Friday, July 29, 2011

Four Men in a Boat: LRC Oarsmen Sculling for a Great Cause on the Thames

(Photo courtesy of
Inside of a week, four rowers from London Rowing Club in Putney (southwest London) have put together not only a great adventure, but a great way to support a cause as they make their way down the Thames. As has been outlined on Göran R. Buckhorn's blog, 'Hear the Boat Sing,' echoing the official 'Four Men in a Boat' website (which is quite slick), the rowers (Stephen Feeney, Iain Weir, James Clarke, and Mark Bavington) have set off on a journey from Lechlade-on-Thames in Gloucestershire (just west of Oxford) to Putney in order to raise awareness for the Advocacy for Neuroacanthocytosis. Stephen Feeney and James Clarke have both represented GB internationally, with Clarke having won medals at the World Championships as both a lightweight (gold in the LM4- in 2007) and a heavyweight (silver in the M8+ in 2010), in addition to competing with Team GB in Beijing. Iain Weir is a freelance photographer with a great deal of experience in the sport, having won Henley Royal Regatta in 2006 in the Thames Challenge Cup. Iain's has recently been working with the GB squad, and can be found online at

Find 'Four Men in a Boat' on Facebook, and catch up with Iain on Twitter: @shutteritch.

Looking forward to following along as this motley crew makes it way back to home waters in London!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Op-Ed from the RR Staff: U23 Worlds 2011 – What USRowing Can Take from Amsterdam

The US U23 squad had a very successful regatta over the weekend, with fast conditions paving the way for a huge number of new world best times on the Bosbaan. As has come to be expected, the women's squad was both deep and strong, with the pair of Grace Luczak (bronze medalist in Karapiro) and Felice Mueller (gold medal and world best time from last year's U23 World Championships) winning and breaking last year's record by roughly nine seconds, then jumping into the eight and taking bronze. The men's team also had several strong performances, and came away with two medals of their own, in the lightweight single and the eight. Andrew Campbell, who took bronze in the LM1x (backing up a bronze in the M1x at last year's Junior World Championships), is making quite a name for himself on the lightweight circuit. And, yet again, Mike Teti has coached a record-breaking eight that took home the gold from a World Championship regatta.

Let's talk about that last point a little.

There's no need to explain who Mike Teti is. He's one of the winningest coaches in the history of the sport at the international level, and wherever he has gone, success has followed. Yet, even now, there are those who will want to say that he is not a technical coach. While the next statement lacks nuance, I'm very comfortable in saying that these people are flat-out wrong.

You cannot coach the fastest men's eight in the history of the Olympic Games without being a solid technical as well as physiological coach, nor can you coach the second fastest IRA champion varsity eight in history without knowing both sides of the coin. And now, he can add 'fastest eight in the history of the (albeit short-lived) U23 World Championships' to his resume as well. Given all this, it's easy to see why there are rumors circulating that Teti may have a hand in coaching the men's eight for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The fact is, if Teti is at all interested in coaching the men's eight for London, USRowing should be doing everything in its power to see that he does. While Tim McLaren's new system appears to be having some success, as the depth of the men's squad has undoubtedly improved, along with the results so far this summer, the responsibilities facing McLaren going into the most important Worlds of his young tenure in the US are considerable and various. McLaren has proven that he is a world-class coach in his own right over the course of his career, but given the split nature of the men's camps, as well as Teti's apparent willingness continue to work with the US men's team, it seems only natural and appropriate that he be involved in developing and coaching the men's eight as London approaches.

This seems ever more germane given the results over the past several weeks, with the senior eight taking a very close fourth in Lucerne (yes, in lane 1, but a strong performance nonetheless, and in a field that seems, at this point, to be catching up to the Germans), and the victory in Amsterdam. If I were Tim McLaren, I would have been on the phone before they finished playing 'The Star Spangled Banner' at Bosbaan. What the US men's team needs now is to continue the momentum that they appear to be generating, following the major restructuring of the camp system. McLaren risks losing that momentum if the squad doesn't perform in Bled – something that could negate all the hard work that has gone into restructuring, as an audience impatient for results scrutinizes the decision-making of the top brass. On the flip side, if the team excels in Slovenia, the new system will be validated and continue to develop throughout the Olympic year.

