Friday, March 30, 2012

RR Friday Interview: Lightweight Sculler Nick Trojan, Part I

While you might not know it yet, Nick Trojan is a name you are likely to hear for years to come. Trojan has had international experience before, but following a fall rowing with Carlos Dinares on Lake Samish, Trojan has burst onto the senior national team candidate list with a fantastic performance in the men’s single at the first National Selection Regatta, placing fourth in a field of 38, behind only Beijing Olympians Ken Jurkowski, RR interviewee Warren Anderson, and Sam Stitt. And did I mention that Trojan is a lightweight? Here, Trojan shares some info on his background in the sport and the racing at NSR I, with a view toward further trailing this summer.

RR: How did you first get into rowing? What was it that hooked you about the sport?

NT: I started rowing at LBJC, and wasn’t that into it until I got about midway through the season and we started racing. I won my first race in a novice quad–that was the beginning of my sculling career–I wasn’t a fan of doing all the work in the beginning; I missed all the head races because I was only rowing to be in shape. But I finally raced, and winning was a big hook–it made it all seem worth it. I rowed three years there and finished rowing there as a senior in high school in the men’s lightweight double and the men’s lightweight four.

My double partner and I ended up winning [junior worlds] trials in the heavyweight double. We went to junior worlds and we got pretty well smashed there–it was good experience, but it was very tough to go from what we thought was pretty good, to very slow. But it was fun.

I rowed at OCC after high school. It was tough going from a place where most of the guys were experienced to a walk-on-oriented program at Coast. Also, I ended up being one of the smallest guys on the team. I raced with the OCC frosh eight at Crew Classic, and we placed third that year [behind Cal and Stanford].

RR: After leaving OCC, how did you get started sculling again and when did you realize you could take it to the next level?

NT: A year passed following my two years at OCC. I went to U23s in 2010 in the lightweight double, and after another time getting totally smashed I decided I would either quit or find another place to go. Nick D’Antoni [multi national champion coach with the Newport AC juniors, now men’s head coach at Long Beach Juniors] referred me to Carlos [Dinares], but I was still taking classes at OCC–after my fourth semester at Coast I moved up to Carlos’  training center in 2011. We started working from there on getting to senior trials, because U23s trails were only two or three weeks after I got up there. It was good because it was a way higher level than I had ever seen before.

We went there and I had a tough heat. I raced against Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg, who is very experienced. I pretty much went crazy in the first half of the race, and all that work in the first half caught up to me in the end, and Dan caught me in the final stretch, so I went into the reps.. I won my rep, but when I woke up the next morning for my semifinal, I was totally shot from the first day–I kind of knew it was over at that point, but went out and raced the semi as best I could.

It was cool, because I got to line up and race against Andrew Campbell, who’s the top lightweight sculler in the U.S. and in this part of the world. We had lined up against one another in high school, but seeing him in his top form was even better. Of course he crushed the field that day, and the next day.

I went back to Carlos’s after that in the fall and the rest of 2011. We kind of restarted rowing. Carlos was really helpful in establishing a new reality for me, and giving me a whole new perspective on setting what my standards should be. What I thought I knew, I discovered I had no idea.

I spent the fall up in Washington, and got to do a few erg pieces with the guys at UW; I got to sit down on an erg right next to some of the top guys in the world, and that experience really helped me to step up to another level of intensity in training. I finished off the fall, and was supposed to head back in the spring of this year, but when I got home to Southern California for the winter, I had a great deal of fun, saw my friends who were back from college or moving forward with it, and just generally enjoyed life. I was still training, because I was going to head back up to Carlos’s, but I turned 21 in January, and the day afterward I realized I didn’t want to go back up there, because it was such a difficult thing. I felt like I wanted to go back to school, and figure something else out.

I laid off the rowing for a week, and thought about other things. I was going back and forth in my head, thinking, ‘Do I really want to row this season? Do I want to just relax and watch the Olympic Trials happen?’ But I kept rowing to stay in shape, and about a week before NSR I, I did a 2k on the erg and recorded a personal best–I realized I wasn’t in that bad of shape, and the entries closed only two days after the test, so I decided to enter and give it a run.

The second half of Nick Trojan's interview to be posted next Friday, 6 April. In the meantime, Crew Classic weekend is here! Time to see how all the picks and predictions play out, and good luck to everyone racing!

-RR

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

RR Picks and Predictions: The 2012 San Diego Crew Classic

Spring racing season is upon us, and it's high time for some predictions. The field at Crew Classic is slated to be the largest to date, and there are a number of very talented teams gearing up to duke it out on Mission Bay this weekend. What follows are our thoughts on who, we think, are the top teams [Warning: opinionated content below].

Men's Events

The Men's Varsity Eight, Copley Cup:
1. Harvard
2. Cal
3. Stanford

The guys who make up the Crimson varsity eight are all (or nearly all) experienced at the international level, so flying across the country to race is not something that will rattle this crew, nor will the characteristically rough conditions on Mission Bay. The Golden Bears have a great deal of talent, with senior leadership from 2011 U23 world champ Chris Yeager, and several of last year's fantastic frosh eight moving up into the varsity eight. Stanford typically performs very well in the early season, and will be in familiar territory, while Cornell will be racing in SD for the first time in recent memory. Still, look for Big Red, Navy, and Michigan to round out the final.

The Men's Varsity Eight, Cal Cup:
1. Grand Valley State
2. Drexel
3. Orange Coast College/OCU

Grand Valley State is looking very strong this year, but the Lakers will have a real battle on their hands with Drexel. Coast and Oklahoma City University are in the same heat as GVSU, which is a tough draw–whichever makes it through the heat will likely battle for third place. Look for Notre Dame to be in the final as well, as that program continues to build momentum despite graduating Greg Flood at the end of last season.

Men's Collegiate Junior Varsity Eight:
1. Harvard
2. Cal
3. Cornell

Harvard's program is arguably the deepest in the country on the men's side this year, though Washington will likely put that to the test later this season. Cal and Cornell will be duking it out for the second spot, but they will be unlikely to catch the Crimson in San Diego.

Men's Junior Eight (High School):
1. Marin
2. Everett
3. Los Gatos

Marin has been on a tear ever since they set a new course record to win the Head Of The Charles in 2010, and they are not showing any signs of slowing down so far this season, having won the HOCR for the second straight year in the fall, and having posted impressive victories thus far in the early racing season. Everett will be another solid team, having placed third at the 2011 HOCR, and Los Gatos had some strong results in Oakland earlier this month at the Fault Line Face Off. LBJC is a wild card, but could turn in a strong performance, and NAC and MAC are probables for the final.

