Ely club offers a route to success for wide spectrum of rowers

SINCE its formation in 2004, the Isle of Ely Rowing Club has aimed to cater for a wide spectrum of competitors from junior and adult beginners to national and even international level.

The club’s popular adult learn-to-row courses are part of a British Rowing scheme aimed at increasing participation in the sport at a recreational rather than competitive level.

This year the regional participating clubs, Broxbourne, Bedford, Northampton and Peterborough, were invited to attend a special regatta in Ely in June. The event was preceded by a service in Ely Cathedral commemorating a former Dean of Ely, Charles Merivale, who helped inspire the first University Boat Race in 1829.

After the service two of his direct descendants rowed from Ely to the club where they gave the signal to start the regatta. In the various events the home club produced some fine performances with particular prowess being demonstrated by Dan Gullon, Peter Swan, Sarah Pool, Emma Waddelow and Richard Swan

Later in the month the club registered its first Henley Women’s Regatta success when Lizzie Polgreen won the lightweight women’s single sculls – the Fiona Dennis Trophy – beating a strong field from clubs throughout Great Britain.

She was also successful in the same category two weeks ago when she won the British National Championships at Nottingham.

These same championships brought yet more success for the Isle of Ely when Dan Clift, building on his win at under-23 level in Nottingham last year, won the open single sculls event.

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Dan is currently looking for financial support to enable him to continue with his training next year. Should any organisation or individual wish to sponsor this potential Olympian please contact chairman@elyrowingclub.org.uk.

Events planned for later this year further demonstrate the breadth of the club’s endeavours. On August 25, Michael Slattery, a winner of the Cambridgeshire Overcoming Adversity award in 2007, will carry the Paralympic flame by boat to Jubilee Gardens accompanied by a club flotilla.

Just a week later, the Denver to Ely Marathon will involve boats rowing over the slightly longer distance of 22km. This event will take place on September 2