Rower Connection: Larry Gilman

Larry rowing 7 seat in an FVRA mixed eight in 2018

How did you find the sport of rowing? Or did it find you?

Back in 2013, I was riding bikes with the Appalachian Mountain Club. One of the other riders decided he wanted to try rowing at Riverfront and I went along to try it too. He stopped after one session and 11 years later, I’m still at it.

What do you enjoy most about the sport? What do you enjoy most about FVRA? What keeps you coming back for more?

I enjoy the fact that it’s a full-body workout. I’ve had 2 knee replacements over the last 13 years and it’s something I’m still able to do with no problems… I enjoy the people most. It’s a great group. Everyone works together to make rowing fun for everyone… I lift weights 1-2 times a week, but nothing beats rowing for exercise. I raced with a few people at Riverfront who are in their late seventies and eighties now and are still going strong. I don’t plan to stop anytime soon.

Do you have any rowing-related goals for the 2024 season? What are they?

Last year was my first full year of sculling. I enjoyed rowing in the Quad and hope to do a lot more of that this year. I’d also like to do more sweeping than we were able to do last year. Hopefully, with some new people, we can do that. As I get older (I’m 67 this year) I still try to hit the times I had when I was sprint racing. I can still hit the numbers, but for much shorter distances… lol

Larry (orange) training in an FVRA Racing Team 4x during the 2023 summer season

Are you facing any challenges in the sport, and how are you overcoming them?

As I said earlier, I’m new to sculling. I rowed in sweep boats for nine years. Sculling is a real challenge, going from one to two oars. Katie and Ryan are excellent teachers and very patient. Hopefully, with their help, I’ll be as successful with sculling as I was with sweeping.



Larry (far left) after racing in the Mens Masters 4x at Head of the Riverfront 2023

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to start rowing?

Learn the basics before being concerned about going fast (Katie and Ryan do a terrific job of teaching them). The most important thing to have in rowing is a set boat. No boat goes fast without that and rowing isn’t nearly as much fun.