Women's Events

The Women's Varsity Eight, Jessop-Whittier Cup:
1. USC
2. Virginia
3. Cal

The Trojans will enter the fray to defend their titles from last season in both the varsity eight and varsity four events. Virginia has a very deep squad, and as a result may still be a ways from finding the top combination in the varsity eight. Cal will be down some big guns, with Kara Kohler and Mary Jeghers having moved on from last year's crew, but the Bears will likely be in the hunt, with Stanford and Washington in the mix.

The Women's Varsity Eight, Cal Cup:
1. Oklahoma
2. Duke
3. Iowa

This event is likely to be dominated by the Division I teams. The Sooner varsity eight is coming off a great start to the season, having defeated rival Texas for the first time earlier this month, while Duke has some U23-level talent in Emily Theys, and Iowa's program has been growing in stature over the past few seasons. Other teams to watch will be perennial NCAA DII championship contender Western Washington, and Grand Valley State.

Women's Collegiate Junior Varsity Eight: 
1. Washington
2. USC
3. Cal

There is a great deal of parity in women's rowing at the DI level, so things will be very close near the top, making picking this year's JV event quite difficult. Washington and USC are underrated coming into this event, and top seeds Cal, Stanford and Virginia are all likely to be in the hunt. We are expecting to see the Huskies and Trojans battling for the top of the podium, with Cal and Virginia out-dueling Stanford. However, it will be a very tight field.

Women's Varsity Four:
1. Virginia
2. Washington
3. USC

Washington's program will be deep this season, but no one has the depth of UVA this year. USC will be very strong–having won this event last season the Trojan women will be looking to defend their title.

Women's Junior Eight (High School):
1. Oakland
2. Marin
3. Connecticut Boat Club

The Oakland Strokes have looked excellent throughout the 2011-2012 campaign, and will look to continue that trend this weekend in San Diego. Marin are strong, but fell to Oakland at the Fault Line Face Off, and CBC will be in the mix as usual. Look also for a strong performance from Upper Natoma RC, a program that is building quickly and that will be aiming to topple some top contenders on Mission Bay.

That's it for the picks–now it's time to taper, rig, and race! Here's to a great weekend in San Diego for the  39th Crew Classic!

-RR

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Henley Boat Races: Tom Copeland Reports from Oxfordshire

Dispatches from Henley: Tom Copeland of Inner Rowing provides coverage of the 2012 Henley Boat Races, with photography courtesy of Iain Weir of RowingPhotography.co.uk.

CULRC leads OULRC (Photo: © Iain Weir)
It was under clear, sunny skies that Oxford and Cambridge met for this year's Women's and Lightweight Men's boat races in Henley-on-Thames.

The first two races down the course were the Intercollegiate Men's and Women's races which were added to the race programme for the first time last year. With Downing, Cambridge's fastest women's crew, unable to attend, Emmanuel took up the challenge of Pembroke College Ox. but were unable to match the pace of a crew which contained both Natalie Redgrave and Brianna Stubbs, both of whom were members of last year's winning Oxford Blue Boat. Pembroke crossed the line with well over a length of clear water separating the crews and having never been bothered by Emmanuel.

In the men's Intercollegiate race Gonville & Caius of Cambridge took on Pembroke, Oxford. Just a week before the Henley Boat Races the two colleges raced each other–and 400 other crews from around Britain–in the Eights Head of the River Race in London. While Pembroke rowed their way to an impressive 42nd place in the head, Caius struggled to 73rd following various crew changes and reshuffles. On the morning of the Henley races, it was seen that Caius had reshuffled again - moving their Eights' Head stroke-man to the bow seat - and general opinion along the course on was that Pembroke were going to walk it. Caius had other ideas and threw everything into the first 500m of the shortened course which ran to Remenham Farm. They quickly established a lead over Pembroke and passed the halfway marker just over three-quarters of a length in front. However, their Fly-and-die race plan saw them tiring in the closing couple of hundred meters as Pembroke wound it up for the finish, taking a seat back every couple of strokes. Had it been a full course, Pembroke would surely have overhauled the deficit, but Caius held on to win by just under half a length to defend their Intercollegiate win from last year.

The first controversy of the day came in the women's reserves' race in which the lead changed hands several times. Blondie (Cam reserves) were the faster crew off the stake boats, but were pulled back by Osiris (Ox reserves) who then moved to a length advantage as they passed the halfway marker. The Osiris crew then tried to close the door but Blondie went for a huge push which pulled back a quarter length and they continued to move. Both crews were well over towards the Bucks station and a clash seemed inevitable; race umpire Matthew Pinsent started using his flag. With crews overlapping, Osiris were warned for their steering when a clash caused the Blondie two seat to lose her blade and catch a boat-stopping crab. Osiris raced away to an unassailable lead and crossed the line first, but there was little celebration from the Oxford crew as they awaited the umpire's decision following the clash. In last year's reserves race Osiris were disqualified in a similar incident, but on this occasion the race umpire did not feel that a similar response was required, giving the race to Oxford.

Both of the women's lightweight crews moved off the start striking over forty strokes per minute, but it was the dark blue crew who showed greater composure as they moved ahead. Both crews rowed with great technical skill, but the dark blues took a well deserved win, outclassing their Cambridge rivals along the whole course. Indeed, while the Oxford women's reserves crossed the line in 6:57, the Oxford lightweights showed even greater speed to finish in a time of 6:48.

As the Cambridge ladies' first crew lined up on the stakeboats they knew that they were facing a dark blue clean-sweep. However, they also knew that they had recently beaten Oxford at the Women's Head of the River Race in London by 26 seconds - a margin which was reduced by the fact that during that race, Cambridge had suffered a boat-stopping crab. As the crews fired off the start, and Cambridge took an early lead, the race commentator Robert Treharne-Jones described the light blues' as "imperious." Cambridge continued to walk ahead opening a length of clear water as they passed through Fawley. They say that bad things come in threes and Cambridge decided to make the race a little more exciting by catching another boat-stopping crab with just 300m to go. As the Cambridge two-seat Caroline Reid was nearly pulled out of the boat, bow-seat Sarah Moir-Porteous reached forwards and wrestled the blade clear of the water. With Oxford drawing level it was a breathless, straight-sprint to the line - Cambridge crossing it just a canvas ahead.

The final race of the day saw the men's lightweight crews race down the course with Cambridge walking away from Oxford in much the same manner as the women had done half an hour before. Trailing by half a length the dark blues were looking tired and heavy as Cambridge wound it up for the finish and stretched their lead further. While there was no crab in the final couple of hundred meters, Oxford were given reason for complaint when the Cambridge cox steered across them with a lead of only three-quarters of a length, causing a clash. Cambridge crossed the line first, but again, there was a tense silence along the length of the course as the spectators strained to see which flag the umpire would raise. It was a messy end to the race and the race umpire felt that Cambridge were at fault, but that the clash did not ultimately affect the outcome of the race. A white flag was raised and Cambridge declared the winners.

