Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sydney International Rowing Regatta, 2013: GB Testing the Waters in Eights



The GB Rowing squad for Sydney has a slightly different look to it some seven months after its most successful Olympic Games on the water, with coxless four double gold medalists Andrew Triggs Hodge and Pete Reed (profiled in the above video, shot in 2011) moving into an eight for the first of the 2013 World Rowing Cups, along with fellow 2012 crew mate Alex Gregory. The eight will also feature several athletes from the 2012 bronze medal-winning lineup, in the form of coxswain Phelan Hill, Moe Sbihi, and Tom Ransley. On the women's side, 2012 gold medalist Helen Glover will take on international competition with new pair partner Polly Swann, as Glover's 2012 partner Heather Stanning is back on active duty with the British Army. The new-look duo will also double up into an eight guided by last year's Oxford Blue Boat coxswain Zoe de Toledo. For a full breakdown of the changes for the GB squad at the upcoming World Cup, please visit the official website of British Rowing.

Elsewhere in the rowing world, Rowing New Zealand has announced its new lead men's sweep coach, Australian Noel Donaldson. Donaldson brings a great deal of development experience to the table, having worked with the U21 and U23 age groups, as well as elite level coaching, guiding the 'Oarsome Foursome' to back-to-back Olympic gold medals in 1992 and 1996. Until recently, Donaldson served as head coach for Rowing Australia. The move comes in the wake of Dick Tonks' recent shift to lead women's sweep coach, which was announced just under two weeks ago.

For further updates, keep an eye on our news column, and the RR Twitter feed.

-RR

Monday, February 25, 2013

Video Of The Week: GB Squad Takes on Australian Youth Olympic Festival



This week's video comes to us from the British perspective of the Australian Youth Olympic Festival, and (as usual) includes a healthy dose of off-the-water banter in addition to training on the Nepean River. The GB squad had a fantastic regatta Down Under, with several athletes taking home medals across multiple events—young standouts Jack Beaumont and Luke Moon returned with three medals each, as did lightweights Jamie Copus and Ben Board. On the women's side, Anastasia Chitty and Nicole Lamb accomplished the same feat at the event. Alongside the training footage, this video also takes us through Sydney Harbor, with views of the iconic Sydney Opera House.



Sydney is gearing up to host the Sydney International Rowing Regatta, which will include the first World Rowing Cup (March 22-24), as well as the King's Cup and Queen's Cup & Aussie national championships. The U.S. team roster was released last week, and includes many 2012 Olympians, with Grant & Ross James, Susan Francia, Steve Kasprzyk, David Banks, Esther Lofgren, Caroline Lind, and others, though few have created the anticipation in the international rowing community that Megan Kalmoe has over the past several days (here's GB rowers Nathaniel Reilly O'Donnell & Mo Sbihi's take on 'Welcome Back Kalmoe').

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, February 20, 2013

IRA and ACRA Rowing Programs: RR Picks and Predictions for 2013

Cal and Washington at the 2012 Pac-12 Championships (Photo: B. Kitch)
 IRA Men

1. Washington
Our top pick for 2013 is Washington. The Huskies are stacked, feature an Olympic silver medalist in Conlin McCabe, and recently showed that (despite their relative youth) they are nails, walking away from Cambridge on the Boat Race course (for more on that crew, click here). At this point in time, UW boasts the best program top to bottom—they are loaded and will be hard to beat in any event. Still, there are new challenges for Washington: the departure of Luke McGee and the new freshman rule may make the frosh event an interesting one this year.

2. California
If anyone is going to upset Washington in the varsity eight this year, Cal might just be the one to do it—the Golden Bears have great top-end speed. Led by a strong Serbian talent in Jovan Jovanovic (a sophomore who stroked the eight in the fall and is a Serbian U23 and junior national team member), fellow Serbians Igor Lucic and Luka Dordevic (U23 world champions) and Ivan Ostojic (also a top Serbian junior national team talent), the Bears will be eager to reclaim their usual place on the podium at IRAs after a fourth place finish (some five seconds back of the lead crews) last season. Australians Matt Dignan, Michael Bernius and Louis Snelson, as well as British athletes James Scott and Stephen Tuck should make an impact, while Kiwi Isaac Holden will also look to crack the Cal varsity eight this season. Cameron Klotz (a former U.S junior national team member) and 2013 Crash-B champ Christian Kader will also be battling for spots in the varsity eight this season.

