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Coastal rowing camp officially introduces new sport to American Samoa

A look at the daily classroom instruction
Source: ASRA

Utulei, AMERICAN SAMOA — The American Samoa Rowing Association (ASRA) has successfully launched coastal rowing in American Samoa, having just completed the very first ever coastal rowing camp in the region. The 7-day camp, which was funded by World Rowing (FISA), involved daily early-morning and afternoon training sessions as well as daily classroom instruction, all conducted by World Rowing coach John Parker and Vanuatu Rowing coach Dr. Andrew Mackenzie.

“It was a grueling week, a lot of hard work but we are grateful for this awesome opportunity.” said ASRA president Louis Solaita. “ASRA has been working hard over the past 2 years in partnership with World Rowing to finally get us to this point and it is very gratifying to see the progress the Association and sport have made.”

ASRA head coach Paula Stevenson-McDonald added, “Our athletes — Toa Scanlan, Lele Apo, Isaia Rea, Sene Isileli Jr., and Nua Anoa’i all did great. They worked together with and learned from the Vanuatu athletes and created new friendships along the way too. Our ASRA coaches, myself included, also learned a great deal and have received certification from World Rowing and are ready to get to work.”

Coastal rowing is a relatively new sport that is gaining popularity across the globe. While very similar to regular rowing, coastal rowing utilizes boats that are designed to withstand coastal or open ocean conditions.

To help launch the sport in American Samoa, World Rowing donated 2 quads (4-man boats) and 2 singles to ASRA with the goal of adding to the fleet of boats within the coming year. It is the goal of World Rowing to see coastal rowing included as an Olympic sport by 2024.

“With the camp now complete, we are planning to develop programs for the public. We’ve received a great deal of interest and we are excited about that. We will introduce programs to develop athletes for competition as well as programs for those who just want to try the sport for fun and fitness.” said ASRA president Louis Solaita. “Thank you again to all of our partners for their continued support — World Rowing, Dr. Andrew MacKenzie, coach John Parker, the ASRA board, ASNOC president Imo, Secretary General Lake and all of the volunteers. A special thanks also to District Governor Alo Dr. Paul Stevenson for his support.”

For more information on the ASRA, please contact ASRA president Louis Solaita at 733-1317.