As the most successful club, Cambridge also took home the Victor Ludorum, the Francombe Cup. All crews will return to Henley for the next two years until 2015 when the women's 1st VIII race will move to the Tideway's Championship Course for the first time.

-Tom Copeland

For more from Tom Copeland, please visit his insightful blog, Inner Rowing, and for an outstanding gallery of images from the 2012 Henley Boat Races, please follow the link below:

http://rowingphotography.photoshelter.com/gallery/2012-03-25-Henley-Boat-Races-2012/G0000XbGAGk1Kn9g/

-RR

Monday, March 26, 2012

Video of the Week: The 2011 Jessop-Whittier Cup, San Diego Crew Classic



This week's video comes to us from sunny San Diego, as Crew Classic has seen fit to upload a tremendous amount of racing to its YouTube channel over the past few days and weeks (currently there are 330 races available), and as this weekend marks 2012 edition of Crew Classic. The race posted above is the grand final from the premier women's varsity eight event, the Jessop-Whittier Cup,  and features three of the six crews that would later make up the varsity eight grand final at the 2011 NCAA Rowing Championships in May (Cal, Stanford, and USC). Arguably the best female sweep rower in the U.S., Eleanor Logan (who won the fall speed order in Princeton with Caroline Lind in 2011, and who more recently took first at NSR I in the W2- with fellow 2008 Olympic champion Erin Cafaro), sits in the six seat of the Cardinal eight, with GB talent Michelle Vezie in stroke, and 2011 U23 world champion Grace Luczak in the five seat, in an eight loaded with elite talent. The Cal boat boasts Kara Kohler in the six seat (currently training with the national team for a shot at London), while USC's crew is stroked by junior, U23 and senior international Ivana Filipovic of Serbia, who will return to San Diego this weekend along with the Trojan women to defend titles in the varsity eight and varsity four events from last year. Stay tuned to RR for our picks and predictions for the 2012 event as we draw closer to the weekend of racing.

(NB: If you are keen to fast forward, the race starts at 3:15 into the video.)

Want to suggest the next 'Video of the Week?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, send us your suggestion via Twitter (twitter.com/rowingrelated), or get in touch via our Facebook page.

-RR

Friday, March 23, 2012

RR Friday Interview: U.S. Olympian Kate Maloney of Williams Crew, Part II

As the Williams Ephs gear up for their first test of the season v. St. Joseph's University on March 31st, we bring you the second half of our interview with Williams College women’s rowing head coach, Kate Maloney, covering her thoughts on her development as a coach, how she rose through the ranks, and how the sport has changed at the college level since she began at Northeastern in 2002. (For the first part of this interview, on Maloney's background in the sport and experience as an athlete, click here.)

RR: Did you find that coaching grabbed you immediately? Or did you come to like it over time?

KM: I am still learning how to coach. It’s an ever-evolving process. I am more confident now than I was in 2003 in my abilities to help kids reach their full potential. But the original spark was being back in that environment, as part of a great coaching staff surrounded by highly motivated athletes.

RR: You coached at Yale for quite a while, and found a great deal of success there. During that time, how much do you feel that the level increased in intercollegiate rowing? It seems like the relative speed of crews over the last ten years has increased almost exponentially.

KM: Absolutely. I think that that is a credit to the people involved in coaching, to the high school programs developing athletes for the collegiate level, as well as to the growing number of opportunities that are out there for athletes coming into the sport. Right or wrong, there had been this belief that rowing was the repository for athletes who were generalists, or not good enough at anything else. I don’t necessarily believe that, but certainly since women’s rowing has joined the NCAA, it has attracted athletes–kids that are coming in well-trained, that would be good on the basketball court or volleyball court; kids that would be good swimmers or good runners; kids that would be able to have a career in other sports if they so chose. The idea of what is expected of an NCAA athlete is known all the way down to the high school level now.

It’s still certainly a sport that embraces walk-ons. Looking at the group of women training for the 2012 Olympics, there are certainly a number of walk-ons in that group, but there are also some phenomenal high school athletes in that mix as well. The technology has gotten better, the training has gotten better, and freshmen are arriving with a better understanding of what is needed to push our sport.

RR: You’ve coached the junior national team for a number of years, along with former Williams head coach Justin Moore (now at Syracuse). How was it moving back and forth between a DI NCAA program and the junior national team, and do you feel that your experience working with Moore in the past helped you to make a smooth transition to Williams?

KM: I have enjoyed immensely working with the junior national team. It allows me to get back to my roots in a way. If I had known about rowing at a younger age, I would have wanted to pursue the junior team, so for me it’s something very close to my heart, in terms of wanting to help these kids reach that level. I also very much enjoy working with that age group. I have, as of this summer, retired from coaching the junior team, mostly because I want to focus on my current role as head coach at Williams, but the experience with the junior squad greatly helped me in developing my coaching skills–the more athletes that you engage with on a daily basis, the more you are kept on your toes. You have to keep thinking of new ways to explain the stroke, new ways to challenge them, and new ways find cohesion.

Working with Justin Moore for two years was an amazing experience. He’s a phenomenal coach, a great mentor, and someone whom I consider a good friend. Knowing that he was the Williams coach has allowed me to call him and ask him how he dealt with certain issues at the college–it’s allowed me to have an open communication with him, and it’s certainly been a smooth transition because of the work that he and interim coach Brad Hemmerly did to build this program. It’s very much a self-fulfilling situation. I’d also like to acknowledge Will Porter and Jamie Snider at Yale for all their years of tutelage and helping me to take the next step as a head coach.

The kids work really hard, and find success, and find success because they work really hard. It’s not that I feel like an impostor to the throne, but I have been handed an amazing group of women, who are driven to push themselves to their max, give everything for Williams Crew, and who really believe in the minutia of the day-to-day work. It’s been an amazing year for me, personally, learning to express my head coaching voice, but also to be surrounded by this group of women–they inspire me on a daily basis.

Thanks very much to Kate Maloney for taking the time, and best of luck to the Ephs this season. For more on Williams Crew, please visit the official website of the Ephs.

Coming next week: RR Interviews Nick Trojan, former junior and U23 national team lightweight sculler who took fourth place at the first National Selection Regatta.

-RR

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Gannon Cup: The 2012 Edition of 'Ireland's Boat Race' Goes to UCD

The 2012 Gannon Cup–a match race between rivals University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin–took place on Monday 19 March, continuing a tradition that began in 1947. The cup is named for Ciaran Gannon, who studied Medicine and Surgery at UCD while also competing as a member of the rowing team from 1933 to 1938, serving as Captain in '37 and '38. Upon graduation, Gannon joined the war effort, serving as a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He served in Egypt, India, and Burma, and was killed in action while in Borneo in 1944. The video included below is a documentary on the race, filmed last year during the final stages of training for the 2011 event:


The Gannon Cup from Antonio Bonalana on Vimeo.

