"Everyone has to do a capsize drill", words that I heard quite early on after starting my Learn to Row course in March, I’m sure the words were said with an evil little smirk – what’s the definition of Schadenfreude – pleasure derived from the pain of others? Or maybe I was just imaging that. I just put it to the back of my mind hoping everyone else would too. You may love being on the water and rowing but who loves to capsize? Maybe if you’re 10 years old ....
But not so lucky, the date was finally booked and loomed (a suitable rowing adjective I think). So about 30 of us turned up at Monkton Combe swimming pool for a capsize drill last week and most people seemed to be terrified; either of having to swim 100m fully clothed with 30 other people splashing around you or having to capsize, right the boat and climb back in and all of that done with an audience not only of fellow capsizers but also coaches plus members of the junior squad a even better a few parents who seemed to have arrived as if for a show, with coffee and sarnies and a ringside seat. It felt a bit like the X Factor moment when you’re up on stage and half the people want you to succeed but the other half are probably hoping for a disaster to occur and have a right old laugh. And of course we provided that in some measure.
Hysterical laughter seemed to be the order of the day which worked to stifle our fear a little and probably meant we inadvertently swallowed more pool water, joy. This is from someone who, as you can tell, is an Earth sign (not that I actually believe in that crap) and pretty keen on remaining on the earth and preferably remaining up "the right way up" so being upside down in the water holds the same appeal as a fart in a spacesuit as Billy Connolly would say. But surprise surprise, it turned out to be not so bad at all. Swim round the pool was over in minutes and by then you were soaking wet and not so bothered about getting more doused again. Then the junior helpers (Charlie, Max and Jack – what a team!) and coach Jeanette managed to be totally fabulous and making just about all of us feel in safe hands (apart from Emily who was tricked by Max and tipped over a little sooner than expected! Revenge at some point will be sweet). Everyone turned out to be rather British, forming an orderly queue and then clapping cheerily as each person went through the drill and survived. So I can honestly say it wasn’t that bad. But we only have to do it once, right?