The Episcopal School in North Philadelphia

St. James students added a new skill set to their resume — rowing!

Thanks to a unique partnership with Philadelphia Gold Cup Challenge, students had the opportunity to train with experts (and even some Olympians) in the fundamentals of rowing. Gold Cup volunteers provided indoor rowing coaching to 20 sixth through eighth graders on a weekly basis at the Conshohocken Rowing Center. To cap their lessons, students practiced their new skills rowing on the Schuylkill River for the first time on Saturday, June 3rd.

“Our students have practiced near Boathouse Row,”explained Alex Brake, St. James School teacher, “but we have never gone out on the river. They were excited and nervous at the same time.”  Brake is a row enthusiast, and has been personally rowing for nine years.

After months of training, the students honed their rowing skills and improved their fitness. To celebrate the students’ successful training season — and in a run up to the historic Gold Cup Challenge — Olympic rowing champions and students from St. James School and other local schools participated in an exciting indoor relay race competition.

“Rowing is hard to learn and we were all very patient as the kids tried their techniques on the water,” said Brake. The students had a great time rowing on the river picking up additional training from their teachers and volunteer coaches.

Rowing is one of several enrichments St. James School offers to our students to build confidence, foster leadership, and open new doors of experience.

Added Brake, “Such a good day, such a great experience for everyone involved–I was proud to see the kids work so hard.”

The Philadelphia Gold Cup hopes to expand its middle school indoor rowing program in 2017 to encourage improved fitness and promote sculling among middle school and high school students. This coming fall, a fresh batch of St. James students will begin training to hit the water.