Thursday, January 31, 2013

From the RR Press Room: Olympian & Paralympian Rowers to Join Over 1,600 Athletes at the 28th MidAtlantic Erg Sprints

Source: Press Release/Alexandria Crew Boosters
Esther Lofgren (third from left) on the podium in London (Image courtesy of Alexandria Crew Boosters)
World’s 2nd largest indoor rowing competition scheduled for T.C. Williams High School this Saturday, February 2nd

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Over 1,600 adult and student athletes will descend on T.C . Williams High School in Alexandria this Saturday, February 2nd, for the 28th MidAtlantic Erg Sprints, an annual event that has grown to become not only the second largest indoor rowing competition in the world, but one that will this year feature Olympic and Paralympic rowers, as well.

The rowers are: Esther Lofgren, who won a gold medal as a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic women’s rowing team in London this past summer; Sam Stitt, who rowed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and is now the varsity lightweight rowing coach at Georgetown; Emma Preuschl, who won a silver medal as a member of the 2008 U.S. Paralympic women’s rowing team in Beijing and competed in 2012 London games as well; Linda Miller, who rowed for T.C. Williams and George Washington University and went on to become a member of the 2000 U.S. women’s Olympic rowing team in Sydney; Lisa Schlenker, a member of the 2000 and 2004 Olympic rowing teams who is now the head coach of the University of Wisconsin's women's varsity lightweight rowing team; and, Giuseppe Lanzone, a member of the last two U.S. Olympic rowing teams and currently the men’s lightweight rowing coach at Georgetown.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Video: California Rowing Club Joins Chula Vista Training Camp



The above video comes to us by way of California Rowing Club head coach Bernhard Stomporowski, and gives us a window into the CRC side of national team training camp down at Chula Vista, from January 6-27, 2013. Not only do we get a glimpse of this year's invitees doing some work in fours, but we're also invited on land for erg work supervised by newly appointed men's national team coach Luke McGee. USRowing released the full list of athletes invited to the Chula Vista training camps on both the men's and women's sides last week, with the (mostly) lightweight men's camp set to run from February 7-17. For the men, the camp included an NFL Combine-style assessment, as evidenced by some furious activity on Twitter:

Also making an appearance in the film (not listed by USRowing but present representing CRC), are Hans Struzyna, who got the 2012-2013 season off to a very strong start in the men's championship single at the Head Of The Charles (finishing 5th overall), Matt Wheeler (getting back into training though still listed as an assistant coach with Stanford), UVA alum Alan Kush, former Yale Bulldog Derek Johnson and former Columbia Lion Evan Cassidy.

Shouts out to Bernhard for another great film—not sure if anyone has managed to combine rowing with Eric B and Rakim before, but it's done to perfection here!

-RR

Monday, January 28, 2013

In Memoriam: Beijing Silver Medalist Acer Nethercott



We were deeply saddened to hear that Beijing silver medalist and two-time Boat Race champion coxswain, Acer Nethercott, has passed away at the age of 35. Nethercott had an extraordinarily successful career in rowing. The above video shows the final strokes of the 2003 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race (Nethercott's first win in the main event), which was arguably the greatest Boat Race in history. The verdict after 4 and 1/2 miles? Oxford, by one foot. At the 2008 Olympic Games, Nethercott guided the GB men's eight to a close second place finish behind Canada, edging the United States into third place.

Acer is Latin for sharp, keen, sagacious. In the words of GB Olympic gold medalist Garry Herbert, "[It was a] privilege to have known him, he lived up to the meaning of his name in every way." The former Molesey Boat Club cox will be dearly missed, but his life and accomplishments will not be forgotten.

Read more about Acer's outstanding rowing career on Hear The Boat Sing, BBC Sport, the official website of British Rowing, and The Telegraph (UK).

-RR

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Eyes on the Prize: The 2012 Rowperfect Blogger of the Year Awards

Earlier today, Rowperfect UK announced their awards for Rowing Blogger of the Year across a series of categories, and it's my great pleasure to announce that RowingRelated was named the best 'General news' blog of 2012 in a truly outstanding field, which included the institution that is row2k, (my friend, former teammate, and RR interviewee) Iain Weir's Rowing Journal, and the official blog of British Rowing. Thanks very much to Rebecca Caroe and Rowperfect for bestowing such an honor!

