While many have been stuck at home and isolated during the lockdown, Rowing Ireland has continued to create engaging and innovative programmes to keep our members (and non-members) active through the most recent lockdown.

Towards the end of January, Derek Bowen, Rowing Irelands recently appointed Get Going Get Rowing Manager, launched the new initiative to keep Rowing Ireland’s members engaged and supported throughout these challenging times and participants get to row with role models in our sport.

Row with the Pro’s involves online zoom rowing machine sessions hosted by former Olympians, World Medallist’s and Indoor world record holders. With a core group of Instructors including Niall O’Toole (World Gold Medallist and three- times Olympian), Claire Lambe (2016 Rio Olympic Finalist), Neville Maxwell (multi–World Medallist and double Olympian), Katie O Brien(World Para Medallist 2019), Brendan Dolan (World Medallist and Olympian) Natalie Long (Irish High-Performance team member) and Kenny MacDonald (World indoor record-holder), the online zoom classes called “Row with the Pros” kicked off during the last week of January with a session on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

These two classes proved so popular that Rowing Ireland had to extend their zoom account with nearly 300 people signing on for the initial two classes. Due to these classes’ popularity, Rowing Ireland offered the school children of Ireland a February mid-term online training camp with five classes being offered over the five days of the mid-term. Derek also recognised that not everyone had a rowing machine at home, so Rowing Ireland offered Strength and Conditioning, Core, Pilates and Yoga classes for their members and for the general public.

The February mid-term camp was a huge success, with over 1,000 people signing up for the classes over the five days. Stemming from these five classes’ popularity, Rowing Ireland continues to engage members and non-members weekly through zoom by offering four to five varied free classes every week. 


Participants have said they find the programme engaging and fulfilling due to the variety of world-class instructors and the range of classes on offer. We have collected some feedback from participants to share their experience in taking part of the programme.

“I really love these sessions. The variety of presenter and session is something I look forward to and keeps it all very fresh. It’s fun to know it’s with a group and not just me in my shed. My erging technique is improving as the trainers focus on technique a lot.”

“It’s super cool to be erging with Olympians, World and Irish champions and also knowing that my teammates are rowing in the group at the same time.”

“I am really enjoying the row with the pros sessions; they are excellent. I don’t have an erg, so I have been doing the other sessions, and it’s great to have a variety of sessions that are not just erg. As a coach, the sessions have made me make time for my own training and given me ideas for my own zoom sessions. I have also been encouraging junior members of my club to take part too, and those who have attended have also really enjoyed the sessions.”

“I have found them so good, and the variety with all the various leaders has ensured no boredom!

As a relatively new para rower, I am delighted that Rowing Ireland have acknowledged the para rowers on the sessions, and leaders have given extra tips for us.”

Sign up for free

To date, over 5000 people from over 50 river, coastal and offshore rowing clubs around Ireland have taken part in these weekly training classes. The age range of those taking part is from 12 years of age to mid-70’s.  Amazingly 20% of participants are not members of rowing clubs but have just taken part to keep active during lockdown. Rowing Ireland continues to offer these free online zoom classes “Row with the Pros” to people around Ireland weekly.

If you’re looking for something new, different, innovative to keep you active at home, why not log on and give it a go.

You can sign up for the free online classes with Rowing Ireland at https://www.rowingireland.ie/row-with-the-pros-booking-sessions/