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      Rowing club prepares for national competition

      The lake water is calm, smooth as glass. The perfect conditions for rowing.

      "The water is like a mirror, it's quiet, and we are just flying along," says Gail Brayden of the Upper Peninsula Community Rowing Club. "We're just like an arrow shot from a bow."

      Since 2004, the rowing club has been here in Marquette County. This Thursday through Sunday they will be competing in their first ever U.S. Rowing Masters National Championships.

      "There will be people from all over the United States there to compete as clubs," says Ann Pierson of UPCRC. "It's an opportunity to see how well we do against other teams."

      Sixteen club members have entered sixteen events: single and double sculling, meaning two oars per rower, four person and eight person boats sweep rowing with just one oar per rower.

      "This is a big deal for all of the masters-level rowers," says Pierson. "There will be former Olympians, former collegiate rowers and there will be beginners too, so all different levels and abilities. Everything is age handicapped, so there will be races for people in their 70s and 80s even."

      The UPCRC has over 100 members from 14 years old into their mid-70's. Even though rowing is physically demanding, people of all ages can do it.

      "It definitely keeps going, that's the beauty of it because it's joint sparing, it's not like running where you're pounding your joints," says Brayden. "This is non-weight bearing but as far as calories burned per minute, this is the most aerobic activity there is, so in terms of total body fitness, this is kind of the best bang for your buck in terms of time spent."

      The UPCRC has competed in regattas before, but never at the masters level. This event requires practice. They're on the water an hour a day, seven days a week

      "I think we've made ourselves proud, that we can compete very favorably with other community club boats," says Brayden. "Some of the former Olympians can definitely take us though."