What's in store? The answers await on an Alpine lake in northwestern Slovenia.


Monday, July 25, 2011

VOTW: GB Men's Lightweight Double, 'Catch' Preview

"CATCH" (The Pilot) from Richard Truter on Vimeo.

This week's video is a preview of what looks to be a fantastic series on the selection for the GB LM2x during the final year of the Olympic cycle, leading up to the London Games. The well known, and very well established duo of Mark Hunter and Zach Purchase may face some challenges unknown to the rowing outsider, as a year's hiatus from the squad following Beijing, as well as illnesses have kept the two from taking on the full training and racing schedule they would otherwise have tackled, and other talented members of what is an extremely deep GB squad have made strong cases to be considered for the top lightweight event.

The series will be called 'Catch,' and includes shots of both training and racing, as well as candid interviews with the athletes, as this preview shows.

As we discussed in our last article, it was announced last week that Mark Hunter and Zach Purchase will be reunited to defend their title as reigning world champions in the LM2x just over a month from now in Bled.

Note for FeedBurner Subscribers: Click the title of the article to view the video on our website.

Want to suggest the next 'Video of the Week?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, or send us your suggestion via Twitter (

Coming this week: U23 World Championships, Recap and Review – Implications for Senior Worlds


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Worlds 2011 Preview: A Look at the GB Rowing Men's National Team

Yesterday, the official roster and lineups for the World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia were announced by GB Rowing. Taking a look at the lineups, perhaps the biggest surprise from the announcement is the complete lack of surprises. Then again, as we say in the States, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Lucerne was an extremely successful regatta for the British, who won a total of ten medals, and looked solid across the board, despite a couple noticeable absences. Alan Campbell missed the regatta due to an illness described as a 'sore throat,' which shows that the British are continuing to take every precaution to ensure that their athletes produce to their full potential at Worlds this year, creating the right kind of momentum (as well as sense of inevitability among the other competing nations) for major success on home waters in 2012. Zach Purchase was similarly kept out of the racing due to illness, but will rejoin Mark Hunter in the double in Bled. Even with the absence of Purchase leading to an eight-place finish overall for the GB LM2x, the British lightweight program is very strong (the four won with a substitution, and contains Rob Williams – the top 'ergo' on the lightweight squad), and I confess it does seem likely that despite the early and midseason woes due to injury and illness, Hunter and Purchase will be clear favorites in Slovenia.

Injuries and lineup changes aside, one of the greatest points of interest for followers of GB Rowing is what will become of the two top heavyweight oarsmen, Andrew Triggs-Hodge and Pete Reed. The duo is clearly very talented, and very quick, but following such a cracking race in Karapiro last year, the result in Lucerne came as quite a shock to many, perhaps, outside of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray. After the men's single grand final lost a great deal of interest given the withdrawals of Alan Campbell and Marcel Hacker, the renewal of one of the best rivalries in all of rowing right now – GB v. NZ in the men's pair – was supposed to be a barn-burner. What resulted was more of a 'hoedown' (for non-US readers, that's essentially a party in a barn) for Bond and Murray, who took the event by nearly seven seconds over the Brits.

Following the race, there was much speculation as to the plans for Triggs-Hodge and Reed looking toward Bled, and, eventually, London. According to recent 'rumour,' the GB squad has been mixing it up a bit of late, and sent out two eights at Caversham following Lucerne, the first eight being the eight that raced as GB in Lucerne, and the 'second' eight being comprised (from stern to bow) of Triggs-Hodge, Reed, Gregory, James, Louloudis, Nash, Langridge, and Egington (the A and B pairs along with the M4- from Lucerne). According to this same rumor, the second eight defeated the first eight, and recorded an extremely competitive time in the process. While it's dangerous to lend too much credence to rumors like this (creditable as the source may be), it is certainly not outside the realm of reason to think that such an eight would indeed be one of the fastest ever, given the caliber and experience of the athletes.

