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Busy Olderfleet Rowing Club Gets Teens Out on the Water at Larne

21st June 2021
Olderfleet Rowing Club is going from strength to strength with 97 members at Larne
Olderfleet Rowing Club is going from strength to strength with 97 members at Larne

The only similarity between the Viking ships that raided Larne Lough in the ninth century and the boats used by the Olderfleet Rowing Club is that they are slender. The name 'Olderfleet' is thought to be a corruption of Ulfrecksfiord (or Ulfried's Fjord), the Viking name for Larne Lough, which lies on the east coast of County Antrim. It is a busy ferry port connecting with Cairnryan in Scotland.

The Club, which offers social and competitive coastal rowing along the Antrim coast, was founded early last year by Barbara Johnston, and with the help of the local business community, the club is going from strength to strength with 97 members and plans for continued growth. Not only that, but Olderfleet Rowing Club is proudly supporting Friends of the Cancer Centre and as well as raising money and awareness of the charity, the club will be giving teenagers and young adults with cancer the opportunity to get out on the water and try rowing for themselves.

Olderfleet Rowing Club, which has members of all ages, trains Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays on Larne Lough and the open seaOlderfleet Rowing Club, which has members of all ages, trains Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays on Larne Lough and the open sea

The club's base is beside the East Antrim Boat Club slip, giving access to the sheltered lough and the Co Antrim coast. The boats, two quads and two doubles, are kept in containers, and the club recently received a grant for a portacabin beside EABC.

Commenting on what inspired her to start her own rowing club, Barbara said: "I come from a rowing family, and I have been rowing myself for eight years. It is an incredible sport that I have fallen in love with, and I decided to establish my own club earlier this year. Olderfleet Rowing Club opened in February, and with the help and support of James Boomer and Norman Black, we are building a really great community".

Norman Black is one of the club's founders and a constant driving force. He coxes and coaches and is a long time Antrim Coast rower. The club is fortunate to have as Club coach James Boomer, who coached at two commonwealth regattas, Canada and Scotland. He was Head Coach for the Scottish regatta when Northern Ireland won its first-ever Gold. He has also coached Irish Junior level rowers at Home Internationals. He explains his outlook; "Coaching ranges from absolute beginners to seasoned racers, with a focus on personal, technical and crew development. Everyone is given the same opportunities to let them develop their rowing ability. Rowing is a truly wonderful sport, and I am only too glad to help people achieve their goals".

The club, which has members of all ages, trains Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays on Larne Lough and the open sea.

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down.

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