APPLETON (NBC26) — The best kept secret in the valley… that’s what local rower Peter Carman calls the Fox Valley Rowing Club.
"I’ve lived here since 2004 and I just found out about it three and half, four years ago," Carman said. "I’ve been a member for three years.”
One of the club’s alumni is going on to compete in this year’s Tokyo Olympics. Maddie Wanamaker was a part of the club in high school and went on to row at UW-Madison.
“The last go-around of the Olympics she made it as an alternate but now she actually made the team. So she’s part of the four-woman boat,” Carman said.
So what does it take to become an Olympic rower? Peter says rowers can start to learn at a wide range of ages.
"We have members of the group that are in high school, 16,17, all the way up our oldest member I believe is 85 years old," Carman said. "The reason why you can do it your whole life basically is it’s pretty low-impact on all your joints.”
Rowers can compete solo, or in teams of two, four or eight.
“In the one and the two what you’re doing is called sculling which is where you have two oars," Carman said. "In a four and an eight you’re doing what’s called sweep rowing. Sweep rowing is where you just have one oar and that’s what a lot of people are used to seeing in the Olympics.”
Peter says the keys to having good technique are sitting up straight, finding your center of gravity, and keeping your balance.
“It’s really a fluid steady motion with power is what you’re looking for and to keep the boat even so it’s not rocking one side or the other," Carman said.
That technique - combined with hard work - is what can take anyone from a beginner to an Olympic rower. Peter says the club can’t wait to cheer Maddie on when rowing at the Olympics begins on July 23rd.
"A lot of the members have been members 15, 20 years so they know her," Carman said. "So that’s exciting for the people in the area, exciting for the club.”
The Fox Valley Rowing Club is having Learn to Row classes this summer July 23-25th and August 6-8th at the Telulah Park boathouse. No rowing experience is necessary. You can register at the Appleton Parks and Recreation website.