The Cal freshman class includes British JNT members Harry Kelly and Morgan Hellen, Dutch junior national teamer Nick van Sprang and American JNT alum Jordan Vanderstoep, all of whom will be looking to make difference on a Bears squad with increasing depth.

3. Harvard
Harvard had a great 2012 season, falling just shy of our pick for an IRA championship—though it took two crews breaking the previous course record in Camden to deny the Crimson last year. While they graduated standouts Mike DiSanto and Patrick Lapage in 2012, the 2013 squad will be led by seniors Kiwi James O'Connor, Aussie Josh Hicks, and American Parker Washburn. Though we also expect big time contributions from a strong sophomore class that features Australians Charlie Risbey, James Medway, Abdrew Emmett, Lachlan Hanbury-Brown and Alex Uruchurtu, American JNT member Max Meyer-Bosse, and Brits Ed Rippon and Josh Bernstein.

4. Brown
We know Paul Cooke's squad will be tough and very fit. These guys are not going to back down from a challenge and expect to be back on the podium in 2013 after a very impressive season in 2012, upsetting our top pick, Harvard, at both Sprints and IRAs. Juniors Vyacheslav Chupryna, Martin Asphom, and Morgan Gerlack return from last year's very quick varsity eight, and they'll look to lead the new campaign alongside Carter Aronson, Quinten Richardson and Anders Weiss. The Bears have a lot of depth—and a lot of very competitive guys. There will be some serious seat racing going on that will leave them with two very fast eights this Spring.

5. Boston University 
Tom Bohrer is building a contender—the Terriers were already showing signs of that last year—and this year we're expecting them to move up a notch in the rankings. Great coaching, combined with  hardworking athletes with a chip on their collective shoulder has this program on the rise, and that trend will likely continue into the foreseeable future. Also, a little horsepower never hurts—Matt Given just went 5:56 at Crash-Bs, while teammate Kyle Peabody posted a 5:58.

6. Yale
Yes, we've been backing the Bulldogs since Gladstone's move East, but the 2013 frosh rule means that G-stone has an entirely new (and international) varsity eight if he wants. Let's face it—if you were to look at this roster at Cal in 2000, you'd pick them to medal. The Bulldogs will benefit from upperclassmen leadership Tom Lynam, Zach Johnson, Aussie Harry Picone and Owen Symington, and South African Jon Morgan. This group will be complemented by German sophomore (and junior world silver medalist) Clemens Barth, and German freshman Hubert Trzybinski (a two-time junior world champion, 2011 U23 gold medalist and 2012 U23 silver medalist in the single), Aussie sophomore Simon Keenan (two-time Henley champion) and Kiwi freshman (and 2011 junior world silver medalist) Adam Smith.

7. Northeastern
The 'other' Huskies have definitely benefited from a nice influx of funding since Northeastern cut their football program, which has meant more in coaching salaries, more scholarships and more top-notch equipment. They feature a very talented roster with a mix of domestic and international talent. American Under 23 national teamer Justin Jones (who stroked the varsity eight last season) will be one of the leaders of a squad that will also benefit from the contributions of internationals from Brazil (Francisco Mendes), Canada (Ryan Rosts, Colin Schaap and Steve Komadoski), New Zealand (Riordan Morrell), Germany (Eric Winkert), Serbia (Svetislav Pejcic), Croatia (Matej Herega) and Scotland (Cameron Buchan).

8. Princeton
The Tigers had a strong performance at the HOCR this year, and had a solid season in 2012, finishing seventh at the IRA Regatta. British rower Michael Evans will be a strong leader in the boat, while Aussie Timothy Masters, American powerhouse Jason Kopleman, and former U.S. JNT members Patrick Eble and Patrick Konttinen, (the latter of whom is just a freshman) will look to be difference-makers this year.