The race is roughly 2k, and is held on the River Liffey, which runs through the heart of Dublin. The women's event, the Corcoran Cup, is held on the same stretch of water, on the same day (the same will be true of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race beginning in 2015) as part of the larger event known as the Colours Boat Races. The 2012 Gannon Cup race featured a startling lead change, with Trinity blasting out of the start to hold a half-length lead through the first half of the race. UCD, however, were able to get more out of fewer strokes per minute, and overtook Trinity to win the event for the fifth straight time, as the video below (shot from the upper deck of an open-top bus) shows:



On the women's side, the Corcoran Cup went to UCD as well, though Trinity avoided a repeat of last year's sweep by winning the women's novice event. While the Colours Boat Races are in the books for 2012, Henley-on-Thames is just gearing up for this weekend's Henley Boat Races, which pit rivals Oxford and Cambridge against one another in the women's eight, and men's and women's lightweight eights. For more on this weekend's events in Oxfordshire, please visit the official website of the Henley Boat Races.

And, speaking of Oxford and Cambridge, the Boat Race is just over two weeks away, and the crews are making their way from home training centers to the Tideway in preparation for the race.

Thanks very much to Paul for sending us the link to this year's Gannon Cup video!

-RR

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Magazine Sneak Peek: Rowing News April 2012 Issue Goes to Press!

Spring racing season has begun! (Photo: B. Kitch)
The April 2012 issue of Rowing News is on the way, and if you're interested in what to look for this college rowing season–be it IRA teams, NCAA programs, or ACRA and Dad Vail squads–we're giving you an inside take, with input from a number of top coaches around the country, including Virginia's Kevin Sauer and Frank Biller, Charley Butt of the Harvard lightweight men's program, John Fuchs of Western Washington, and Sandy Calfo of Purdue. In addition to our preview of the collegiate rowing season, our cover story–an interview with Harvard men's head coach Harry Parker, now entering his 50th season at the helm of the Crimson squad–details the legendary coach's views on NCAA v. IRA, the origins of seat racing, his team and his legacy. Combine this with advice on how to coach the sprint from three-time Olympian and UCLA women's head coach Amy Fuller Kearney, coverage of the first NSR, the growing scene for rowing in Austin, TX, and reflections on rowing and coaching from Olympic gold and silver medalist Xeno Müller, and you'll be fully prepared for what's to come on the water this spring.

Coming soon to RR: Part II of our interview with Williams College head coach Kate Maloney to be posted this Friday, with an interview with lightweight sculler Nick Trojan (who took fourth place in the M1x at NSR I) to be posted next week. 

-RR

Monday, March 19, 2012

Video of the Week: The Men's Pair Final from the 2010 World Rowing Championships



This week's video comes from the 2010 World Rowing Championships in Karapiro. The men's pair was one of the closest races of the year, and, like their counterparts on the women's side, the New Zealand combination managed to hold off the British as they sprinted to the line. The margin? 0.32 seconds. It has been widely speculated that the GB pair of Andy Triggs Hodge and Pete Reed will be reincorporated into a new-look four for the London Games, to defend their gold medal in that event from Beijing on home waters. The two have pressed the Kiwi combo of Eric Murray and Hamish Bond to the absolute limit (see above), but each time the two crews have raced, Bond and Murray have found a way to win. Take last year's final in the M2- from Bled, for example–Hodge and Reed crossed the line in 6:16.27, which is exactly two seconds off the world record set by Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell in Seville during the 2002 World Championships. The only problem: Bond and Murray were only 0.5 seconds from the world's best time, finishing first in 6:14.77, marking their 14th consecutive victory over their rivals from Great Britain.

The GB Trials are complete, and again Hodge and Reed took first place in the men's pair. The Olympic rowing team from New Zealand has already been named. Now we're left to watch and wait to see how the lineups shake out as we move toward the world cup season this spring.

Want to suggest the next 'Video of the Week?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, send us your suggestion via Twitter (twitter.com/rowingrelated), or get in touch via our Facebook page.

Friday, March 16, 2012

RR Friday Interview: U.S. Olympian Kate Maloney, Head Coach of Williams College Women's Crew

Williams College on the NCAA Podium in 2011 (Photo: B. Kitch)
Like all great athletes, Williams College women’s rowing head coach, Kate Maloney, is driven by a competitive fire that is difficult to define. Often, athletes and coaches speak of finding an outward expression for this urge, but, despite the commonly accepted idea that great athletes should make great coaches, few manage to achieve at the highest level in both capacities. In this respect, Maloney is a rare example, having made a successful transition from athlete to coach following an appearance at the Sydney Olympics that both capped off her competitive career, and kindled a new flame. In Part I of our interview, Maloney speaks with RR about her beginnings in the sport, her growth as an athlete, and the new life in rowing she discovered through her first coaching position.

RR: You started rowing as a senior in high school, and, evidently, you were good at it right away. What was it that grabbed you about the sport?

KM: [Laughs] Well, I think if you talk to my first coach, Alice Henderson (now Alice Johns), she wouldn’t agree that I was good right off the bat! I can’t remember the name of the rower who sat in front of me the first time I went out in an eight, but I believe I kidney punched her about seven times. But what I found was an outlet for my competitiveness. As a kid, I had tried everything–I’d done gymnastics, track and field, etc., and was moderate to fair at all of them; in high school I got very into soccer and ski racing (downhill), but I found that by my junior year that I was pretty burnt on both those sports. I wasn’t content to be a couch potato, so my mom recommended that I go down to the local rowing club, Mt. Baker, and give it a try.

I’d done a summer learn-to-row session between my junior and senior year. After a disastrous stint on the basketball team at my high school, I decided that I would show up at the boathouse at the end of March and shop my wares. I found a really enthusiastic coach, and a great group of girls, and I just knew. I was hooked. Rowing is one of those pursuits that either grabs you right away, or you find something else to do. I loved it–just the feeling of placing the oar in the water and pulling really, really hard (albeit not all that effectively at first!).

RR: After that season you moved on to the University of Washington. How did you find the transition and when was it that you began to understand your full potential in the sport?

KM: I don’t think I understood my full potential in rowing until well into my college career, but the summer before college, Mt. Baker put together a top four, and I somehow managed to make my way into that boat–I think just by sheer desire. We went to what was US Nationals at that time, and won the youth four. It struck me that I had found a sport where I was not precluded [from the highest level] by my aversion to getting hurt (which is common in ski racing), and that I’d enjoy exploring what options were out there for me. I had applied to other schools for other sports, and none of them had strong rowing programs. It was really fortuitous that Washington was in my backyard. I applied and got in on rolling admissions.

