Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Costumes and Rowing: Mike Gennaro Showing Us How it's Done

While we're anticipating another good weekend of racing, with data from the Head Of The Charles, the Head of the Schuylkill, and the Princeton Chase already available for rowing hot stove discussions, it's nearly time to get serious again. But before we do that, we'd be remiss if we didn't celebrate some of the best rowing Halloween costumes of the 2013 season. And, never short on banter, Mike Gennaro and his fellow teammates on the U.S. squad brought their A-game to Lake Carnegie this morning.

While Gennaro may be the first-ever hot dog to do pieces in a pair, Grant James was keeping things in order in the bow, though the rowing was a bit, robotic (sorry).

Monday, October 28, 2013

Double-Feature Video Of The Week: Elevating the Recruiting Video to an Art Form

This week's double-feature is thanks to your submissions, and showcases two equally well executed, yet totally different approaches to the recruiting video. In fact, I hesitate to use the term recruiting video, lest it cheapen the efforts of the filmmakers here—from the variety of shots, to the careful editing, to the clear narrative that each video follows, these films are fine pieces of work. In the above video, Chris Mare introduces us to Sagamore Rowing Association in a piece that gives an impression of the variety of boat classes, the skill and technique involved, and the natural beauty of rowing and sculling, all without a single spoken word.

Our second feature comes from Julien Rodier and the University of Vermont, where we are shown the full arc of a season of training in seven minutes, thoughtfully narrated and capped off with a great line: "We have our own lives, our own aspirations, our own goals. But when we get in that boat, we are one—one life, one aspiration, one goal. We are more than just a team. We are a crew."

While, in both cases, the rowing itself isn't as polished as at the top-flight varsity programs, the values that are celebrated—hard work, teamwork, dedication, selflessness—are universal, and, in many ways, define our sport. Hats off, gents.

Have a submission for 'Video Of The Week?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, send us your suggestions via Twitter, or get in touch via our Facebook or Google+ pages.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Caution: Falling Records at the Head Of The Charles

Last weekend in Boston saw many records fall, and new stars rise. Indeed, as pointed out by World Rowing, ideal weather conditions and tremendous talent came together to produce no fewer than 20 new course records. Also, given the proliferation of digital video cameras on the water, it was perhaps the most well-documented race in the 49-year history of the event (see above—and thanks to Phil Hoyle of Potomac Boat Club for submitting what is likely the first-ever 'five-seat view' Charles race video).

The competition was heavily laden with international stars in our sport, and the men's championship single event was a prime example, featuring newly crowned world champions Kjetil Borch and Nils Jakob Hoff of Norway, defending Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale, U.S. Olympian Tom Paradiso, and several U.S. athletes recently returned from sculling events in Chungju in the form of John Graves, Ben Dann, and Willy Cowles. Not only did Borch repeat as champion, he crushed the course record by some 17 seconds. So fast was Borch that his double partner Hoff, who also broke the record by roughly six seconds, had to settle for second place. Drysdale finished third, and looks to be getting back into the right kind of shape, with a more focused approach and attitude after having taken some time away from sculling following his Olympic title last year—not to mention some quality post-race banter:

Graves finished an impressive fifth, just behind Dutch Olympian Jozef Klaassen two seconds ahead in fourth place. The result for Graves put him just over 2% back of Borch, and less than four seconds back of Drysdale.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Video Of The Week: Michigan Alumni Honor Bill Schnittman at 2013 Head Of The Charles

The 2013 Head Of The Charles is in the books, and the 49th edition of rowing's 'Fall Classic' had all the drama, close finishes, and great racing that so characterize the event. A great deal of international talent was on display throughout the weekend, with the above crew from Michigan—stroked by 2012 U.S. Olympian Tom Peszek—taking fourth place in the men's alumni eight on Saturday afternoon, just three seconds back of a Cambridge alumni crew (Crabtree) stroked by double Olympic gold medalist Tom James of Great Britain. The Michigan crew donned special uniforms, designed by the late Bill Schnittman, in honor of their fallen Wolverine teammate. The championship events were, as usual, loaded—we'll take a closer look at our favorite moments from the 2013 Charles later this week. In the meantime, you can get caught up on all the action in Boston, and view complete regatta results, via the official website of the Head Of The Charles.