9. Syracuse
Head coach Dave Reischman continues to do a great job, and will be looking for another strong year after a very impressive fifth place finish in 2012 at the IRA. Former U.S. JNT member and senior, Mason Leasure is among their most experienced oarsmen. Canadian Sophomore Patrick O'Shaughnessy-Hunter will also help the varsity eight this spring as will fellow sophomore Cameron Bierwith.

10. Cornell 
Big Red placed ninth last year at the IRA, and will be looking solid for another top-ten finish this year, but may lack the top-end speed necessary to crack the grand final. Jim Rectenwald will be a stalwart in the varsity eight for the third year in a row along with Kevan Zadeh, and two-time U23 national teamer Chris Massey. We also expect strong contributions from Jim Allen and some of the other sophomores. Freshmen Greg Davis and Ned Benning (JNT alumni), along with Arik Torkelson, have entered the fold, meaning that Big Red has plenty of juice in the frosh class—all signs indicate that the future is bright for coach Kennett, and given the new rules, they may surprise a few people this season.


ACRA Men

1. Virginia 
Head coach Frank Biller has built what could become a true ACRA league powerhouse to rival Michigan, but so far, despite depth and great top-end speed, a Dad Vail title in the varsity eight has proven elusive for the Cavaliers. However, for the past two seasons, the Virginia varsity eight has delivered at the ACRA championships, and we think that trend will continue this year. Sophomores Forrest Brown and Nick Hine will look to break into the 2013 varsity eight after rowing in the frosh eight last year. Steven Lee-Kramer and Scott Stuard will be among the more experienced upperclassmen along with Jon Furlong back for his fifth year after redshirting in 2012 in order to go to the U23 World Championships for the U.S. in the lightweight single. Ian Feeney and Garrett Thomas will also look to contribute.

2. Michigan 
Gregg Hartsuff's teams are always solid from top to bottom, made up of good racers & hard working athletes, and this year will be no exception. Michigan could pose a challenge UVA, especially in the lower tier boats—remember, Michigan has won the team points trophy every year at ACRAs since the championships were created, and took top honors in the second varsity eight and bronze in the varsity eight last season. The Wolverines graduated many seniors after the 2012 season, but this is where Hartsuff earns his money. Stephen Lanham and Louis Schaljo will look to lead the varsity eight, while Matt Herbers will attempt to jump straight from the frosh eight to the varsity this year.

3. Grand Valley State
John Bancheri's program is on the rise. After a Crew Classic victory and a narrow miss of the podium at ACRAs last season, Justin Wegner will lead a talented and experienced crew that is well coached, looking to unseat Michigan as the fastest crew in their state.

4. Bucknell 
The Bison had a great finish to their season last year (second at ACRAs in the varsity eight) and a talented group again this season. In just his second year at the helm, coach Al Monte will look to Connor Corwen, Ryan Lum and sophomore Alex Moore to continue to build speed. We are sure these guys are working hard in Lewisburg this Winter preparing to prove themselves once again this Spring.

5. Boston College
BC have been building momentum, this is head coach (and Trinity alum) Geordi Coffin's fourth year—the Eagles had a solid season last year, including a fourth place finish in the men's open eight at Crew Classic, and a ninth place finish at ACRAs in crazy nine-boat final—just over 11 seconds off UVa's new course record time. The squad will be led by rowers Keane Johnson and Kevin Bielawski.


ACRA Women

1. GVSU 
John Bancheri's women's program is the best from top to bottom in the ACRA league at this point—we're looking for them to defend their ACRA title from 2012. The GVSU women will be led by seniors Carey Mankins and Jordan Hart, juniors Kylen Pattermann and Shelby Welbaum, and sophomores Kaitlyn Van Boven and Courtney Panter.