While this has, undoubtedly, been a tempting proposition for Jürgen Grobler and David Tanner to consider, it is one that might potentially have limited the number of qualified boats for 2012 following Bled. As it stands, the GB men are all but assured of at least a silver medal in the men's pair (unless Canada can pull something out of their collective hat over the next six weeks), and are strong contenders as is in the eight (their performance in Lucerne, from lane 6, was impressive). Also, the four of Matthew Langridge, Richard Egington, Tom James, and Alex Gregory has looked fantastic, and were the class of the field in Switzerland. If Grobler were to put Triggs-Hodge and Reed into the eight, the men's pair entry might lose a chance at a medal (though they would likely still qualify, due to the depth of the GB squad), and it seems that's a chance they're not willing to take (nor is there any real reason to do so, other than to prioritize the eight). There has also been talk of shifting Triggs-Hodge and Reed into the four (which they won in 2008), but if the current M4- continues to perform to current standards, they may have 2012 locked up by the time they are striking the grandstands in Slovenia. The one fly in the ointment for the GB four could be a resurgent Australia next season, as this year's iteration has been put together late and lacks Duncan Free, who is currently rehabbing from a leg injury following a bicycle accident. It's unlikely that anyone will know just how good the Australians can be until World Cup time next year.

By the same token, if Bond and Murray continue to enjoy the same comfortable margins over the field in Bled, and the GB eight fails to take advantage of a German crew that hasn't managed to fully separate itself from the top competition this year, the temptation of a gold in perhaps the most popular rowing event at the Olympics may be too much to resist.

Looking forward to Bled!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rowing Cribs – The First in a Series?

Apparently the Canadian National Team knows how to have a good time, as well as go fast. Will Crothers introduces us to his 'Luzern Crib,' with some fairly impressive editing/production values, not to mention the appropriate 'swag.' Someone suggested that we do a 'Rowing Cribs' episode with the Winklevoss twins – after watching what Will and teammate Rares Crisan have put together here, let me say I am inspired.

For more on Will's journey as he and the Canadian National Team prepare for London, check out his website at Rares Crisan is a member of the Canadian Lightweight National Team. For more, visit his website at

Note for FeedBurner subscribers: Click the title of the article to view the video on our website.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Reflecting on Lucerne, Looking Forward to Bled

Lucerne was a fantastic regatta this year, and while Rowing New Zealand looks to be rivaling GB for the best squad in the world right now, the US also made some great strides.  Rowing Canada Aviron had several strong performances, the US men posted some of the best results we've seen since the Teti era, and the depth of the US women's team is truly incredible. First, let's talk about the Kiwis.

The best-known, and perhaps most dominant crew that the All Blacks have out there right now is the men's pair of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray. The duo looked phenomenal over the weekend in their first race this year against rivals Andrew Triggs-Hodge and Peter Reed of Great Britain, winning the event by roughly seven seconds (not quite the barn-burner that was expected given the outstanding results for the GB pair at Henley two weeks ago). In the women's pair, the NZ duo of Rebecca Scown and Juliette Haigh took second place, just behind a young but well-coached (and very powerful) GB pair of Heather Stanning and Helen Glover – this result was a reversal of Karapiro last November. The men's lightweight double looked fantastic in a field that did not include the defending Olympic and World Champion GB crew (Mark Hunter was without partner Zac Purchase, as Purchase was ill over the weekend), as Storm Uru (possibly the best name in rowing) and Peter Taylor out-dueled the Italians (Bertini and Luini) as well as the former world champions and perennially competitive Danes (Rasmussen and Quist). A solid showing from reigning World Champions Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan in the heavy double saw them sprint through the field to take the gold, while Mahé Drysdale came up just short against defending World Champion Ondrej Synek. In the women's single, Emma Twigg showed that there may be a new sheriff in town, rowing extremely well through difficult conditions to take the gold in an excellent field. Add to this the bronze for the NZ women in the quad, and you have seven medals, four of them gold.

While the Rowing NZ has a grip on the small boats, Team GB is still the deepest international squad, and proved it again over the weekend, taking home a total of 10 medals from Lucerne (four gold, four silver, and two bronze). The GB men's pair, while off the pace over the weekend, cannot be discounted, as six weeks of training remain and it's never certain where the top crews are in their training cycle in the build up to the main event. Also, silver isn't exactly a poor result (though they were hoping for more). The women's double of Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger won for the 11th consecutive time, winning the World Cup and setting the stage for a repeat of their golden performance last year at the World Championships. The GB lightweight men's four took gold despite having to make a late substitution – Peter Chambers joined his brother Richard in the lineup as regular Chris Bartley was out with an injury. The M4- took first without being pressed, leading from wire to wire, and the women's pair added to the gold medal tally, as discussed above. While Zac Purchase sat out due to illness, the GB LM2x (Mark Hunter, Adam Freeman-Pask) still managed second in the B final in one of the most competitive events on the international circuit, and the eight gutted out a very close race to edge the US out of the medals, taking bronze.