Also on tap are more of your recruiting videos—thanks for all your submissions and we'll post our top picks later this week, and feature our overall favorite as next week's #VOTW.

Have a submission for 'Video Of The Week?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, send us your suggestions via Twitter, or get in touch via our Facebook or Google+ pages.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Charles Chat: Riverside's Sean Wolf on Taking the Best Line in Boston

Wolf racing the Head Of The Charles (Photo courtesy Igor Belakovskiy)

The Head Of The Charles is looming ever larger this weekend, and the rowing world has already begun to descend upon Boston. The Charles is a fantastic, fun race, and a challenging course. Here, we check in with friend of RR Sean Wolf of Riverside Boat Club and Rowing Illustrated—a man who has spent many morning and evening flying down that famous stretch of river—about what he feels are the most difficult turns on the course, and how to approach them.

RR: I’m not calling you old, but you’re one of the ‘venerable’ (old) Charles competitors, so it seemed only right to check in with you on what you feel is the most difficult turn at the Head Of The Charles, and how to handle it.

Sean Wolf: [Laughs] It’s a good question. Everyone talks about [John W.] Weeks Bridge—I always stress to people that it’s not so much about messing up as you begin the turn, it’s how you recover from a mistake. Sometimes people just don’t recover in the right way, if that makes sense. Most people don’t get it 100 percent right—Weeks is a difficult turn. If you don’t come through Weeks right, you could be totally thrown off for Anderson [Memorial] Bridge. I come through Weeks, I find my point off the clock tower—when I finish up with my turn, I look straight up, find the clock tower there and use the base of the clock tower to take a direct line from the tower to the right side of Anderson Bridge.

Most people, if they don’t approach Weeks right, then they don’t recover, and it just spirals out of control by the time they reach Anderson. It’s important not to overcorrect—you can lose 10 seconds in that stretch if you try to do too much.

For me, I worry about Boston University Bridge when they set up the chute—there are too many of us that end up hitting the B.U. Bridge depending on the way they line up the starting queue because we’re just used to approaching it in a different way. So that’s my own little struggle getting through there—I usually get it down, but it’s always in the back of my mind.

RR: What about the age-old debate about the right-hand arches versus the center arches on the Powerhouse Stretch?

SW: It’s all about what’s going on in front of you, if you are passing people. For years international crews have come down and used those right-hand arches to just blow by a couple boats if they start in the back of the pack, and a lot of the hometown scullers, if the turn is set up right, will go through the first right arch. However, you can get lost if you’re trying to get over to the right arch and get sucked into shore if you don’t do it right. I always tell people that when you come off the turn, see where you are—you don’t want to overcorrect either direction. If you end up more toward the middle, then go for the straight shot. If you end up more on the right side, then go right first then center. The fastest shot, I’ve always felt, is to go right, center, center through the three bridge of the Powerhouse Stretch. But again, it all depends on how you come off that Magazine Beach turn—you don’t want to spend time correcting, you just want to take that straight shot and go.

RR: I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you about the increasingly famous (infamous?) Riverside party on Sunday night. There’s a video floating around using some of The Spracklen Philosophy that even Kevin Light thought was pretty funny.

SW: It’s the party to go to—my company, WinTech King, is sponsoring it this year along with Riverside. We’re looking forward to a great time, people getting together from all levels of rowing just to have some drinks and tell some good stories. And as for the rest—how does that Las Vegas slogan go?

Thanks very much to Sean for taking the time, and good luck to everyone racing in Boston this weekend!


Monday, October 14, 2013

Video Of The Week: Head Race Training with Maritime Rowing

It's Charles week! In honor of that most famous parade through the heart of Boston, we're taking a look at the hard work that it takes to get there. Maritime Rowing Club's men's masters crew is entered in the men's club eight event for Saturday afternoon, and features 2009 USRowing U23 national teamer Nate Kelly (formerly of Trinity College) in the stroke seat, and former junior and U23 national team oarsman Brendan McEwan (a Georgetown alum) in the six seat. Not only does the above video involve some nifty editing and camera work, it sums of the kind of fall training that every crew headed to Cambridge this weekend will have done in preparation for the biggest rowing event in the U.S. For more information on the Head Of The Charles—now just a few short days away—visit their official website, and for entries and schedules, head over to RegattaCentral.