2. Purdue 
The Boilermakers will be led by senior standout Amanda Elmore, who was in the American U23 women's eight that won gold at the 2012 U23 World Championships in Trakai, Lithuania. Purdue will also benefit from the contributions of Maggie Busse, junior Andrea Baffes, and sophomores Julia Snyder, Maddie Kovarik and Alicia Newcomer.

Look for New Hampshire, Penn State, and UCSB to round out the top five again this season at ACRAs, with Penn State a possible wild-card for a medal.

-RR

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

2013 Crash-B Sprints: Nothing Junior About These Performances

Agganis Panorama (Photo: © Tom Lynam)
The 2013 Crash-B World Indoor Rowing Championships are in the books, and in the midst of many excellent results, three performances stand out from the crowd: first, high school senior Christine Cavallo took top honors in the women's junior lightweight event in a time (7:05.7—a new world record for the event) that would have won the women's open lightweight category, and was eleven seconds off the senior world record set by Ursula Grobler. Meanwhile, in the women's open event, high school senior Ruth Narode took fourth place overall in a very impressive time of 6:52.2. Both Narode and Cavallo are coming off stellar seasons, capped off with silver medal performances at the World Rowing Senior and Junior Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria last summer. Not to be outdone, Ryan O'Rourke, representing Lawrenceville School, took first place in the junior men's heavyweight event in a time of 6:02.4 (down from 6:13.8 in his first appearance at Crash-Bs in 2011). Given all this, it looks like rowing has a very bright future here in the U.S.

The winner of the women's open event, Olena Buryak of Ukraine, posted a truly elite score to take the day, crossing the line in 6:31.6, while 2012 Olympic gold medalist Meghan Musnicki showed some serious speed as well, taking second in 6:39.7. Rounding out the top three was Tessa Gobbo of Brown, posting a 6:46.2 (dropping more than a split off her time from last year and sprinting her way onto the podium after a fourth place finish in 2012).

The men's open event saw Cal sophomore Christian Kader hold off Pavel Shurmei of Belarus for the Hammer, crossing the line in 5:52.1 to Shurmei's 5:53.5. (Shurmei recently won the European Indoor Rowing Championships in Essen-Kettwig, Germany.) In third place was last year's winner, Juan Carlos Cabrera PĂ©rez in at 5:54. 5, while the University of British Columbia's Alex Janzen was fourth in 5:55 flat. In the men's open lightweight event, Delaware grad Colin Ethridge took top honors in 6:12.1, ahead of Harvard's Austin Meyer (senior national team in 2011 in the lightweight men's eight, U23 team in 2012 in the LM2x along with Nick Trojan).

Thanks to Tom Lynam for the great image! For complete results from Boston, please visit the official website of Crash-Bs.

-RR

Monday, February 18, 2013

Video Of The Week: Cambridge University Rowing



This week's video comes to us from the University of Cambridge, and showcases the men's and women's rowing programs, with a number of cameos from some very high profile alumni & current students. Among those making an appearance in the film are GB 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Tom James, two-time Olympian Annie Vernon (silver in Beijing), 2012 bronze medalist George Nash (CUBC president this year), former UW Husky and 2011 U23 world champion Ty Otto (rocking a serious fu manchu), and triple Olympian Sarah Winckless (bronze in 2004). Also included in the footage are well-known rowing blogger Anna Railton from the victorious CUWBC crew in 2012 (at 2:09, second from the back—if you've never enjoyed a Railton rant on rowing, be sure to follow this link), and former Wisco Badger Steve Dudek, who rowed on the winning Cambridge Blue Boat last year and looks to be in the top crew once again this season.

While the fixture on Saturday proved a very stern test for the CUBC squad, it's experience they'll no doubt put to great use over the next six weeks in preparation for the main event.

In other weekend news, the 2013 Crash-B Sprints World Indoor Rowing Championships took place on Sunday, with a number of impressive results setting the tone for the season and for the new quadrennium. More on that tomorrow, with our picks and predictions for the 2013 IRA and ACRA programs coming up on Wednesday.

