Adaptive Rowing

Adaptive Rowing

At ILRC we have a deeply shared common goal.  This is to provide an opportunity to our community to participate in rowing, -  this includes the broad spectrum of our community.

Rowing is a sport that can be readily adapted to persons who have either cognitive or physical disabilities.  Learning the skills moving a rowing shell through the water is a satisfying experience for all rowers.  Rowers with disabilities have found this experience to be a fun and empowering one.  The sport of rowing is a safe and effective tool in developing the skills of goal setting, teamwork, discipline and fitness through the challenging environment of sculling. Adaptive rowers will be responsible for providing their own transportation to the club.

All rowers will wear a specially designed personal floatation device and a coach/ safety motor boat will accompany each rowing boat.

For Persons with Cognitive Disabilities

For many years the Island lake Rowing Club has offered an adaptive rowing program to the developmentally disabled students of Orangeville District Secondary School and to the Special Friend’s Club from Hillsburgh.  We are able to offer a one-on-one mentorship.  This program is based on a 4-6 session Learn to Row format requiring 1 – 1 ½ hours twice a week for 3-4 weeks. Each participant is taught the basics of rowing with an added emphasis on life skills development teaching the values of teamwork and communication while building self-confidence. Coaches for this program are selected for their excellent communication and leadership skills.

The following is a breakdown of the program:

SESSION 1 Getting To Know You – Students will meet the coaches and begin to build their mentor/ student relationship as well as become familiar with the equipment and review safety guidelines for on and off the water.

SESSION 2 Building A Team – With an emphasis on teamwork, coaches will instruct students on the movement of the boat and the rowing stroke. This will be a dock session.

SESSION 3 On The Dock – Students will review the rowing stroke and begin to row with each other and their mentors in synchronization.

SESSION 4, 5, 6 On The Water – Students and mentors will venture out on the water to perfect their rowing skills.  All on-water sessions will be dependent on weather. Coaches will make the final decision. The final session will include a celebration of each student’s efforts and achievements.

For Persons with Physical Disabilities

This year the club will expand the adaptive program to provide rowing for persons with physical disabilities.  Persons who fit this program are teens and adults with 1) leg, or leg and trunk disabilities (including using a wheel chair). 2) visual impairment.

Adaptive persons are interested in rowing for the same reasons as able-bodied persons. Some are interested in competitive opportunities and others are looking for general fitness and recreation.  The goal of our program is to provide the opportunity for persons to learn the skills of rowing – particularly targeting recreational rowing.  Rowers may progress to competitive adaptive racing if desired.

Rowing is done in a specially adapted recreational single ( one person) which is fitted with pontoons and a double (two persons – with one person being the coach).  Seating and support is customized to the specific needs of the rower.  A coach/safety motor boat will accompany each rowing boat.  The program will operate for 2 months beginning in July for approximately two days per week of rowing.  We will fit the rowing time to the availability of the rower and the club coaches.  e.g. evenings or day time.

The program is operated by the coaching staff of the ILRC and will provide as many personnel as required to assist the rower.  This summer we will have a second dock in place which will be wheel chair accessible.

As this is a relatively new program it will be limited to a few rowers to ensure that our staff can support them and provide a quality experience.  Adaptive rowers will be responsible for providing their own transportation to the club.  There is no fee for this program.

For a very detailed source of information about adaptive rowing go to the Rowing Canada web site

Before registering for Adaptive Rowing please discuss this program with Ken Norris (Physical D.) or Jenn Meeker (Cognitive D.)before completing our registration form / waiver .  Our registration section has complete information along with our Island Lake Safety Code and Management of Emergencies. for more information, please inquire at

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