I had a fantastic novice coach, Eleanor McElvaine, who really fostered my love of the sport, and refined my abilities. I think I knew really quickly that it was something that would allow me to push myself as far as I wanted to go. There weren’t any height constraints or fear of injury or anything like that–basically, it was going to be about how much I could push myself. Having the University of Washington right there was amazing, with fantastic coaches and great equipment–so there was nothing holding me back from pursuing it as far as I wanted to go, and I was supported all the way.

RR: Your first international experience was at the Nations Cup [now Under 23 Worlds], is that right?

KM: Yes, it was known as the Nations Cup, back in the day. It was in Groningen, The Netherlands, and it was a great experience. I went my junior year in the pair, with someone who is now one of my long-standing best friends, Sarah Jones, and we placed third. It really just turned up the intensity with which I approached the sport. I came back to the University of Washington in the fall, with a renewed vigor, thinking, ‘okay, now I’ve had a little taste of international competition, and we managed to do all right picking up a bronze medal, ‘ but in order to move up, I was going to have to come back and really commit myself to the training to start to make some national selectors pay attention to me.

RR: Apparently, the hard work paid off, as you moved up to the next level, making your first senior team was 1997, in the W4-.

KM: We finished fourth, just a hair out of third, which again revved my engines. I realized that I would really have to step it up another notch to make the priority boat, and, having done that, make the priority boat go fast.

RR: Over the next two years, you took home some hardware from the world championships. What was the feeling, going from just off the podium to winning medals at the world level?

KM: It was exhilarating. It was great to be able to see the payoff from all the hard work we had put in. Every senior team athlete trains really, really hard, and has goals of getting on the podium, so executing a race that allowed us to do that, and to only be a ‘pip’ off the Romanians, who were then in the midst of their dominance from 1996 through 2000 provided that much more fuel for the fire. We knew that we were going to be heading back into Hartmut [Buschbacher]’s training system, which was very erg focused and involved lots of miles. We had a renewed sense that this was what we had to do–there was a core group of us training at Arco at that time, and we were really feeding off one another, going out in pairs and singles, and trying to push ourselves to find that second and a half that we were lacking in Cologne.

It was great because my family was there [in Cologne] for the regatta, and I had some European relatives come and watch. It was really a moment when I realized just how far I had come since that first practice at Mt. Baker.

RR: After racing in the W8+ at the Sydney Olympics, and taking sixth place overall, what made you decide to move on to other pursuits? Did you feel that you had realized your dream as an athlete?

KM: No, not at all. I was very torn about what I wanted to do after Sydney, because I felt very unfulfilled. Obviously, I was happy to have represented my country at the Olympics, but I didn’t feel that I had represented myself to the best of my abilities. I was also very mentally drained, and wasn’t sure what direction I was going to be heading at that point. I knew that there were going to be some coaching changes, and some location changes, and I wanted to take things one step at a time.

There was no real sense after Sydney that I was done–I took some time away, went back to school and earned my degrees, and then started training in earnest on the East Coast to see if it would rekindle any feeling about what I wanted to do. In the end, I realized that I was not mentally ready to do it again. Every elite athlete that you talk to will tell you that it’s a very mentally trying process, and some people are able to manage that better than others; some decide that it’s not the thing that is important to them anymore. For me it was a slow realization that I wasn’t going to be able to put my best foot forward again as an athlete.

At that time, I had an opportunity to get into coaching. I was living in Boston in 2002-2003 and began coaching at Northeastern–it was then that I realized I had a real passion for that. I started this slow evolution, continuing my involvement in the sport in a different capacity. I wasn’t ready to walk away from the sport, but I wasn’t ready to commit myself to the full extent necessary to be a national team athlete. I think what I realized right off the bat was that I greatly enjoyed working with these young women, and helping them to achieve their potential, be it wanting to make the second boat, or make the varsity, or think about training at a higher level. But I think what hooked me one it was being around a group of really focused, hard-working individuals, and being able to bring my own experiences to help them.

Part II of our interview, on Maloney’s growth and experience as a coach, to be posted next Friday.

-RR

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Head of the River This Weekend: A Trip Down the Course with UTRC



The 2012 Head of the River Race is scheduled for this Saturday, 17 March, at 11am. The above video (shot during the 2011 HoRR) is a great example of how to manage the race from start to finish, put together by this Upper Thames RC crew (which started 179th, and finished in 35th overall). The video shows the race in its entirety, and, because of the multiple angles and GPS information, as well as the statistics included (based on the iPhone SpeedCoach app from Nielsen-Kellerman), it provides the viewer with a complete experience of the event–something that might prove a useful in preparation for the weekend.

Thanks to Tom for sending us the video!

Want to make a suggestion? Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, send us your suggestion via Twitter (twitter.com/rowingrelated), or get in touch via our Facebook page.

Coming up tomorrow: Part 1 of our two-part interview with U.S. Olympian and Williams College women's rowing head coach, Kate Maloney.

-RR

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Coaches' Corner: Managing Bodyweight and Composition for Optimal Performance

Rowing is about getting the body to perform. If you desire to be an elite athlete, you must treat your body, in many ways, like 'a well-oiled machine.' The less cliché way of putting it is to say that you must take care of it, and make sure it is a finely tuned piece of equipment that will be capable of producing high performance at the desired time. Your body is the vehicle with which you pursue your athletic goals. Of course, it requires an extreme amount of mental discipline and dedication, but I believe each of us has a great deal of control over the shape, size and composition of our bodies.

Before we get into it, let me make a few things clear:

First, I understand and am aware that there are a lot of pressures and misconceptions about ideal body image/composition, and that there are discrepancies sometime between what is healthy and what people want their bodies to look like–I am sensitive to that reality. I am not recommending a diet or preferred body type. I do, however, want to see the people who may have a desire to have a different size, shape or body composition, achieve their desired result.

Without a doubt, there are many problems with body image in society and real, very serious psychological problems that are associated with topics like this, which should all be considered and treated very carefully. I am absolutely of the opinion that those are dangerous issues, which are prevalent in our society, and in no way do I intend to brush that aside–for any serious issue, you should consult a doctor. I am strictly writing from an athletic performance perspective and addressing certain people who may have a desire to gain muscle mass to improve their performance or those that are looking to become leaner and more efficient.

Now that we have that established, let's move on, shall we?

Whether it is a lightweight rower, trying to lose a bit of weight while staying strong and fit, or a heavyweight rower trying to add muscle and mass to increase power and strength in order to compete with naturally taller, stronger athletes, issues of weight gain, weight loss and changing body composition are quite relevant in rowing as in most sports. Each sport tends to have an ideal or prototypical build. This is especially true of strength and endurance sports (like running, cycling, swimming, rowing, etc.) and less true with skill sports (like golf, baseball, etc.). If you think of the prototypical elite heavyweight male rower, it would be someone about 6'4"-6'8" roughly 195-225 pounds with very well developed quadriceps, glutes and lats among other sport-specific muscles. When you think of an elite marathon runner, sprinter, or cyclist you will get a similarly clear image of what sort of build they are each likely to have. Obviously, not every athlete fits the prototype, but it is not a coincidence that people of similar build tend to succeed in a given sport.