-RR

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Washington v. Cambridge Tideway Fixture: Huskies Take Down Tabs

Washington leads at Hammersmith (Photo: © Tim Koch)
Despite traveling roughly 5,000 miles to race on (relatively) unfamiliar waters in London, the University of Washington Huskies were able to take two victories on the Tideway earlier today in their fixture against Cambridge. Both lineups included 2012 Olympians, with Conlin McCabe in the Washington crew, and GB silver medalist George Nash and Milan Bruncvik in the crew from Cambridge. Going into the racing, it looked as though the CUBC crew would benefit from a higher level of experience, with several of the Husky oarsmen having competed as frosh in 2012—though these same Washington athletes are more familiar with the Thames than most American rowers, having won the Temple Challenge Cup last summer at Henley Royal Regatta. Still, this is a tremendously impressive result for Washington, given the unusual race format and the logistics involved—also, the performance of sophomore coxswain Lisa Caldwell is not to be ignored, as the Tideway is notoriously tricky to navigate and the battle for the stream between the two crews is always intense.

For a blow-by-blow description of the racing from the chase boat, check former Cambridge Blue Boat coxswain Rebecca Dowbiggin's Twitter feed, and for a seat-by-seat comparison of the two crews from Daniel Spring (aka @fatsculler), follow the link above. Things went much better for Cambridge in the following event, pitting Goldie (coxed by former UW Husky and three-time IRA champion in the varsity eight Sam Ojserkis) against a crew from the University of London.

Thanks very much to Tim Koch for sending us the photo! See the rest of Tim's photos from the press launch on Hear The Boat Sing. The men's Boat Race is set to take place on 31 March at 430pm.

-RR

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

NCAA Rowing Spring 2013 Preview: The RowingRelated Top 20



1. California 
Cal is our favorite to win the NCAA team championship in 2013. Their top-end talent in the varsity eight and team depth we expect will be too great for any other team in the country to handle. Dave O'Neill is a very good coach and has a clear understanding of what it takes to construct and manage a championship level team. Every year they are in the hunt, but they have not won since they won back to back team titles in 2005 and 2006. This year's team will be led by Kara Kohler who is back for her junior year after taking the 2012 season off to win an Olympic bronze medal in the W4x for the U.S. The Bears will also feature top international athletes Papa Hipango from New Zealand, Rosie Popa from Australia (though she has American citizenship and has raced at the U23 world championships for the U.S.), German junior national team member Charlotte Siering, and Norwegian junior national teamer Ingvild Ronningen. These international athletes will be supported by Americans Kendall ChaseAggie NowinskiMaddie Wolf and Charlotte Passot who were all on the U.S. junior national team prior to coming to Cal, as well as senior leader & co-captain Erica Rippe (shown in the video above). The Bears will also enjoy the contribution of Australian junior national team member Jacinta Edmunds, who arrived in Berkeley in January in time for the spring semester and to help them with their NCAA title bid.

2. Washington
We are predicting fellow Pac-12 Conference member and traditional rival University of Washington to finish 2nd at this year's NCAA Championships. Bob Ernst does not like losing and has been working hard to get the UW women back on top ever since he returned to coaching the Husky women (after a number of very successful years spent coaching the Husky men). It is safe to say Ernst's efforts on the recruiting trail have paid off. This team is loaded with international talent. He will have a varsity eight chock full of international talent featuring Kiwi freshman Grace Spoors, Australian U23 world medalist Amy Fowler, Kiwi national teamers Camilla Anderson and Kirstyn Goodger, British national teamers Fi Gammond and Ruth Whyman, German junior national team rower Marie Strohmayer, Marissa Kump (Canadian JNT), and American U23 world champ Madison Culp. The Huskies will also benefit from the services of recent additions Patricia Obee (2012 Olympian in the Canadian LW2x) and Australian junior national teamer Natasha Gay, who arrived in Seattle in January to begin as a freshman.

