GREAT Britain’s thrilling rowing victories at the Olympics has led to a surge of interest in a local club.
Team GB took gold in the men’s coxless four on Super Saturday by edging out Australia in a dramatic race at Eton Dorney.
Pete Reed, Andy Triggs Hodge, Tom James and Alex Gregory put on a spectacular display to add the national medal haul.
In the next race Sophie Hosking and Katherine Copeland won gold in the lightweight women’s double sculls, before Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase took silver in the lightweight men’s double sculls.
The tally of four gold medals, two silvers and three bronze medals makes London 2012 the most successful Olympic regatta ever for British rowing.
Paul Dobson, secretary of Swindon Rowing Club, which meets at Coate Water , said: “We have been very busy over the past couple of weeks taking calls from
people who want to join.
“We also held an open day on Saturday for people wanting to take part.
“The Olympics have led to a lot of interest and it is not just from the sporty people you would normally associate with the sport.
“We have had a couple of ladies coming along to have a go for the first time and we cater for ages 14 upwards.”
Mr Dobson believes the rowing triumphs will inspire a new generation of athletes.
He said: “It’s fantastic, absolutely amazing.
“The inspiration was already there through Sir Steve Redgrave but it has been carried on at this year’s Olympics.
“British rowing is due to get £27m in funding because of these successes, which will help the sport even more.”
The small, friendly club practises on 1000m of sheltered, uncrowded water. Programmes include adult, junior and recreational with beginners and masters sections.
“The main benefits are fitness and recreation though you can take it as far as you like,” Mr Dobson said.
“A lot of people start in order to get fit and then take it further and take part in regattas.”
Ben Ainslie’s gold, making him the most decorated Olympic sailor ever, has also led to new members at Bowmoor Sailing Club, which is based in Lechlade.
Commodore Douglas Roberts said: “We had a couple of people join on Sunday and it’s been pretty positive.
“I don’t think it will be a big lift to the sport as sailing already had quite a high profile from the last Olympic Games.
“I think it takes a lot to change people’s ideas and make them want to go out and do something new.
“I think it’s a gradual thing.”
For more information about Swindon Rowing Club visit www.britishrowing.org/clubs/swindon-rc or call 01793 740092 For more information about the sailing club visit www.bowmoor.co.uk