Canada brought defending World Champions in the LW2x Lindsay Jennerich and Tracy Cameron to Lucerne, and the duo continued their excellent run, taking the gold roughly two seconds in front of the top GB double (to whom the Canadians had lost in Amsterdam earlier this Summer), with the US combination finishing third. The Canadian women's eight had a great race, but were unable to hold off a late charge from the US, who took first in the event. In the men's eight (which featured UW Husky and Rowing News interviewee Conlin McCabe), Canada finished fifth, just back of the pack, and in the men's single, Malcolm Howard showed that he is steadily improving, taking a strong fifth just ahead of Olympic Champ Olaf Tufte. In the men's pair, Beijing silver medalists Scott Frandsen and Dave Calder took a solid third, and will look to make gains in the month and a half remaining before Worlds.

Some crews to watch for Bled – despite jumping back into the double (and into international racing) only recently, Luka Spik and Itzok Cop of Slovenia took fifth in Lucerne, and will be a force to be reckoned with on home waters. The men's single field was without GB standout Alan Campbell, and a rejuvenated Marcel Hacker, who has looked very much on top of his game thus far in 2011 (both pulled out of contention just prior to the racing over the weekend).

Now, let's turn our attention to Team USA's performance over the weekend.

This year's performance in Lucerne marked the best set of international results for the US men's team since the departure of Mike Teti following Beijing, and is a good sign looking forward to Bled. The US men fielded two very competitive fours, with USA 1 taking the bronze medal in one of the most competitve events at the regatta (USA 2 also performed well, finishing 9th overall just two seconds behind the Australian four, featuring Drew Ginn). The new-look US men's eight, stroked by Cal alum and 2010 IRA champion Nareg Guregian, was surprisingly quick, finishing just two tenths of a second out of the medals (and only 0.24 out of second place) in a tightly packed field, less than a length behind an outstanding German crew. Given the next month to prepare, we are looking forward to more speed and a great performance from the US men in Bled. Another fantastic showing came from Kenneth Jurkowski, who has learned how to race from the front and put himself in a position to compete, finishing just outside the medals in Lucerne in one of the best performances from a US single sculler since Jamie Koven in 1997. If Jurkowski can continue to make similar gains, he'll certainly carve out a spot for himself in the final in Bled.

What the US women have accomplished over the last two weeks is truly incredible. Here's a breakdown of what they've done this July:

The eight wins the Remenham Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta, tying a course record in the process. The US women's quad wins later that afternoon. The quad does so despite having to double-up Esther Lofgren (who had raced the eight earlier) due to an illness. The lineup includes Kara Kohler, who began rowing in 2009, and who has never sculled before on the international stage (though, if you ask Dave O'Neill, he'll probably say he saw this coming), as well as Elle Logan, who is typically a sweep rower.

Fast forward to Lucerne. The US women's eight looks completely different, with Francia, Musnicki, Ritzel, and Lind coming out to race the pairs event. The quad is also different, with Kohler and Logan moving into the eight. The pairs finish third and fourth, just behind last year's gold an silver medalists from Karapiro, the eight wins in a very competitive field (as well as from a difficult lane), and the quad places fourth overall, just over one second out of the medals. Imagine if they were to have more than one week in the lineup...

Also, the women's lightweight double of Kristin Hedstrom and Julie Nichols continued their run of success, taking the bronze medal in their event. This result earned the US a World Cup title for the first time, as the duo took bronze in Munich, gold in Hamburg, and bronze again in Lucerne.

Team USA has built up some momentum, and it will be important to capitalize on those gains in Bled. While the US women will look to continue their dominance, the men can make a statement about how far they've come as we count down toward the 2012 Olympic Games in London.