3. Virginia
Like Cal and UW, 2012 NCAA champion Virginia will also be loaded both with top-end talent. And, despite having lost the stern pair of their varsity eight from 2012, they will still return a lot of depth. However, we don't think they will have quite the depth to defend their NCAA title and we are picking them to finish third as a team in 2013. They will be led by British national team standout Sarah Cowburn, American U23 world champ Kristine O'Brien, British JNT member Fi Schlesinger, Canadian U23 world champion Susanne Grainger, and former U.S. JNT members Chandler Lally, Hemingway Benton, Brandy Herald, Elle Murray, Hannah Solis-Cohen, Nina Vascotto, Lizzy Youngling, and Carli Goldberg, as well as former Canadian JNT member Catherine Multari. The Cavaliers will likely be without the services of standout freshman Holly Nixon, who won a silver medal in the single at the 2011 World Rowing Junior Championships but who suffered an injury last fall—though on the other side they've gained German transfer Constanze Duell, who has medaled at the U23 worlds. The biggest loss from last year's team might be assistant coach Steve Pritzker who is now the head coach of the women's program at the University of Iowa.

4. Princeton
We are picking Princeton to finish fourth again this year. Lori Dauphiny is one of the best coaches in the country and this year she will prove why. She won't have the most talented roster, but she does have plenty of good athletes, great facilities, lots of tradition and a great system in place. She always has her athletes ready to compete and we do not expect 2013 to be any exception. The Tigers will be led by Canadian talent Annaliese Ionson along with Americans Heidi Robbins, Gabby Cole, Molly Hamrick, Nicole Bielawski and Erin and Kelsey Reelick.

5. Stanford
After struggling in 2012, we expect Stanford to be back in the top five in 2013. This year's squad is bolstered by the return of American Lindsay Meyer and Kiwi Anna Dawson, who took last year off in an attempt to make their respective countries' Olympic teams. This elite talent will be supported by former JNT members Christina Bax, Caitlin Byrnes, Alix Chrumka, Nancy Miles, Rebeca Felix and Kristy Wentzel and U23 national team member Daphne Martschenko. Not usually known for their depth, we expect that to be a strength for this year's Cardinal squad that will also see key contributions from Ali Fauci, Juliana Kapjian-Pitt, Claire Grover and Amanda Lorei. An especially strong freshman class that includes Swedish import Filippa Karrfelt, and Americans Katie Toothman, McKayla Taaffe, Simone Jacobs, Meredith Fischer and Taylor Burdge will also help their team depth.

6. USC
7. Ohio State
8. Harvard
9. UCLA
10. Yale
11. Wisconsin
12. Brown
13. Michigan
14. Washington State
15. Syracuse
16. Michigan State
17. Clemson
18. Cornell
19. Notre Dame
20. Dartmouth

A team to watch, and our pick for No. 15, is Syracuse. The Orange are poised for a great season, with Olympic silver medalist Natalie Mastracci in the mix, and the program has been building momentum under Justin Moore for the last two seasons. We're looking for them to win a Big East title this year, and earn an automatic qualifier to the new-look 22-team NCAA Championships. To get there, however, the Orange will face serious competition in Notre Dame, as the Irish have won the Big East title nine straight times (last year these two teams finished one-two, with the Irish coming out on top in the team point 111-97).

Is there a rising tide in NCAA Rowing? It certainly seems that way—the level has greatly increased every year, and this spring looks to be no exception.

-RR

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

London Bound: Washington Crew Headed Overseas to Face Cambridge in Tideway Fixture

The Washington Huskies have been preparing to send a crew to England for a fixture against Cambridge, set for Saturday 16 February. The fixture will take place on the Tideway on the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race course (from Putney to Mortlake), and will presumably be broken into two parts. While it's not clear as of yet what crew CUBC will send to the line, there is evidence that the Washington squad will be a powerful foe for the Light Blues.