Also recognized were Göran Buckhorn's Hear The Boat Sing, which was selected as the top Rowing History blog, and Rory Copus' The Coxswain's Perspective, in the 'Coxing blog' category. The top 'Athlete blog' was Girl on the River by Patricia Carswell, while the top 'Coaching blog' went to Chelsea Dommert's Coaching the Cox, and Caroline's Rowing Blog took top honors among 'Ergo blogs.'

RowingRelated is a collaboration, and what better time than now to acknowledge and thank Justin Price, the RR Editorial Staff and the RR International Research Department? Without your hard work and dedication RR would not be what it is today, and I look forward to working more with you all in the coming months—and years!

Thanks again to Becky and everyone at Rowperfect, and a big thank you to all our RReaders—whether you've submitted a video, commented on a post, or just enjoyed the website, you've made a huge difference and we couldn't be more grateful!

As I wrote in the first-ever post on RR, "When I finished my final erg test as a senior and put the handle down, I thought I had finished a long journey. Now, as I move further and further away from the intercollegiate experience, I feel more and more like I am still at the outset of a much longer Odyssey." So far, it has certainly proven just that. And frankly, we're psyched about it.

-Bryan and the RR Team

Monday, January 21, 2013

Video Of The Week: Florida Orange—Syracuse Men Head South for Training Camp



This week's video gives us an inside look at the Syracuse men's Florida training camp, mixing in some nice on-the-water shots with a few descriptive sequences from outside the training regimen. Looks like the Orange had a productive trip, with plenty of time to relax and soak up the warmth before heading back indoors upon their return home. It's a fairly quiet time in the rowing world, as the Northern Hemisphere prepares to embark on yet another indoor season following the holidays, and with the Australian Youth Olympic Festival Down Under now in the books.

The 2013 AYOF was a great success, and provided a solid preview of the next generation of Aussie, Kiwi and British Olympians, including sculling standouts Luke Moon and Jack Beaumont of Team GB. For a detailed discussion of the athletes, check out our friend Daniel Spring's (@fatsculler's) preview of the event on RowingJournal.com, and for complete results, please visit the official website of the AYOF.

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 or Google+ pages.

-RR

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Coaches' Corner: Getting Your Groove Back

'The catch' (Photo: B. Kitch) 
We have all had it happen to us at some point, whether as an athlete or as a coach or maybe just life in general—you find yourself in a slump of some kind. Maybe you don't feel confident, or maybe you have confidence but are just out of your rhythm, and it is affecting your performance. When this happens to us, often we can't pinpoint why. We see it in professional sports all the time. It could be a baseball player who hasn't had a hit in his last 10 games, a pitcher who just can't hit the strike zone, a basketball player who can't make her free throws, a rower who is just struggling to get in shape or any one of a number of other examples. What do you do when you get stuck in a rut and just can seem to figure out why? How do you get your groove back?

On the flip side, we all know what it feels like when we are doing well. We have confidence, feel like it just comes naturally with ease and we maybe even feel a bit invincible. Just as it feels wonderful and effortless when we are on a roll, it can feel equally frustrating when we find ourselves in a funk. We feel like nothing we are doing is working and no matter how hard we try, we are fighting an uphill battle. This can lead to questioning and self-doubt, which often only makes things worse.

First of all, I believe it is important to remain confident in your abilities and remind yourself that you are, in fact, capable. As a result, the success you have had in the past can be reproduced, and it's important to feel that you are in control of that.

Secondly, examine some of the surrounding variables such as stress, sleep, nutrition, etc. in order to determine if there are things there that may be leading to the difficulty. Many times these issues are purely psychological, though they can certainly be caused by physiological factors. If the cause of the problem is physiological, then the solution may be more straightforward, though not necessarily easy.

Once you have taken the first two steps, I believe that when faced with a speed bump/predicament like this, it is best to take a step back and focus on the basics. Put yourself in a position to succeed by doing something that you know you can do and doing it very, very well. Many times when we are at our limits and struggling to overcome an obstacle, we just bear down and work harder, forcing the issue and hoping for a breakthrough, attempting to will ourselves to success. When this does not work, we are faced with two options: we can either continue pushing on, which can feel like we are beating our head against the wall (and can end up exacerbating the problem), or we can take a moment to reexamine our situation.