Over the past few days, we've received some pretty outstanding rowing recruiting videos from you, our beloved audience—look for more videos to be featured soon here on RR, and if you've yet to submit a video that you think is worthy of a look, then don't be shy.

Also coming up—we'll connect with Sean Wolf, the cagey veteran of Cambridge, on what he feels is the most challenging part of the Charles, and how to handle it.

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 or get in touch via our Facebook or Google+ pages.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Rowing Erg(o) Playlist for Fall 2013: Get Amped

Thanks to your submissions, we've pieced together the above erg(o) training mix to get you ready to tackle your 10k steady state, interval training, or whatever your assignment may be in style. It's bass-heavy and electronic, adding an element of rhythm. Also, we've left just a little more room for additions, in case there's a favorite of yours that you don't already see included. 

While we can discuss the problems and benefits of having music during training (having trained with coaches on both sides of that fence), we hope you enjoy it, and use it (or not) as you see fit. 

And yes, we just made you a mixtape. 


Monday, October 7, 2013

Video Of The Week: UCSB Gauchos Rowing Recruitment 2013

The Gauchos have stepped up their game. The 2013 spring season was one for the record books at UCSB, winning the Cal Cup at San Diego Crew Classic, as well as an ACRA victory in the men's lightweight varsity four, while the women's varsity eight took second behind Grand Valley State at ACRAs. The above video is their 2013-2014 recruiting video, and clearly they've gone the extra mile here, too—nicely edited to match the soundtrack, and a variety of camera angles on the water, land training, and a whole montage of coxswain tosses. Hey, it was that kind of season.

Last year, we ran our first-ever RRecruiting Video Contest, and we counted down our top five entries en route to crowning an overall winner. While most varsity programs have year-round recruiting programs and a host of resources dedicated to that purpose, the club system renews its search for the next Seth Weil, or Amy Fuller Kearney (herself a former UCSB rower), or Bryan Volpenhein. Have you been putting together a rowing recruiting video this season? Ship it our way and you might just see it featured right here on RR.

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 or get in touch via our Facebook or Google+ pages.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Feature: Mike Nicholson on the 2013 World Rowing Masters Regatta, MUBC, and His Rowing Films

The above feature comes to us from the prolific rowing filmmaker, Mike Nicholson, and is the latest in a series of rowing documentaries that Nicholson has out together detailing the sport's past and present. Here, finally, we not only get a sense for the other athletes and for the regatta itself, but also for Nicholson's own background—a life that has been closely tied to rowing from an early age. And, to the delight of rowing enthusiasts and historians alike, his passion for filming and documenting our sport goes back almost as far. Even better—his work is posted to his YouTube Channel, available to all for free. Here, we catch up with Mike on his personal background in rowing and as a filmmaker.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

RR Interview: Seth Weil of the U.S. Men's Four

Seth Weil had a phenomenal year. Having begun his career as a club oarsman at the University of California, Davis, under head coach Sam Sweitzer, Weil began training in the single shortly after finishing his intercollegiate career, first at his old program, then at GMS, and finally under the tutelage of Carlos Dinares. Then, following roughly a year of training at Lake Samish, an opportunity to attend a training camp at Chula Vista with the U.S. national team arose. Weil immediately made an impression, despite not having rowed as a sweep oarsman in some time, and began to rise through the ranks. With pair partner Henrik Rummel, Weil won the NSR I, and from there earned a seat in what had been deemed the top priority crew for the U.S.: the men's four.

Lucerne was the site of the third World Rowing Cup this season, and Weil and the U.S. men's four immediately made an impression, winning the heat and setting themselves up as probable favorites to take gold in the final. And, when it came time for the final, they didn't disappoint. Despite it being Weil's first-ever international regatta, he and the crew of Rummel, Mike Gennaro, and Grant James led from wire to wire and took gold for the U.S. in the event the first time since 2004. Later, the crew once again found themselves on the podium, this time with a bronze medal at the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Chungju, South Korea.

Here, as promised, Weil—winner of the 2013 RoRy for Breakthrough Performance of the Year—speaks about his beginnings in the sport, his early progress and training in the single, and his fantastic summer.