Monday, July 11, 2011

US Women Shine at Lucerne World Cup

Fantastic racing in the women's pairs grand final in Lucerne yesterday, with last year's gold and silver medalists from Karapiro going blow for blow all the way to the line. The final also features two US crews – the athletes (Susan Francia and Meghan Musnicki in USA 2, and Taylor Ritzel and Caroline Lind in USA 1) have been in the eight so far this year, most recently winning the Remenham Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta.

Not to be outdone by their Team USA counterparts in the pairs, the eight had a great race, coming back from an early third place position to out-sprint an extremely talented Canadian women's eight for the gold medal. The US eight was reshuffled within the last week, and featured some new faces, including Pac-10 champion Kara Kohler (fresh off her win in the quad at Henley), and fellow Pac-10 athlete and 2008 Olympic champ Elle Logan of Stanford.

Coming up next - Lucerne in Review: GB and Kiwis Dominant, Team USA on the Rise.

Want to suggest the next 'Video of the Week?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, or send us your suggestion via Twitter (


Friday, July 8, 2011

Top International Talent Back in Action at World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne

The final World Rowing Cup of the summer has begun in Switzerland, and there are a number of crews we'll be keeping our eyes on as the regatta season builds toward the dramatic finale in a fittingly dramatic location – Bled, Slovenia. Lucerne and Bled will also be extremely important regattas for the US men's squad, as the team suffered some difficult losses last November in Karapiro, and has yet to fully find its competitive edge under (relatively) new head coach Tim McLaren. The US women, on the other hand, will look to continue a stretch of dominance that goes back to the previous Olympiad – so far, so good.

Some of the most highly anticipated match-ups will be coming this weekend in the small boats. The men's pair will feature a showdown between the two top crews from last year's World Championship final, GB's Andrew Triggs-Hodge and Peter Reed v. Hamish Bond and Eric Murray of New Zealand. Hodge and Reed fell to the Kiwi duo last year by the narrowest of margins, having led most of the way down the course in New Zealand. The first scheduled match-up between the two crews fell through due to the GB squad's concerns with the E. coli outbreak in Hamburg. Anticipation has been building as Bond and Murray absolutely dominated the field at World Cup II, while Triggs-Hodge and Reed looked to be faster than ever at a record breaking Henley Royal Regatta last week. It will also be interesting to see where the 2008 silver medalists from Canada (Calder and Frandsen) wind up this weekend, given that they've been somewhat overlooked but will certainly be on top form (though Bond and Murray were well away in the heat this morning). The Canadian pair won the quarterfinal in the afternoon and will look to make waves in the semis. Some familiar faces in the two Serbian pairs, which include varsity oarsmen from the University of California (Goran Todorovic is in the bow seat of Serbia 1, with Jovan Popovic stroking Serbia 2).

The women's pair was billed on the World Rowing website as another showdown between Great Britain and New Zealand, but we think that the US combinations of Taylor Ritzel and Caroline Lind (USA 1) and Susan Francia and Meghan Musnicki (USA 2) will have some thoughts on the issue. USA 1 posted the fastest time in the heats this morning, winning Heat 3, while New Zealand and GB won their heats. USA 2 finished a close second to Romania and in position to qualify for the A/B semi.

The deepest field in Lucerne might be the men's double. The pedigree in this event is impressive, with reigning Olympic champions David Crawshay and Scott Brennan of Australia, reigning World Champions Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan of New Zealand, last year's World silver medalists and (perhaps) emerging favorites Marcus Bateman and Matt Wells of GB, and perennial competitors and 2000 Olympic champions Itzok Cop and Luka Spik (back in the double together), not to mention France's strong duo of Julien Bahain and Cedric Berrest. GB's Wells and Bateman are riding high following a great showing at Henley, where they defeated the reigning Olympic Champions. The GB double won the first heat this morning over Spik and Cop (Slovenia), while Cohen and Sullivan also bested the Aussie double in their heat. France and New Zealand won their heats to earn the other spots in the A/B semi earlier today. Slovenia and Australia both won their reps in the afternoon, and will join the above crews in the A/B semi, along with a resurgent US crew (Miller and Ochal).