This works both as an athlete and as a coach. As an athlete, let's imagine you are struggling to hit certain numbers on the erg that you have hit with regularity in the past, or are struggling with some technical issue that is leading to poor performances on the water that do not accurately reflect your abilities and line up with your typical performances. As a coach imagine you are at a point in the season where things don't seem to be going well with the team or you are struggling to connect with the athletes in a successful way. These are all frustrating problems, which happen to the best of us from time to time, and which require a bit of introspection, analysis, and ultimately just plain old perseverance and consistency to overcome.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Evening Edition Video Of The Week: Huskies in Chula Vista


WinterCamp from Washington Rowing on Vimeo.
The Washington Huskies spent their winter training camp in sunny Southern California, and, judging from the above video, there was no shortage of work being done. Taking center stage this year is Canadian Olympic silver medalist Conlin McCabe, who is shown in the stroke seat of both a straight four and an eight—leading by example and setting the tone for the Husky squad this season. While it's going to be tough to out-perform last year's team, which set several records en route to sweeping the IRA Regatta, if there's any team out there ready to do it, it appears to be the 2013 Washington men.

Speaking of, it's nearing that time of year once again where we shoot our mouths off and make some picks and predictions for the coming season. Stay tuned!

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 or Google+ pages.

-RR

Friday, January 11, 2013

Updates and Notes from RR HQ

January 2013 issue & Photo Annual 
While January has been marked by furious activity on RR building up to the announcement of our first contest winner, I'm also fully immersed in putting together the next series of articles for Rowing Magazine, which is (rather impressively) entering its 20th year in print. Still, in the midst of all this, I wanted to take a minute to climb up on my soap box one more time and say how pleased we were with the success of the RRecruiting Video Contest (view the top five videos here)—its maiden voyage couldn't have gone better, and we were, frankly, quite impressed with the quality of work we received.

So, there you have it. We hope you all enjoyed the contest as well—we are already brainstorming for the next go round—and we are looking forward to another great season of racing, now nearly upon us! In the meantime, I trust those of you out there who are Rowing Magazine subscribers are getting a kick out of the beautiful 2012 Photo Annual—just the thing to get the new year started right.

-Bryan

Monday, January 7, 2013

Video Of The Week and RRecruiting Video Contest Winner: Jacksonville University Rowing



And the winner is...Jacksonville University Rowing! The above video is a fantastic introduction not only to the sport, but also to the facilities and the philosophy of the JU program as a whole, touching on those aspects of rowing that can help to shape your character, and, indeed, the rest of your life. Not only does it talk training and the team, but also it addresses the academic environment for student-athletes while attending Jacksonville University. The video does this by means of interviews with both student-athletes and coaches, giving the viewer a window into all levels of the program, and is also one of few submitted for our contest to show both indoor rowing and training on the water. The primary narrator, Brad Negaard, is a benefactor of the program, a former JU coach, and son of Robert Negaard (inventor of the wing-rigger)—the current JU boathouse bears his family name. Clearly, a great deal of thought went into the production of this film, which is both informative and engaging, for all the right reasons.

Congratulations to Greg VanOekel and the whole JU program! Be sure to email us for information about your prize!

Thanks to all who got involved in our RRecruiting Video Contest this year! Fantastic work and we at the RR world HQ are very grateful to the rowing community for continuing to impress with hard work & ingenuity.

-RR

Sunday, January 6, 2013

RR Video Contest Countdown: WSV Ottensheim, Austria is our pick for No. 2



The above video is our pick for No. 2 overall, and it's easy to see why—making use of innovative camera angles and representing every available boat class, this video is a solid introduction to the sport, from the junior to the elite level. The video was submitted by Clemens Obrecht, who explains that "[WSV Ottensheim] rowing club has been the most successful club at national competitions for the last few years and also brought out outstanding international rowers—for example, the under-23 world champion of 2012 in the women‘s double sculls, Lisa Farthofer, and the winner of the World Rowing Cup in Munich 2012 in the lightweight men’s quadruple sculls, Dominik Sigl." The video was created by canoeist Erwin Trummer, and it's now used as a recruiting tool in Austrian schools to help promote and grow the sport of rowing. Thanks very much to Clemens for sending along the video, and congrats for being named our second overall pick!

Tomorrow marks the official announcement of our No. 1 overall selection, which will be featured as our VOTW, and which will include a little swag for the winner! Stay tuned.

