Following our article last summer on well-being, we would like to begin 2024 in the same vein, on the lookout for anything that keeps us fit or makes us fit.
So it was that we turned up at the rowing club on 16 December for the AGM of the Société Nautique de Monaco
We were able to feel immediately the warm ambience prevailing amongst all age groups in the club.
Father Christmas led in a group of young people who jumped from the jetty into the sea…to be picked up in a motor-boat with at its helm Xavier, the long-time instructor of the club. All in a festive yet controlled spirit !
And to restore your self the club restaurant si waiting you on the ground floor with its tables on the patio at the water’s edge . It is reserved for club members but open to the public who pay 1 euro extra. An excellent healthy meal based on local produce and a warm welcome await !
To reserve : 00377 93505130
The Société nautique de Monaco is the oldest sporting club in Monaco : the development of the Hercule Marina in the principality began in 1888 with the Société Des Régates which organised rowing and sailing competitions.
In 1953, the newly formed Monaco Yacht Club took over sailing and outboard activities, whilst rowing continued under the aegis of the Société Des Régates which that year changed its name to become the Société nautique de Monaco, with its headquarters at 3 avenue de Kennedy.
Having moved on 20 June 2014 to quai Louis II, right beside the Monaco Yacht Club, into the Paquebot building designed by Lord Norman Foster, the Société Nautique can take a membership of 250, together with a sporting section of forty young oarsmen amongst whom are several champions, including Olympic.
We were in touch with Club President Mathias Raymond and asked him to tell us about the history of the Club :
« In June 2014 HH.SS.HH. Prince Albert and Princess Charlene and all the princely family came to open the new Paquebot building and the new headquarters of the Société Nautique, together with the Kelly pontoon, named for the Sovereign’s grandfather and uncle, both champion Olympic rowers.
The pontoon enables us to dock and easily launch boats. So even for sporting events, we can host large numbers of competitors.
This year we set up the fitness program “Rowing to Health”, thanks to the installation of a rowing tank, attached to the pontoon, enabling rowing strokes to be executed in ideal conditions”
Note : John Brendan Kelly (Princess Grace’s father) won two gold medals at the 1920 Antwerp games, and a gold in the Paris 1924 Olympics. His son John Brendan Kelly Jr took part in the summer1956 Olympics, winning a bronze medal
This was all most interesting and we asked him to tell us more:
« A rowing club is especially characterised by its team spirit; on board it is very much all for one and one for all, the unique goal being to achieve the best possible result.
On dry land, it’s similar really, especially when people have known each other for a considerable amount of time. Our club is known for its welcoming atmosphere and friendliness. It is in this spirit that it has been agreed with the Board to reward members who have achieved good results in the course of the previous year. These prizes are given at the time of the AGM so that all members can meet those rowers, young and not so young, who have distinguished themselves.
A most enjoyable and much appreciated moment.
So when we instigated the Rowing to Health project, the collective response was immediate. Our rower Céline Marion has a diploma from the French Rowing Association and was specifically trained for the Rowing to Health program, notably to provide personalised coaching to patients with reduced mobility or suffering from chronic illness (metabolic, cardiovascular, cancer) needless to say in conjunction with the General Practitioner.”
Mathias Raymond at the tank Rowing Aviron Santé
We asked Céline Marion to tell us more about this:
« Those wishing to enter the Rowing to Health program will be taking up a physical activity which will have benefits in their everyday life. Before starting, they need to see their GP and obtain a certificate showing that they are apt to follow the Rowing to Health program.
The strengthening up of the body is an essential step before taking to the water
This initial stage takes place indoors using equipment designed to strengthen muscles, assisted with ergometers. Maintaining balance is also worked on in this phase. Sessions are held on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9am till 10.30am, then from 10.30am to midday, with a maximum of two sessions per week.
They are noted for their good humour, mutual support, conversation, and plenty of laughter.
Once this first phase is over, we turn to the rowing tank, which we are indeed fortunate to have, enabling future rowers to better understand what will happen when they do take to the water.
When the good weather arrives, as it does rapidly, it will be time to discover what happens on board, most often to begin with as part of a team.
Great memories are forged at such a time.
The Rowing to Health program is not exclusively for learning to row.