In the women's 1x, everyone will be chasing Mirka Knapkova, who has been excellent and who is coming off a win at Henley last weekend, and Ekaterina Karsten. The Diamond Sculls champ from last weekend, Alan Campbell, won't get a shot at the top competition until the World Championships, however, as he is suffering from what the press is calling 'a sore throat.' The top story in the men's 1x will be the seemingly inevitable contest between Mahé Drysdale of New Zealand and Ondrej Synek, with a rejuvenated Marcel Hacker in the mix this year and very capable of making it interesting. While we're at it, it's never safe to ignore Olaf Tufte, who had a solid day, winning the first heat, and 2008 US Olympian Kenneth Jurkowski just ended his Friday with a bang, winning his quarterfinal race over Mindaugas Griskonis and Mahé Drysdale to set himself up nicely for the weekend. Given his talent, we wouldn't be surprised to see Jurkowski make the A final in Lucerne.

The US men's squad may have its best shot at a medal this year in the eight. In the heat, the US men finished just 0.4 of a second behind what has been an absolutely dominant German 'achter' this year. The Dutch and the British had an epic battle and photo finish to take the top two spots in the second heat, with The Netherlands winning by 0.01 to claim the direct qualifying spot for the A/B semi. The US also has two very strong fours, featuring several Beijing Olympians (USA 2 includes David Banks, as well as 2009 Cambridge Blue Boat stern pair and RR interviewees Silas Stafford and Ryan Monaghan). Both USA fours won their reps this afternoon to earn spots in the A/B semis. Drew Ginn and Australia also won their rep, with Serbia winning repechage 1.

On the women's side, the US women's eight should crush this regatta, building on a huge victory last year in Karapiro, and with (though it may be hard to believe) an even deeper squad than before heading into the final year of this quadrennium. By way of example, the US women took two trophies at Henley, with Cal standout Kara Kohler in the women's quad. While she is unquestionably a fantastic athlete, Kohler has only been rowing for two seasons, in a sweep-oriented program at Cal. When/how did she learn to scull at an elite level? US head coach Tom Terhaar has done a great job developing talent, and we're looking forward to seeing that talent on display in the coming weeks. We'll also be looking for strong performances from The Netherlands (the other heat winner), Romania and Team GB.

More to come as the weekend in Lucerne progresses! For complete results and image galleries from today's racing, visit the official site of World Rowing.


From the RR Press Office: Rowetry in Motion Seeking Artists and Writers

We received the following press release recently from the folks at We Can Row Boston, and want to help spread the word:


Journal to be published this Fall to raise funds for rowing club of breast cancer survivors.

June 24, 2011 (BOSTON, MA) - We Can Row Boston, a wellness and recovery program for breast cancer survivors, is seeking original, rowing-related poetry and photography submissions for a journal that will be published in the Fall of 2011. Proceeds from the sale of "Rowetry in Motion" will directly benefit current programming and allow We Can Row Boston to greatly expand financial aid availability to interested women.

"One of our primary goals is to help each rower become an active participant in her own recovery," said Phyllis Groskin, president of We Can Row Boston. "We believe that the creative energy of a poetry and photography journal about rowing mirrors the passion for the sport of our entire organization, both in Boston and beyond."

At current, there are more than thirty breast cancer survivors involved with We Can Row Boston and over 150 others in We Can Row teams across the nation. According to Molly Jordan, a coach for the Boston team, "Rowetry in Motion will be a breakthrough in terms of fundraising for the organization.”

"We're seeking original content from rowers who dabble in poetry and photography," said Jordan. "Hopefully, the opportunity to help these determined women will inspire contributors throughout the world of rowing and beyond."

Founded in 2002 by Olympic gold medalist Holly Metcalf, We Can Row is specifically designed to allow breast cancer survivors to reorient themselves with their bodies, giving women a sense of control and putting them in contact with other breast cancer survivors. Rowing helps survivors to re-build physical strength and mental focus, renew self-image and develop the bond of teamwork with women who have had similar cancer experiences.

The submission deadline for "Rowetry in Motion" is August 19, 2011. All poetry and photography, as well as other inquiries, may be sent to Artists will retain copyright of their contributions.

For further information about We Can Row Boston, please visit

On Twitter, follow at @WeCanRowBoston and @RowetryInMotion.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Henley Royal Regatta, 2011: Recap and Review

Afternoon in the Stewards' Enclosure (Photo: B. Kitch)
There are few regattas as difficult to predict as Henley, but, with a big 'ta' to our 'unnamed source,' we managed to do a respectable job this year. On the international front, the British men were the class of the field in the elite events, while the US women were in top form gearing up for Lucerne. The Temple saw several records broken (again, and again), with the top US collegiate talent showing its strength. In the club events, some familiar faces, as well as some notable international crews took home medals. Let's take a look.