-RR

Saturday, January 5, 2013

RR Video Contest Countdown: Washington Huskies at Henley comes in at No. 3


Henley2012 from Washington Rowing on Vimeo.
The countdown continues! Our pick for No. 3 overall is a fantastic video of the Husky frosh racing at Henley Royal Regatta last summer, thanks to Washington men's assistant coach Rick Gherst. While it's not a recruiting video in the traditional sense, showing potential Huskies both the level at Washington and the opportunity to compete overseas will certainly go a long way toward convincing the next generation of UW oarsmen to make the Conibear Shellhouse their home away from home. Above all, it's high quality, well edited & features excellent rowing—what more could you want? Thanks to Rick for submitting the video, and great work!

Tomorrow, we'll post our pick for No. 2 overall, with the winning video to be posted on Monday as our VOTW.

-RR

Friday, January 4, 2013

'Game of Inches: Masters Nationals, 2012' by Joe Abrams, Part Two

'Up two!' (Illustration: B. Kitch)
What follows is Part Two of Joe Abrams's narrative, documenting his experience racing at the 2012 Masters National Rowing Championships in Worcester, Massachusetts: 

The Big Day
The next day, Saturday, we were well rested and on the road early—our first heat was one of the first events that day. To reach our goal of a podium finish at nationals in the “C” event, we’d need to survive not one, but two rounds of heats and a final—three races in a seven hour span, all in high heat and humidity. There were 23 crews entered for the “C” event, twice as many as the “A” event; and the “C” crews would also be much faster than the previous day’s “A”s; and, on average, 10 seconds faster based on the previous year’s “C” times at nationals.

The top three boats from each heat would make it through to a semi-final, and then the top three from each semi would qualify for a 6 boat Final. Complicating our racing strategy was the unpredictable weather forecast, with a 45% chance of lightning—each race might be our last. This meant we couldn’t slack off and cruise into 3rd place just to qualify for a next round: we would have to race each as if it were a final (just like the day before). We also knew that, although our time of 3:33 in the “A” event the day before was not a bad time, we’d need to go sub 3:30 in possibly all three rounds on this day in order to be competitive. There was only one problem with this plan—Marcus and I had never gone below 3:30 without a strong tailwind, and there was no tailwind today.

For the first heat, racing conditions were perfect. An overcast sky had kept temperatures in the low 80s and there was no wind on the course. No need for Marcus to correct our point in bow, just stay focused. As the starter polled the crews, I knew that the two crews beside us could be fast: Lincoln Park (Chicago) and Texas Rowing Club looked big and fit, and both had done well the previous year. I told Marcus to keep an eye on them and counter any moves they might make with our own.

“Attention...Go!” Off the start, we found ourselves trailing within the first 10 strokes to both Lincoln Park and Texas. This wasn’t totally unexpected. We tended to favor smooth starts that emphasized timing versus power in order to conserve energy and then ramp up gradually to race pace.

Approaching 250m after the first 30 strokes, I glanced down at our Speedcoach display and saw 35 strokes per minute (spm) - 1 beat higher than our planned 34. What to do? Though I was initially worried about how it might affect our endurance later on, I decided to let it go. We were moving nicely and closing in on the other boats.

At 500m, we had opened up a half boat length lead on all other boats and by 750m were up by 2 lengths and in control. Do we sprint? “No sprint..!” We crossed the line roughly four seconds ahead of second place, rowing at a controlled and relaxed 32spm. We had gambled that the weather would hold up for at least one more round and had conserved our energy for what would no doubt be an even tougher semi in a few hours’
time.

1 Down, 2 to Go…
As we paddled back in to the docks, we felt very good about our chances in the semis. We hadn’t expected our road to the finals to be this easy. Just two more races to go. We recharged under the Berkeley tent, receiving congratulations from our neighbors when the announcer read the times from our heats over the PA system. To our amazement, although we hadn’t sprinted we had clocked in at a personal best 3:24 time—the second fastest time of all 23 boats. The fastest boat, two seconds faster than us, had just been pushed in a more highly contested heat, in which four boats were in contention for the top three spots. Translated: we just might achieve our goal of medaling at Masters Nationals if we could keep up the speed throughout the day. However, we also knew not to take lightly any of the other qualifying crews, some of whom probably hadn’t revealed their best speed.