Some of this build is natural, some of it is developed. If you row 30k a day and train at an elite level, you are going to have very well-defined quadriceps and back muscles. If you are a marathon runner logging upwards of 120 miles a week of running and doing no upper body weight lifting, you are likely to be pretty lean with very little upper body muscle. The reality is that body shape and composition can play a role in success in these sports. It is important to pay attention to these things if you aspire to become great and develop yourself in a way that will help you reach your individual potential whereever that may be.

The course at Bled, from the grandstand (Photo: B. Kitch)
You should treat weight gain or loss and muscle building as though you have complete control of it, because you do. It is, in many ways, a very simple process. Simple doesn't mean it is easy! It requires a great deal of work and discipline with respect to nutrition and hard work in training to gain good, functional weight (muscle). Ask most professional cyclists or distance runners and you will discover that actual body weight and composition is very important in making sure they are able to achieve their optimal racing performance. Matt Fitzgerald wrote a book addressing this specific issue.

In the famous (infamous?) 1977 film, Pumping Iron, Arnold Schwarzenegger makes a comparison between a body-builder and a sculptor. "Good body-builders have the same mind...that a sculptor has. You analyze it, you look in the mirror and you say, 'okay, I need a little bit more deltoid. A little bit more shoulders so that we can get the proportions right,'" Schwarzenegger says. "So what you do is you exercise, and you put those deltoids on, whereas an artist would just slap on some clay on each side–that's maybe the easier way. We do it the harder way because we have to do it on the human body."

Just like an artist can add to a sculpture and get the desired result if he or she does the work, so too can you add muscle/strength through weight training and nutrition or lose fat to become leaner (you can also do the same thing with aerobic training and increasing your endurance). These things are all just processes the body must go through–if you do the work and follow the formula, you will always get stronger or leaner or fitter or faster. The sculptor doesn't have to cross his or her fingers and hope to get lucky. If the sculptor has the talent and does the work, the desired result will be achieved.

I believe that, generally speaking (and I know I'm in the minority on this), most individuals can choose to shape their bodies however they want. I believe that almost anyone is capable of gaining a bunch of weight and looking like one of the contestants on 'The Biggest Loser,' or working to achieve the look of  a lean but muscular body builder, and everywhere between the two extremes. These different body types are not necessarily easy to achieve for every individual, and indeed in some cases, certain people may have a very difficult time getting to one extreme or another (i.e. someone with a slow metabolism is going to have a very difficult time becoming skinny and lean just like a person with a fast metabolism will have a very difficult time if he/she tried to become obese). My point is not that it is easy for everyone to achieve any result with his/her body, just that it is possible. If you are trying to achieve a certain result and you are failing, I would say that in most cases it is either because you lack the extreme discipline and diligence required, or you are simply going about it incorrectly. Unless you suffer from some sort of medical condition in which your body actually shuts down or stops producing certain chemicals at a certain point, affecting your body chemistry, I see no reason why you cannot shape your body like an artist would create a piece of art.

Still, in training and coaching, I've often heard the phrases, "I just can't gain weight," or, "I can't seem to lose weight," when the more appropriate/accurate statement might be, "I don't know how to lose/gain weight," or, "I lack the discipline and work ethic to gain/lose weight." If you really want to gain weight, then eat more calories every 24 hours on a daily basis until you gain the weight. The same thing goes for trying to lose weight. If you are not losing weight, then either eat less or burn more calories everyday with consistency until you do. Weight gain and loss is, ultimately, a simple equation. If you consume the same number of calories as your body burns on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, you will neither gain nor lose weight. If you consume more calories than your body burns on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, then you will gain weight in an amount proportional to the discrepancy between the calories consumed and calories burned. This is a very simple concept, which I think most of us are fully aware of in theory, but in practice many people seem incapable of utilizing it to achieve results.

There are complicating factors, however, as certain foods allow the body to store more water, which can lead to rapid short-term weight gain. (This can be extremely important for lightweight athletes managing weight during a period of competition.) So, management of nutrition is extremely important in addition to the calorie game.

As with most aspects of athletic training, consistency is key. If you burn 3500 calories a day, and you eat 4000 calories three days in a row, but only eat 3000 calories the fourth day, that is not doing everything you can to gain weight. It is the same concept as someone who trains hard on the erg twice a week and the rest of the time doesn't do much training. It doesn't matter how hard the person works in those two sessions a week, if there is not consistent training throughout the entire week, every week, then there may not be significant change or improvement.

Once you have this as the baseline, two other things will determine what type of weight/mass you are adding. Obviously, just eating more than you are burning everyday with zero exercise will only add fat, which is not good, functional weight and would decrease your athletic performance. In order to make sure the type of mass you are adding is functional, the two things you must do are 1) train very hard and 2) eat the proper nutrition in terms of ratio and amount of protein, carbohydrates and fat in your daily diet.

Lastly, if you are a smaller rower trying to gain muscle mass to be able to compete with those naturally bigger and stronger than you, then remember, you must work very hard and really push yourself in the weight room. Hard work helps to break your muscle fiber down every time you are in the weight room, and then, through proper nutrition and rest between lifting days, your body will rebuild and add mass to become stronger, which is the only goal that matters. Weight gain by itself does nothing to increase rowing performance if you are not stronger, fitter and more powerful.

-Justin and the RR Team

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

GB Trials Done and Dusted - Next up, USRowing Hosts NSR I in Chula Vista

GB Olympic Trials

GB Rowing hosted its Olympic Trials over the weekend at Eton Dorney, and the racing featured a number of notable no-shows, some predictable results, and a few surprises. The list of athletes not competing at the event grew throughout the week, and the final tally included both members of the defending world and Olympic champs in the LM2x (this has Rowing Illustrated's Sean Wolf ready to predict that New Zealand's Storm Uru and Peter Taylor will take the crown in London), as well as Rob Williams and Richard Chambers (of the LM4-), Hester Goodsell of last year's bronze medal LW2x in Bled, Annie Vernon of the W4x, and several members of the heavyweight men's squad. Despite the long list of absentees, the racing was intense and showed off the depth and top-end speed of the GB squad in the midst of its selection process.

Andy Triggs Hodge and Pete Reed took first place in the M2-, as expected, but the field was reshuffled behind the top pair, with high-performing youngsters George Nash and Constantine Louloudis claiming third place overall, behind the 'Alex pair' of Alex Partridge and Alex Gregory. The racing was very tight for third, fourth and fifth place–Richard Egington and Tom James, who finished less than two seconds back of Louloudis and Nash, just held off the charging Moe Sbihi and James Foad by 0.02 seconds, while the new combination of Tom Ransley and Greg Searle took sixth. It has been interesting to see the extent to which head coach Jürgen Grobler's decision has been all but confirmed by the British media regarding moving Triggs Hodge and Reed into the four, which would reorder the priorities of the squad to four, eight, and pair, respectively. Ultimately, it is important to remember that the decision lies with one man, and it's hard not to get the sneaking suspicion that Hodge and Reed might be in his ear for one more shot at the Kiwi pair this summer, despite all the talk.