The elite events were, for the most part, on par with expectations. Though we didn't offer a prediction, the Germans continued their dominance in the eight, and Triggs-Hodge and Reed looked outstanding in the pair, tying a course record for overall time in the final set by a reasonably well known duo (Pinsent and Redgrave), despite winning by a verdict of 'easily.' The US did have a strong showing in the Stewards, falling to a British crew that set a new course record en route to winning the final, while another GB crew defeated a favored Croatian boat in the Queen Mother. The US women were fantastic, as predicted, winning both the quad and the eight. Also, the first showdown between the 'Red Express' GB men's 2x and the reigning Olympic Champions Crawshay and Brennan of Australia went to the Brits – that will be a great match-up to watch at Worlds and in the months leading up to London.

In the Ladies' Plate, we missed the mark, selecting a Harvard crew that had been quite good all year over the British and international clubs in the event. Harvard narrowly made it past the first round, where they faced a powerful Penn AC crew, only to be beaten by Leander on Saturday by 1/3 length. The Leander crew then found the racing on Sunday a little hot, falling to a German crew from Berliner Ruderclub and Olympische Ruder Club Rostock. In the other intermediate events, however, we were indeed prophetic. As predicted, the reigning Leander/IC composite crew won the Visitors, with Leander taking the Prince of Wales.

The Temple Challenge Cup turned out just as we expected, with ASR Nereus facing an outstanding California frosh crew in the final. Also, Matt Miller and Virginia had a strong performance, as predicted, making it to Saturday. In the Prince Albert, a surprising Harvard crew prevented our predicted final, defeating Newcastle on Saturday and Oxford Brookes on Sunday. Given the margins, it looks as if our prediction of Newcastle being faster than Brookes would have proven true had the two raced, but hats off to Harvard for defending the Crimson's honor following the defeat of their varsity eight in the Ladies'.

In the club events, our top four crews in the Thames (Molesey, Star, Upper Yarra, and Thames RC) all raced on Saturday, with the Upper Yarra crew winning the event under the guidance of former Eton College head coach Alex Henshilwood. In the words of our unnamed source, "he knows the standard and would not come all this way unless he thought they had a shot." The Wyfold was indeed London RC's to lose, and they did not. In the Brit, another very talented and experienced London RC crew fell by just 3/4 length to Banks RC of Australia, whom we speculated might be fast – evidently the top crew that Banks brought to the regatta.

While we didn't make an official prediction in the junior events, we did indicate in the comments that we were expecting a very strong showing from St. Andrew's (USA), following a disappointing result based on a technicality at the USRowing Junior National Championships in June. St. Andrew's did indeed have a great regatta, making the final, but falling to an excellent crew from Abingdon School (who set a new course record on Saturday en route to the final).

Congrats to all crews at Henley this year! So many records broken it was difficult to keep track of it all! Read our original 'Picks and Predictions' for HRR article here.

We're looking forward to more great racing on the international stage this weekend in Lucerne, as the US National Team gears up for what will be a very important World Championship regatta in Bled, Slovenia.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Video of the Week: Inside Dartmouth's Lightweight Eight at Sprints

This week's video comes to us from EARC Sprints, and features an inside look at the Dartmouth lightweight eight, which took the silver behind then-undefeated Harvard in Worcester. The video includes a recording of the Big Green coxswain as he guides the crew all the way down the course, as well as some 'epic' music. Dartmouth head coach Dan Roock is now getting ready to host a USRowing sanctioned development camp for the senior lightweight eight, beginning July 6 at 2pm at the Friends of Dartmouth Rowing boathouse. The selected crew will compete at the 2011 US Senior Trials for a chance to race at the 2011 World Championships in Bled, Slovenia. For a full press release from Rowing News, click here.

Happy Independence Day from everyone at RowingRelated!

Note for FeedBurner subscribers: Click the title of the article to view the video on our website.

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Coming up tomorrow: Henley Royal Regatta Recap and Review – time to take another look at our picks and see how our own 2011 HRR went!