In our semi-final race we were assigned Lane 3, and could no longer play the role of the unknown quantity. The wind had picked up, and, by the time we were locked into our stake boat, there was a distinct cross-headwind from port pushing our bow towards Lane 2 to our left. As Marcus began tapping his starboard blade to correct, I looked over at the Potomac/Undine crew to our right in Lane 4—at least one of whom had been a former US National team rowers back in the 80s. They were potential medal contenders today. Next to them was a powerful duo from Atlanta Rowing Club with a 6’7” sculler who had just finished top 10 in the 40+ at the previous Head of the Charles. I turned to Marcus: “I’m gonna take it up a bit higher off the start this time. We can’t let anyone get an early lead on us like last race.” Marcus nodded.

The starter’s flag was up, Marcus stopped tapping. Just then a port-side gust pushed our bow to starboard. “Attention…Go!”

Our first few strokes were quick and strong. The boat jumped forward at the start along with all the other quick boats off the line, and we knew we were right in the mix. But, within 5 strokes we were already drifting—our starboard oars were catching on the wrong side of the lane markers in Lane 2. I shouted to signal to Marcus that we both needed to start tugging harder on starboard side to correct our point. Too late...Our bow had now crossed the lane markers and we were in Lane 2. The referee in the near chase boat sped up behind and flagged us to move back over. Had the crew in Lane 2 been faster off the start when we steered into their lane, we could have been disqualified for interference. Fortunately, we'd had a quicker start that time, and we were allowed to continue.

After a few more hard pulls on starboard, we were back in Lane 3–lucky not to have caught a blade on a lane marker. Having avoided our first major catastrophe, we were again swinging well. I surveyed the field and saw that, despite our early steering gaffe, we were right in the mix...perhaps third place.

At 500m Marcus called out our “squeeze 10," and we pried slowly away from the Atlanta crew. But the guys from Potomac were still hanging in there; so at 750m we started our last 30 stroke sprint sequence up two beats/up two beats/up two beats and surged farther ahead with each 10 stroke burst. Potomac’s stroke looked over as if to say, “we’ll see you in the next round,” and never answered with his own sprint. We crossed the line two seconds ahead in a time of 3:29, which turned out to be the fastest time of either semifinal heat. Considering the headwind and our poor steering, we were very pleased with this effort and one step closer to realizing our goal.

The Final
Back to our LaFuma lawn chairs, Gatorade and protein bars. The weather was holding up after all, so we knew there would be a third race, the final, in less than two hours. Try to rest…

Thursday, January 3, 2013

RR Video Contest Countdown: Grand Valley State is our pick for No. 4



Building on highlights from a great 2011-2012 season, Grand Valley State has put together quite a compelling recruiting video that is sure to inspire a new generation of Lakers. GVSU has created a piece that introduces potential novices to the history and legacy of the program, including their standout alum Sarah Zelenka, who raced in the women's pair in London, nearly earning her way to the podium. Thanks very much to Jeremy Schaumann for submitting the video, and best of luck to Grand Valley this season!

Tomorrow marks the conclusion of Joe Abrams's piece on Masters Nationals, with more recruiting videos on the way this weekend as we continue the countdown.

-RR

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

RR Video Contest: Top five countdown begins today with Capital City Rowing



Thanks to all those who participated in our first-ever RR video contest and helped to make it a success! Today we begin our countdown to our top pick for the best rowing recruiting video, and winner of our December contest, with our pick for No. 5 overall. The above video comes to us courtesy of Wyatt Harrell of Capital City Rowing, and does well to showcase the sport, the team and the environs in Tallahassee. Great work Wyatt and congrats on being named to the top five!

Tomorrow we will announce the No. 4 overall video from our contest, with the second half of Joe Abrams's 'Game of Inches: Masters Nationals 2012' to be posted on Friday. Our No. 3 and No. 2 videos are coming up this weekend, with the winner to be announced and featured as our VOTW on Monday, 7 January, 2013.

-RR

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Video Of The Week: Smooth Sculling Success



The above video showcases the beauty of sculling, and is a great Video Of The Week to kick off the New Year. Estonian standout Jüri Jaanson—Estonia's most successful rower and a two-time Olympic silver medalist (Athens in the M1x and Beijing in the M2x along with Tonu Endrekson)—shows off a little of his smooth sculling technique for which he was known throughout his career, which spanned six Olympiads. Thanks very much to Marek for submitting the video!

It's 2013, and that means we're getting ready to announce the winner of our December rowing recruiting video contest—the winning entry will be posted as our VOTW on Monday, 7 January. Thanks to everyone for all your submissions and good luck with your off season training! Also, coming up this Friday is Part Two of Joe Abrams's account of Masters Nationals, 2012.

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 or Google+ pages.

-RR