If Hodge and Reed are moved into the M4- (and, given the hints dropped by the likes of Sir Steve Redgrave about the lineups, I must admit, it seems very much on the horizon), then the four will likely enter the Games as a gold medal favorite, though Australia's new-look four will no doubt provide quite a challenge this season, with Ginn and Free reunited, along with physiological phenom Joshua Dunkley Smith and Will Lockwood (clearly, these guys don't get along at all). The eight will (featured in the video below), in this scenario, undoubtedly be faster and almost certainly include Nash and Louloudis, but should be careful not to be too solely focused on the Germans, as the Canadians, Australians, Dutch, and (we think) Americans could, if all goes according to plan, pose a threat to any level of the podium. The pair would still be highly competitive, given the depth on the squad, but it would be quite a task to go from a different boat class to the podium in the M2- on such short notice (though Scott Frandsen and Dave Calder of Canada proved it could be done in Beijing).



Alan Campbell took first place in the M1x, ahead of one half of the 'Red Express,' Matt Wells. While there has been much speculation about the possible movement of Campbell into a new M2x, it seems unlikely given the depth of the field in that event (among the deepest in all of world rowing), the success of Matt Wells and Marcus Bateman (who made the final only to succumb to a stomach bug that plagued the GB squad last year in Bled the night before the race), and Campbell's powers in the single, which earned him another worlds medal last summer despite early season setbacks.

Decisions, decisions.

On the women's side, Heather Stanning and Helen Glover all but stamped their names on their seats for the Games, and Katherine Grainger was able to overturn last year's result against doubles partner Anna Watkins (who recently set a new world record for 5k on the 'ergo'), taking first place in the W1x. The lightweight racing saw last year's winner Sophie Hosking take second place behind a surprisingly quick Kat Copeland, who raced as an member of the GB U23 LW2x in Amsterdam, before taking fifth place overall in the LW1x at senior worlds in Bled last summer. This has opened up questions about the LW2x, despite good results last season–something that can be said of nearly every crew fielded by GB Rowing in 2011.

NSR I, Chula Vista

Coming up this week is the first National Selection Regatta in Chula Vista, CA, and there are a number of the top athletes in the U.S. system set to compete in the M2-, W2-, M1x and LM2-. It's not possible to comment on the women's side, as the coaching staff has decided not to reveal any information regarding lineups. On the men's side, however, there are a number of names that jump off the list.

We are picking the duo of Glenn Ochal and Charlie Cole as the favorite entering the fray, as Cole has been the top starboard in the U.S. for some time now, and Ochal is possessive of a truly elite physiology. Henrik Rummel and Jake Cornelius will be very competitive as well, but Cornelius has battled injury quite a bit during training over the past couple of seasons, and the combination of Will Miller and Scott Gault is given to the only instance of 'doubling up' (at least on paper), as Miller is listed in the M1x as well (whether this is indeed the case remains to be seen).

As for the M1x, it's a deep field. However, it's tough to see anyone beating Ken Jurkowski at this point. Sam Stitt, Warren Anderson, and Will Miller, who were thrown into a quad together (along with Ochal) last summer, managing eighth place despite the late start, will certainly be in the hunt. Nearly everyone in the Graves/de Regt family will be present and in much better form than at the fall speed order, in addition to a host of very experienced lightweights, including Tom Paradiso, Bob Duff, Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg, Greg Ruckman, and Cody Lowry. Jamie Koven will be back sculling after spending some time with the sweep camp in Oakland, and it will be very interesting to see how he performs in this quality field. Given the level of talent, it's easy to predict some great racing.

NSR I kicks off on Thursday morning.

(Note: for more on the above video, as well as to see others like it, check out 'The Squad' webcasts on the official site of the GB Rowing Team.)

-Bryan and the RR Team

Monday, March 12, 2012

Video of the Week: Thames RC Wins 2012 Women's Head of the River - The Coxswain's Perspective



This week's video comes to us from London, and gives the viewer the coxswain's perspective of just what it took to win the Women's Head of the River Race this year. There is much to be gained from this video in terms of both managing the crew as well as the crew's position on the river, as Thames started 12th, forcing coxswain Hannah Burke to weave her way down the course while striving to give her boat every advantage. The conditions were very challenging coming through Hammersmith and approaching Harrods, as is evident from the video–the crew does well to maintain speed and and stay aggressive, chasing down several more boats before crossing the finish line in front of Putney Bridge.

Thanks very much to Hannah for sending us the video! Want to suggest the next 'Video of the Week?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, send us your suggestion via Twitter (twitter.com/rowingrelated), or get in touch via our Facebook page.

Coming this week: Part 1 of our two-part interview with U.S. Olympian and Williams College women's rowing head coach, Kate Maloney.

-RR

Thursday, March 8, 2012

GB Rowing Trials this Weekend Will Feature Some Notable Absences

The GB Trials scheduled for this coming weekend will feature a couple of notable no-shows, including defending world and Olympic champion in the lightweight men's double, Zac Purchase. Not only will Purchase be on the sidelines for the event, he posted what some feel is a controversial blog entry to his website yesterday, explaining the situation while alluding to his past successes at Trials as well as his hopes for the London Games. The last three years have been difficult for Purchase from a training perspective, as he missed an entire year of competition due to illness following Beijing (also, doubles partner Mark Hunter was taking a year off, coaching with the UCLA women's rowing team in California–more on this in Hunter's RR interview following worlds last year), and since then has battled illnesses at key times, only to come back and deliver again and again when it counts most. Just last year, Purchase missed Lucerne due to illness; Hunter raced to an eighth place finish in the LM2x at the final World Cup of the summer with Adam Freeman-Pask.

The duo of Hunter and Purchase was reunited just in time for Bled, however, and proved that they are still the combination to beat at the world level, edging emerging rivals Peter Taylor (who recently, unofficially, broke the world's best time set by Purchase at Eton in 2006, competing at the 2012 NZ National Championships and posting a 6:44.38 in the LM1x) and Storm Uru of New Zealand in a very close race to take the world title once again. Further background on the relationship between Purchase and Hunter, and how that relationship has weathered the storm of expectations and uncertainty up to this point, is revealed in this article, published today by BBC Sport. While some people might call them cocky, it is that very confidence that carried the two of them through last season, which they capped off with a dramatic victory. Still, the team dynamic needs to be carefully managed–something of which GB team manager David Tanner is no doubt acutely aware.