The above crew, shown here on 'Vintage Day' courtesy of Everett Rowing, is, quite frankly, stacked. From stern to bow, the Husky lineup appears to be this:

Coxswain: Lisa Caldwell, 2012 IRA winner in the frosh eight (new course record), and 2012 Henley winner in the Temple Challenge Cup
Stroke: Dusan Milovanovic, rowed on the 2010 undefeated Husky frosh eight, 2010 Henley winner, triple IRA champion in frosh eight (2010), second varsity eight (2011), and varsity eight (2012, new course record)
Seven: Henry Meek, 2012 IRA winner in the frosh eight (new course record), 2012 Henley winner in the Temple
Six: Conlin McCabe, 2011 IRA champion in the varsity eight, 2011 world bronze medalist in the Canadian men's eight, 2012 Olympic silver medalist in the Canadian men's eight (there's more but 'nuff said)
Five: Alex Bunkers, member of 2010 undefeated frosh eight, 2010 Henley winner in the Temple, 2011 and 2012 IRA champion in the varsity eight, 2011 (new world best time) and 2012 U23 world champion in the U.S. men's eight
Four: Marcus Bowyer, 2012 IRA champion in the frosh eight, 2012 Henley winner in the Temple Challenge Cup
Three: Sam Dommer, member of the 2010 undefeated frosh eight, 2010 Henley winner in the Temple Challenge Cup, 2012 IRA champion in the men's varsity eight
Two: Alexander Perkins, stroke of the 2012 Husky frosh eight that won IRAs and Henley (Temple)
Bow: Julian Svoboda, 2009 junior world bronze medalist in the Kiwi men's quad, 2012 IRA champion in the second varsity eight

The boat will be a good mix of youth and experience, centered on McCabe who has been training at the international level for the past 18 months-2 years. The question, as always, will be can the visiting crew adapt to both the unfamiliar environs and the 'unpredictable' nature of the Thames well enough to take on an opponent well versed in such things—albeit with limited experience on the actual course. (This may be behind the inclusion of several members of the 2012 Henley winning crew.) And, the Huskies will likely be looking across at a former teammate, as Ty Otto (who also rowed on the 2011 U.S. U23 men's eight) is in the mix at CUBC this season. Given all this, only one thing is certain—it's going to be exciting racing on the Tideway this weekend.

-RR

Monday, February 11, 2013

Video Of The Week: Fall Training with the Gauchos



This week's video comes to us from the University of California, Santa Barbara men's rowing team, and pairs a punchy soundtrack with some intense training on and off the water—as well as a healthy dose of faffing about on land. UCSB Crew is a club program for both men and women, and, like all other clubs, it depends upon alumni donations and athletes' dues to 'stay afloat,' if you'll forgive the pun. Many of us got our start at club programs, and it's important to recognize the hard work and dedication of club rowing athletes all across the country, as the standard continues to rise at the ACRA national championships. For club athletes, there is a true purity of purpose—there is no other incentive to join, and do the work, outside of love for the sport and commitment to team.

And, it can certainly lead to great things—in fact, UCLA women's head coach Amy Fuller Kearney got her start in rowing at UCSB, and went on to compete in no less than three Olympic Games (1992, 1996, and 2000), taking home a silver medal in the straight four in Barcelona. While at UCSB, Fuller Kearney and teammate Aimee Baker (who would go on to coach the Stanford Cardinal for more than a decade, twice earning Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors and winning Stanford's first-ever Pac-10 title in the varsity eight) won a national title in the varsity four.

Thanks to Max for submitting 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 or Google+ pages.

-RR

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Coaches' Corner: Keep It Simple

When it comes to coaching either a team or an individual, it is often good to focus on keeping the message from the coach simple and direct. Obviously, the more complicated things become, the more confusing they can be. As a coach, there are no points or credit given for explaining something in a complex way. The only thing that matters is whether the athletes improve and row well. In many cases it is best to make sure you are not bogging the athletes down with convoluted descriptions and analogies, and to focus on a clear message. The idea is that the athletes can process this message and execute accordingly, and, ideally, immediately.

