With the COVID-19 pandemic meaning UL Rowing Club was unable to recruit new members, coach with the club Frank Nugent feared the worst.
However, Nugent who is currently working as an assistant lecturer out of the Physcial Education and Sports Science (PESS) building in UL is proud of how the club has adapted.
Dr. Nugent said: “I think COVID has been a real challenge for sport at a university level. However, I am very proud of how ULRC have thrived under the many challenges we have faced over the past year. Nurturing a strong club culture is key.”
UL Rowing Club (ULRC) has a High Performance (HP) group consists of 21 rowers and 15 are on a UL sports scholarship.
Only the HP rowers were active in UL Rowing Club (ULRC) during level 5 restrictions as they were unable to recruit new rowers during semester one due to COVID restrictions.
“I feel that the ULRC club members have probably become closer as a result of COVID and the lockdowns. They appreciate time spent together as a group more than ever now while previously this might have been taken for granted.”
Currently, the training programme involves a minimum of 12 sessions per week as four sessions are supervised over Zoom by the head coach.
“High performance coach (James Mangan) or sports science intern (Ed Hartery) take these sessions while the remaining eight sessions are submitted via our team WhatsApp group. ” Nugent added.
The club recently competed at the virtual Provincial Irish Indoor Rowing Championships on November 21st.
They won three golds, two silvers and three bronze medals in the open men’s event, U23 men’s event and under-23 women’s event.
On November 28, 2020, ULRC held a fundraising event where the club rowed for 24 hours straight.
ULRC has already raised €700 and 30% of the funds will be donated to an Irish youth mental health charity (Jigsaw),
Nugent said: “The current development plan of the club has three aspects: First, recruit UL, LIT or Mary I students who haven’t rowed before into ULRC. Second, recruit high performance junior rowers into ULRC; Third, develop a high achieving club committee.”
Even during the pandemic and lockdown, the HP rowers still have a strong enthusiasm for training.
According to Dr. Nugent, a large amount of training equipment has been loaned to the 21 HP rowers in order to facilitate remote training – 19 rowing ergometers, six stationary bikes, 12 Olympic barbells, 25 dumbbells and nearly 3000kg of weightlifting plates.
“We are very fortunate to be well supported by UL C&S, UL Sport and the Limerick Training Center.” Dr. Nugent said.
Due to the impact of the pandemic, ULRC reduced member funds and fundraising capacity, resulting in huge losses.
“We have been very fortunate that Paul, Aisling and Karen in the UL C&S office and Neasa and Noreen in UL Sport have been very supportive to all clubs during this period and all options are being explored by them to help support clubs. ” Dr. Nugent said.
Nugent hopes the club will be able to recruit new members in semester two.
“The club is in an exciting place in its history and I think the members know that to. We look forward to a COVID free future.” Dr. Nugent added.
For more details on UL Rowing Club’s fundraising click the link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/f2tzbd-ul-rowing-club-24-hour-challenge?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cf%20share-flow-1&fbclid=IwAR0SQSQvGAnc_Tt9rjy62n2jM0acXpSdScPSEtc_aQZG5kNEfI_LGyY7FSo.