It is also a fitness program in its own right. With four sessions proposed each week, participants can attend twice a week and follow a course adapted to their specific needs and abilities. Groups per session consist of one to six people, which is reassuring for participants and enables me to give personal attention to each. The program proceeds in stages, during which participants first reconnect with their own bodies, before then learning new forms of physical activity.
There is a longer term goal as well : participation in cross-country walks such as for example the Randonnée des Mimosas by the Lac de Saint Cassien, the Vogalonga in Venise or the visit to the historic Real Circolo Cerea of Tourin, which was recently twinned.
The pace of activities is adapted to the individual and assessments are made at the start, during and at the end of the program to measure progress.
It is possible to sign up at any time, bearing in mind that the Rowing to Health program takes place between October and July.”
Email contact : firstname.lastname@example.org
On the 21 October 2023, at the end of their visit to the Principality, the members of the ACES association, a body which represents the Fédération des Capitales et Villes Européennes du Sport, and an official partner of UNESCO declared Monaco officially candidate for World Sports Capital.
We asked Mathias Raymond to elaborate:
“Monaco has always placed great importance on sporting values, whether in schools, as general recreation or competitively. There have been a number of high-level competitions such as the World Sea Rowing Championships in October 2016, and every year since it began in 2004 we hold the Prince Albert II Challenge event (CPA2).
In last year’s event held on 2nd and 3rd December right opposite the Palace, 22 international mixed teams took part. As well as traditional 4km open-sea races, there was a 500m sprint, a speed competition never before seen.
Amongst the participants were Olympic Champions, the world’s top Coastal rowers, and Beach sprinters, world champion River rowers…exceptional sporting prowess !
Only one week prior, was held the Monaco Indoor Rowing Championship (MIRC), a regional regatta organised to bring together not only the 25 neighbouring clubs, but also Nogent-sur-Marne, Saint-Fons, and the Italian club San Remo, for a total of about 200 participants.
As to our own club, we finished the 2023 season at the head of the table, an excellent result rewarding our efforts of many years.
We are aiming hold on to the title in 2024 !
In river rowing, we finished in the 25th spot, which was respectable, but we hope to improve upon that. To be in the top 20 would be like playing in the first division, and would be an outstanding result given all the effort put into group competitions of all ages.
It has been painstaking work for all concerned.
So we feel honoured to have been able to contribute each in his own way to this recognition, and await the verdict !”
At this stage, with the Paris 2024 Olympics in sight, we wondered how the champion rowers were preparing ?
“Quentin Antognelli is the name in rowing in Monaco, holding two 2015 world champion titles in 2x with team-mate Giuseppe Alberti, and in 4x.
He took part, and finished 15th in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
This year he was the highest placed Monegasque in the world championships finishing 16th in single scull.
He took the opportunity in 2012 to go to Oxford Brookes University which has one of the best training centres in Europe.
Video Royal de Henley’s Race 2022, a spectacular audience :
In single scull, he met the top rowers from each country.
Presently, to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics in single scull, he spends three weeks a month training with Giovanni Calabrese in Italy on Lake Gavirate (near the town of Varese).
Total commitment ahead of the two qualifying events : he needs to finish third or better in Hungary in April 2024, or failing that, he will have a final attempt in Switzerland some weeks later.”
We caught up with Quentin Antognelli by email and asked him what it feels like to represent Monaco in the Olympics.
“It is a unique opportunity to represent one’s country in the Olympics.
It is the ultimate in a career of sport at the highest level.
The Games stand way above all else in competitive sport, and even if I have taken part in numerous world or European championships, the feeling is completely different.
My participation in the Tokyo Olympics went very well, added to which was the pleasure and honour of carrying the flag of Monaco in the opening ceremony, having been chosen alongside Xiaoxin Yang our table-tennis player, by H.S.H Prince Albert II.
It was an unforgettable moment.
There is a feeling of immense pride obviously in representing one’s country on the world stage, even perhaps more so for us Monegasques since we are representing both country and town. Our emotions therefore run very high, so it is most important for us to remain totally focussed.”
In the Principality on February 18, the Monaco Town Hall and the Société nautique de Monaco organized the 4th edition of the Port Hercule Regatta, including friends from the South East Region and Clubs from abroad!
A big congratulations to everyone and a special mention to the crews of the Société nautique de Monaco who shone in almost all the races.
Here are the results :
Come along in Monaco any time of the year, if only to keep fit : the doors on the quai Louis II are always open !
Copyright Ely Galleani