This applies to drills, workouts, mentality, and the technical approach. The more layers involved or the more complicated a coach makes a technical concept or explanation, the greater the likelihood of confusion or misunderstanding. Because many of us spend so much time involved in rowing either in our own training, coaching others, or perhaps just thinking about it, we tend to allow things to become more complicated inside our head than necessary. Adding layers of complication and sophistication can only be done as the athlete gains experience and knowledge. But even when the athletes have vast amounts of knowledge and experience, it can still be best to focus on a streamlined approach.



This video, featuring Kris Korzeniowski, Mike Teti, and an early version of the 2012 U.S. Olympic eight during the selection process on Briones Reservoir, provides a very good example of keeping the message to the athletes simple. In the video, the contrast between the message from Korzeniowski and that from Teti is quite clear. Korzeniowski spends 25 seconds describing what he sees as a lack of connection and uniformity in the patience in the movement of out the bow especially between the stroke and the seven seat. Teti takes Korzenioswki's point and distills it into eight words—a very simple, clear and direct message to help the crew make the adjustment in a uniform fashion. "Complete the stroke, patience out of bow." This message is what Teti has determined will accomplish his goal for this crew at that moment in their development, and is something that each of the nine athletes in the boat can understand and execute together.

"My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time;
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief..."

-The RR Team

Monday, February 4, 2013

Video Of The Week: Husky Rowing Triathlon, 2012


Husky Rowing Triathlon 2012 from Washington Rowing on Vimeo.
Two words: Winter. Training. The Washington Huskies are "putting hay in the barn" in grand fashion this year, and this video (shot in December, 2012) is further evidence that they are loving every minute of it. Following the traditional erg-run-stadiums triathlon, the Huskies earn 'recovery' food that is likely not at the top of every nutritionist's list—though undoubtedly part of a balanced breakfast (rowers run on Dunkin'). Props to Rick Gherst and the UW coaching staff for putting together another great training video!

And, speaking of erging, the MidAtlantic Erg Sprints are in the books. There were some familiar faces doin' work in Alexandria, Virginia over the weekend. Former UVa standout, RR interviewee, and author of our first-ever 'On The Water' series Matt Miller had another solid performance at MidAtlantics, successfully defending the men's open title in 5:51.8 and punching his ticket for C.R.A.S.H.-B.s later this month. Also, as expected, the UVa men's squad showed that they'll once again be a force on the ACRA circuit, with 11 athletes under 6:30 (and five under 6:20). Well done to Yale Bulldog Tom Lynam for his victory in the men's collegiate event in a time of 6:08.3. On the women's side, Katherine Ashton of Navy (a CRCA second team All-American in 2012 as a sophomore) posted an impressive 6:53.4, also earning a trip to Boston.

-RR

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Rowing to the Super Bowl? GB Olympian Mark Hunter is a 49ers Fan

Olympic gold and silver medalist Mark Hunter knows a thing or two about rowing, but his appreciation of sports goes beyond boats and oars, extending nearly half way around the world to the San Francisco 49ers. As Hunter (who just arrived in New Orleans) details in his most recent column for the London Evening Standard entitled, "The 49 reasons why I'm really living the dream," he's been a Niners fan since the late 80s, when San Francisco visited Wembley to take on the Miami Dolphins in a preseason game—Hunter got to meet some of the players, and later decided to do whatever it took to keep tabs on his favorite team (including staying up into the wee hours to watch the games live with a five- to eight-hour time difference).

While many rowers don't often look beyond their own sport, it can be very important and useful to have a sense for the kind of commitment and dedication that it takes to perform at the highest level of any endeavor, as we've discussed here before. So, whether or not you are a fan of professional sports, let alone American football, Sunday's Super Bowl XLVII will showcase some of the most athletically gifted people on the planet, coached by two brothers with a 'team first' mindset. As athletes and as coaches, we must constantly ask ourselves, what can we learn from our peers?

And, it wouldn't be RR if we didn't throw out a prediction. Having grown up a Niners fan myself, I admit I'm biased to favor the red and gold, but given the strength of the 49ers on both sides of the ball, I'm looking for a 31-24 victory for San Francisco.

-Bryan