Winter rowing started on Monday, and I already have blisters on 2 fingers and 1 thumb (my fault, because I thought it might be fun to try to row 200,000 meters between Thanksgiving and Christmas, for an indoor rowing challenge that Concept2 runs, so I also erged for an hour yesterday, even though there wasn't any practice--because I started out the challenge by not erging for 4 days). At practice, we partly erg and partly row in the tanks (we use the crew facilities in Large-University-in-New-Haven-Which-Shall-Remain-Nameless's gym). Sadly, any rowing in the tanks doesn't count towards the challenge... possibly because Concept2 makes ergs, not tanks?
And here's what the tanks look like (please excuse my cellphone picture--and it's worse than usual because I realized right as I took the picture that the guys might think I was taking a picture of them!).
You sit facing the back of the picture, so if you were actually on the water, the boat would be moving toward the camera. There's water on the sides (that's why the whole thing looks like an indoor pool--because it is), but the seats (which move on tracks, just like in a boat) are on a cement section that's part of the pool. Since the "boat" can't move, the water moves instead. It's circulated by gigantic pumps towards the back of the picture, so it's moving the same way relative to the rowers as it would be if they were in a moving boat, except that it's totally consistent--no wake, no waves, constant current.
All this should make it easier, but somehow, I've still managed to have embarrassing problems at both practices! The first day, I started rowing with my oar turned backwards (so it barely moved through the water when I wanted it to, and tried to take off on its own when I didn't). Then this morning it TWICE got stuck under water at the end of the stroke, so as I was starting to slide forwards (well--forwards for me, actually towards the stern), it kept coming backwards/towards the bow (right towards me). I ducked, untangled myself, and started rowing again, but it made a big commotion and since I'd rather be invisible, it was mortifying.