Another key absence will be Nathaniel Reilly-O'Donnell, who rowed on the GB men's eight last year in Bled that took silver. Reilly-O'Donnell, who was scheduled to race with last year's seven-man Tom Ransley, will not be competing this weekend due to illness. Ransley will instead race with Greg Searle in the M2- event.

-RR

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race One Month Away Today



The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race is one month away, and the fifth episode in Oxford's six part series on the preparation for the race has been released. This episode covers the relationship between the Boat Race and the media, which can be quite surprising to an American audience–the Boat Race is one of the most well-attended sporting events in London every year, with people lining the banks of the Thames all the way down the 4-mile course from Putney to Chiswick Bridge. The video includes an interview with rowing historian for the River and Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames (and Rowing News contributor) Christopher Dodd. And, as Paul Davies of BBC Sport points out, at the Beijing Olympics alone, nine athletes had competed in the Boat Race on their way to podium finishes on the sport's grandest stage.

The lineups for the Blue Boats were announced as of Monday. Cambridge weighed in as the heavier crew, made up almost entirely of internationals (only one British oarsman, Mike Thorp, is in the crew this year). The Light Blue Boat includes three Americans–former Washington Husky and 2009 IRA Champion in the open four Niles Garratt at stroke, Wisconsin Badger alum Steven Dudek in the six seat, and Jack Lindeman, formerly of Princeton University, in the two seat. The Oxford crew features former Stanford oarsman Kevin Baum (who is the American interviewed in the above video, and who who rowed on the Cardinal eight that tied for silver with Harvard at the 2007 IRA Regatta in an incredible photo finish) in the three seat, and Rhodes Scholar William Zeng, who competed as a lightweight at Yale, in the two seat.

The most recent fixture (scrimmage on the Tideway) was between Oxford and an eight made up of German U23 athletes. The fixture consisted of two pieces, the first from the race start (in front of Putney Bridge) to the St. Paul's School boathouse, and the second from the Chiswick Eyot to the end of the Boat Race course at in front of Tideway Scullers School. Oxford trailed through much of the first piece, but came back to win making use of a decisive move through Hammersmith to gain an advantage. The second piece also went to Oxford, and featured a clash approaching the finish. (For a full write-up, see Peter McConnell's report on the official website of the Boat Race.)

The next Tideway fixture, this one between the Cambridge eights (Blue Boat and Goldie) and crews from Leander Club, is set for this Saturday, 10 March.

-RR

Monday, March 5, 2012

Video of the Week: Rowing Parody of 1998 World Cup Credits



This week's video comes to us from rowingphotography.co.uk photographer (and RR contributor) Iain Weir, showcasing some of the most fantastic 'race faces,' the roughest conditions, the most miserable mishaps, and devastating crabs ever caught on film. The images are paired with a dramatic reading of Rudyard Kipling's If, and the end result is, well, brilliant. The video asks the question, How do you respond to adversity? And, coupled with the poem, it delivers the answer: Hold on.

Want to suggest the next 'Video of the Week?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, send us your suggestion via Twitter (twitter.com/rowingrelated), or get in touch via our Facebook page.

Also, updates to come via the Monday edition of the Rowing News eNewsletter (free to sign up, and you can unsubscribe at any time) and RowingNews.com regarding the Heart of Texas Regatta, held in Austin over the weekend, as well as the Women's Head of the River Race on the Tideway last Saturday.

-RR

Sunday, March 4, 2012

From the Press Room at RR: Pocock Racing Shells Announces First Ever Coach-Con

Source: Press Release/Pocock Racing Shells
Educational Conference Aims to Equip Assistant Rowing Coaches with Skills Necessary to be a Head Coach

Everett, WA (March 2, 2012): June 26-27 2012 Pocock Racing Shells will be playing host to a select group of the top assistant collegiate rowing coaches in the US. The two-day long program will cover the topics necessary to be successful as a head rowing coach, but that aren’t readily available via the current education options.

“We talk to assistant coaches on a daily basis, and more times than not, they start coaching right after graduation and find it difficult to educate themselves on everything that their head coach expects them to know,” says Pocock Racing Shells’ John Tytus. “Without a doubt, this sport gets better with better educated coaches. George Pocock believed that, and was always willing to help out any coach - be it at the shop, on the dock, or in the launch. It’s a core value that we still prioritize 100 years later.”

Unlike traditional lecture-style conventions, Coach-con will foster a casual environment where coaches can feel comfortable asking questions and voicing their opinions. As a defining and driving force behind a century-long evolution of rowing shells, Pocock Racing Shells offers a unique perspective to the education typically presented at coaching conventions. Seminar topics include:

· Extensive racing shell rigging: hands-on, basic and corrective
· Physics of rowing: video analysis and discussion
· Rowing shell repair: identifying and tackling shell damage
· NCAA Recruiting: the Must-Know list of recruiting guidelines (led by CRCA President Bill Zack)
· Trailer 101: loading, driving, and maintaining for safety
· Boat construction: materials and methods

Coach-Con is sponsored and hosted by Pocock Racing Shells, and is open to any men’s or women’s assistant collegiate rowing coach. Attendance will be extremely limited and based on an application submitted by the assistant coach, as well as their head coach’s recommendation. Applications are due May 1, 2012, and invitees will be notified by May 15. The only cost to attendees is travel to and from Seattle. For more information and to apply or nominate, visit www.pocock.com/coachcon.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Film for the Weekend: The 1989 World Rowing Championships in Bled



This film showcases a number of the most important coaches in our sport today during their athletic careers, including Paul Reedy, now LW2x coach with Team GB and chief coach of London Rowing Club, in the AUS M2x, Boston University head coach Thomas Bohrer in the USA M4-, and Robin Williams, now Team GB LM4- coach, in the GB LM8+ (and, funny enough, his biography has been conflated with that of one of his athletes, LRC's Rob Williams, on the FISA website–scroll down to where the current LM4- stroke was, evidently, winning silver at age 3), as well as current Pac-12 rivals Yaz Farooq of Stanford and UCLA's Amy Fuller Kearney, both of whom were competing at their first senior world championships in the USA W8+. The footage is high quality, and includes a great deal of slow motion, providing a very thorough look at the technique employed, as well as serving to emphasize the raw power and dynamism of our sport. These world championships took place at an extremely pivotal point in world history–Bled was at that time part of Yugoslavia, and Germany was still divided (shortly afterward, the wall fell in Berlin, as the video's creator, Mike Nicholson of Australia, notes in the commentary). Also of note–Sir Steve Redgrave finished second in the M2- and fifth in the M2+ at this regatta (having come first in the M2- and third in the M2+ at the 1988 Olympic Games, and first and second in the respective events in 1987).

More to come through the weekend as Rowing News heads to Austin for the Heart of Texas Regatta (stay tuned to Twitter, @rowingrelated and @RowingNews, for updates)!

-RR