to the water with some more experienced rowers."

According to Augustana College's website, the "Augustana crew team got its start in the fall of 1998. The team is comprised of women and men, and it offers both a novice rowing program and a varsity program for the most competitive, experienced rowers. Crew is one of 11 club sports at Augustana."

Ms. Kennedy also likes that it's a way to give back to the community and be involved.

"We have people from 7th grade to 50 or 60 years old; it's a wide range of people interested," she said. "Some people are looking for a new way to exercise and some people did it in college and want to do it again, or some just want to try a new experience.

Rowing is a non-weight-bearing sport that exercises all the major muscle groups and improves cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength.

"(Rowing's) been in the area a lot longer than people think," Ms. Kennedy said. "At the boathouse, we say it's one of the Quad-Cities' best-kept secrets."

Learn more about rowing
The Y Quad Cities Rowing offers programs for recreation and for competition for ages 14 and above and all abilities. The rowing program is based out of the Sylvan Boathouse, 1701 1st Ave., Moline. To learn more about rowing at Two Rivers YMCA, go to

One of the club's bigger events is the upcoming 2014 Quad Cities Classic Regatta on Saturday, Oct. 11. The Regatta attracts boats, rowers and teams from throughout the Midwest.


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