The club (yet to be named) is the first for the American Samoan Rowing Association, the first coastal rowing club in the Pacific and the second rowing club in the region (after the Port Vila Rowing Club in Vanuatu).

The first recruits included six male and two female rowers who completed a learn to row course under the instruction of John Parker from the United States and supported by Andrew MacKenzie from Australia/Vanuatu. The week ended with the running of a six kilometre time trial followed by a beach sprints competition.

In September the World Rowing Federation, FISA, conducted a development camp and technical coaching course. This was made possible by the support of the American Samoan National Olympic Committee, Olympic Solidarity and the American Samoan Rowing Association (ASRA). The camp hosted athletes from Vanuatu in preparation for the 2019 World Coastal Rowing Championships to be held in Hong Kong from the 1-3 November.

American Samoa coastal rowing club © FISA

 

The camp was the result of two years of planning though the Oceania Rowing Conference who collaborated with World Rowing’s Rowing For All Commission to purchase four coxed quadruple sculls and four solo (singles). The money was raised by the Norbert Krenn Memorial Tour Rowing Development Fund, the FISA Tour Rowing Development Fund and the 2019 World Rowing Tour in New Zealand. World Rowing had previously funded the transport costs of three indoor rowing machines donated by Concept2.

On top of the training, five rowers from Vanuatu and three coaches from American Samoa successfully completed the FISA level one coaching course.

“Rowing is in our blood here in the Pacific,” says Louis Sol’aita, President of the ASRA. “We have been rowing Fautasi long boats in competition for almost 100 years.”

American Samoa, Fautasi long boats © FISA

 

Sol’aita believes that his new form of the sport will provide new opportunities for the youth in American Samoa. “Already a number of school kids have asked about joining in the hope of gaining experience to apply for college scholarships at US universities,” says Sol’aita who sees that the opportunities for the athletes as life changing.

The club hopes to have a name by the start of the World Rowing Coastal Championships so the athletes can represent the world’s newest rowing club and the first coastal rowing club in the Pacific.

To support these initiatives please visit the Norbert Krenn Memorial Tour Rowing Development Fund homepage.