Saturday, July 2, 2011

OTW with Matt Miller, Part IX: Temple Challenge Cup Semifinal v. ASR Nereus

UVa through Fawley, Temple Semifinal (Photo: Allen Miller)
The UVa men carried a great deal of momentum into today's semifinal v. a talented Dutch crew from ASR Nereus. The Cavs fought well, but when all was said and done, the verdict was 1 length to Nereus, and one of the most successful seasons in the history of the UVa Men's Rowing Program came to a close. On the other side of the bracket, California's frosh eight, coached by UVa alum Wyatt Allen, defeated the Harvard freshmen to reach the final. En route to victory, the Golden Bears broke their own course record to Fawley again. Here's Matt's take on Saturday's racing in Henley:

Saturday at Henley is bustling with energy and spectators. It seems like the number of Virginia fans doubled overnight. We’ve gained the support of a number of eliminated American crews, as well as the English crews we beat earlier in the week. It was great getting so many cheers on our way to the starting line.

This morning’s race against Nereus may have been our best performance here in Henley. Despite our clean start, they were already ahead by the island, and continued moving away through the barrier. We were pushing hard to stay with them, but it wasn’t enough. Although I was disappointed by the loss, it was a good way to go out, ending a great season. I’ve heard rumors that Nereus has beaten the Dutch U23 boat more than once this season. Regardless, they are a very fast crew.

UVa contingent in front of the boat tents (Photo: Allen Miller)
We were on the water to see the finish of the Harvard-Cal race. Cal looked phenomenal. I was impressed by Nereus, but I have doubts that they can hang with the Golden Bears. Racing Sunday would have been a thrill, but we are happy to have set a new standard in overseas performance for Virginia. I think everyone on our team considers the trip a success. -MM

Thanks very much to Matt for all his hard work, getting these stories to us following days of travel and racing, as well as to Allen Miller for his great photography. We hope that this series will be valuable record for Matt and UVa, and that just as UVa has set a new standard for itself overseas, so have we done in our coverage. It was a great ride, and while it's always tough to end the season on a loss, it does mean that the UVa squad will get some well-deserved time to reflect on an outstanding year, possibly over a pint or two. I recommend the Brakspear bitter.


Friday, July 1, 2011

OTW with Matt Miller, Part VIII: Henley Friday

UVa Reaches Semifinals at Henley Royal Regatta
The Cavaliers faced another tough challenge today from the last British crew remaining in the Temple, and again UVa came out on top. Though the University of London was very quick off the line, the Cavs were able to reel them in through the middle of the piece, establishing firm control by Fawley. Here's Matt's view of the race from the five seat of the UVa eight:

The last remaining English crew of the Temple Cup did not go down without a fight. A poor start put us down to the University of London by a seat or two, but as we lengthened down to base rate, we gained back ground we had lost. The middle of the race is where we won it. We accomplished our goal of finding the rhythm that we were missing yesterday. It didn’t feel like we had worked very hard up to Fawley, and we continued to walk away. Like yesterday, a move put us a full length ahead. UL brought the rate up with about 400m to go, but only took a few seats. The race was tough, but another good learning experience. Tomorrow we face a very impressive Dutch crew, A.S.R. Nereus.

Other races we followed closely included Harvard frosh over Yale lights (they were even near Fawley when they passed us on our warm-up) and St. Andrews High School over Hampton School by a canvas. We’ll walk back to the enclosures to watch some racing Friday afternoon. Fully experiencing the regatta and staying off our feet are difficult to accomplish simultaneously.-MM

Tomorrow, the Hoos will face a very talented and experienced crew from ASR Nereus – a boat that tied the new course record to the Barrier in the Temple yesterday, just minutes after California's frosh eight had set it (by the way – Cal broke their own records again today to both the Barrier and Fawley, while Harvard's frosh set a new course record for overall time in their 3/4 length victory over Yale's lightweights). The Cavs will need to focus once again on maintaining their composure – Nereus will undoubtedly be very quick off the line, and it may be a matter of weathering the early storm well enough to once again make moves through the middle of the piece – a strong base and a good sprint have taken UVa a long way this year.

Thanks to Allen Miller for the video of the UVa men's eight coming past the hole in the wall, with the University of London trailing. For continuous updates from the course, check out the official Twitter feed of Henley Royal Regatta.