Over 140 secondary school students and 18 volunteers from Galway City attended the first Connacht #Blitzit2016 Challenge which took place at NUI Galway. The challenge, a curriculum within the Get Going, Get Rowing programme, saw students competing in a series of physical challenges, culminating in an indoor rowing challenge covering a total of 90,000m to symbolise the distance from Galway to Rio.
The Get Going, Get Rowing programme in Connacht gives secondary school pupils the opportunity to actively engage with a new sport on NUI Galway’s campus or within the students’ own schools. The programme is run by Rowing Ireland who received funding from The Irish Sports Council (ISC) Women in Sport initiative in 2014. In November 2014, Rowing Ireland joined forces with NUI Galway to to jointly fund the Get Going, Get Rowing programme in Connacht.
Mike Heskin, recently appointed Director of Sport and Physical Activity at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway, as one of the major rowing universities in Ireland, is delighted to be involved with Rowing Ireland in this very exciting project. As 2016 will be a very exciting year for rowing, with Ireland being represented by two crews in Rio, I hope events such as this will inspire those taking part to have aspirations to be the best they can be and possibly compete in an Olympic Games in the future. ”
The NUI Galway Schools’ Challenge commenced with a flurry of activity where groups of 25 students in five separate groups rotated from one activity to the next at high speed. They finished the challenge by completing 40 minutes of racing on indoor rowing machines. This was then followed by a series of talks on nutrition, mindful movements and the positive effects of physical activity on academic results.
The Get Going, Get Rowing programme also offers schools a training course, TrY rowing, to Transition Year students and provides coaching sessions in these schools upon completion of the course. To date, over 50 TrY students have become coaches and the programme provided indoor rowing machines (ergometers) to schools who have completed the TrY rowing and who have fully engaged with the programme.