Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, 2013: All Dark Blue, 'Field Day' on the River [Photos]


2013-03 Boat Race Selection - Images by Iain Weir

The 2013 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race was everything that the Boat Race should be—hard fought, closely contested, and fairly won. Oxford, led by two-time Olympic medalist Malcolm Howard at stroke, showed that they had the grit and determination to gut out a close race despite being heavy favorites, which is a testament to their mental toughness. While the focus is always on the winning crew, Cambridge showed equal tenacity, if not boat speed, on the Tideway today, and a real star emerged from the Light Blue crew. His name? Henry Fieldman.

The Oxford start was, as widely predicted, very good, and saw the Dark Blues have an almost immediate advantage. However, the same crafty coxing that saw his GB crew to victory at the E.ON Hanse Cup in 2010 were in evidence early and often, as Fieldman steered a brilliant line through Hammersmith, tucking into the Oxford blades just slightly and disrupting them just enough to keep his CUBC crew within roughly half a length entering the Oxford bend. While doing this, he also kept his crew calm and confident, in a solid rhythm despite overlapping blades at times, and the Light Blues held on to overlap through the Chiswick Eyot.

The Chiswick Steps marked Oxford's separation from Cambridge, and it wasn't until that point that we really saw the strong, powerful and confident rhythm from the Dark Blue crew that saw them through to  a Boat Race victory. Still, that separation could have worsened, and the final third of the race again saw Fieldman out-maneuver his Dark Blue counterpart Oskar Zorrilla (perhaps most famous for his choice language at key moments in the race—is it really a rowing race without a few f-bombs though?) to make the race close all the way home from Barnes Bridge, closing the gap slightly in the final strokes.

The better crew appeared to have won, the water was flat, there were no swimmers, and the racing was of outstanding quality—what more could you ask for?

Just the facts:
We predicted a victory for Oxford by three lengths. The official verdict of the 159th Boat Race was Oxford by 1 and 1/3 lengths in a time of 17:28 to Cambridge's 17:32. Cambridge still leads the all-time tally 81-77. Isis won the reserves race, giving Oxford a clean sweep of the Henley Boat Races as well as the BNY Mellon Boat Race this year.

Write-ups elsewhere:
BBC Sport (video clips here)
The Boat Race (official website)—there's also a blow-by-blow (live-text) account of the race here.
CBC Sports
Evening Standard
The Times of London
The Guardian (UK)
The Telegraph (UK)
ITV News

Further updates as they become available. Thanks very much to Iain Weir of Rowing Photography UK for the fantastic images!

[Update]:

-RR

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Videos: A Different Shade of Light Blue—The 2013 Dublin Boat Races All UCD



As if you weren't already foaming at the mouth with anticipation for the 2013 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race this weekend, we've got two videos from the other side of the Irish sea to further whet your appetite. The Dublin Boat Races are Ireland's take on the Oxbridge event, matching University College Dublin against arch rival Trinity College on the Liffey. The 2013 event saw the favorites from UCD make good on their potential, winning both the varsity men's event (the Gannon Cup), and the varsity women's race (the Corcoran Cup), defending their 2012 titles in both cases.



Not only do the crews deserve kudos for two hard fought match races, but the filmmaker, Markus Schröder, has earned himself some recognition as well—clearly, you risked life and limb to shoot these videos, and for that, Markus, we salute you! It might not be the cinematographic equivalent of Steven Spielberg, but it gives a fantastic sense for being there along the crowded banks, following the race as it makes its way through the heart of Dublin. (We can't be 100% sure, but given that Markus has already posted these, thankfully he seems to have gotten it done without injury.)

You can learn more about the history of the Gannon Cup and the Dublin Boat Races here. And, while you're at it, cast a vote in our Boat Race poll (above right)—who's your pick to win this weekend?

-RR

Monday, March 25, 2013

Video Of The Week: Which Blue Are You?



This week's (admittedly a bit silly, but certainly very appropriate) video comes to us from Merrie Englande, where the Henley Boat Races are in the books, and the Oxford and Cambridge Men's Boat Race is set to take over the Tideway this Sunday. The video gives us a bit of a humorous, inside look at the Boat Race Gala Dinner, which took place on 21 March and saw friendly Boat Race and Olympic rivals rubbing elbows at the London Film Museum. The Henley Boat Races (comprised of the Oxbridge Women's and Lightweight Boat Races), while traditionally held on the same stretch of the Thames as Henley Royal Regatta, were transferred to Eton Dorney last weekend due to rough weather—and the results were convincingly Dark Blue. In fact, Oxford swept four of four varsity events over Cambridge this year (for a full rundown of the events at Dorney, see here.)

And, unfortunately for Cambridge, we see that trend continuing this coming weekend—our pick for the 2013 Boat Race is Oxford. Given Oxford's pedigree, with a stern pair made up of 2012 Olympic medalists Malcolm Howard of Canada and GB's Constantine Louloudis, and a bevy of results in Tideway fixtures—including an outstanding performance against a very classy German men's eight on 17 March—we feel that the Dark Blues are the favorites this year, and we're predicting a victory for Oxford of three lengths. In our minds, it's never a good idea to bet against a boat named 'Acer,' as the Oxford Blue Boat was recently christened, in honor of their fallen former teammate.

We know, however, that there is plenty of support out there for both sides, and the Light Blues will be bringing their own Olympic and international medals to the table when the two crews take off from Putney Bridge this Sunday, with tough & proven athletes like George Nash, Milan Bruncvik, and Ty Otto in the mix. (You can view a side-by-side comparison of the two crews via the official website of the Boat Race.) So, we're opening up a vote: voice your opinion on who will win the 2013 Boat Race in our new RR poll, or in the comments below!

-RR

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Rumble Down Under: Crow Defends National Title, World Rowing Cup Set to Begin



Australia's Kim Crow might just be the best athlete in women's rowing, coming off an Olympiad with two trips to the podium, and now adding another Australian national title in the women's open single to her outstanding rowing resume. Fittingly, Part 9 (above) of Mike Nicholson's newest film, 'School for Sculling,' is dedicated to Crow, who entered the racing in Sydney battling some physical issues that have kept her away from her regular training and racing regime, but who still got it done against a very talented field (including U.S. double Olympic champion Elle Logan, who finished just under three seconds back of Crow in second place).



The racing at the first World Rowing Cup of 2013 kicks off on Friday morning at 8am Sydney local time, and the strongest squads are likely to be very familiar from the 2012 Olympic Games, with a great deal of the international talent focused on the women's side. Team GB will be looking to get the Road to Rio started right, while Team USA's lineups boast a number of Olympic champions, albeit in slightly different arrangements. Australia is on home water, and the Kiwi squad has just emerged from national trials. Though the man featured in Part 6 (above) of Nicholson's sculling doco, Mahé Drysdale, will not be in action, the Kiwi squad has made some changes that indicate a very strong commitment to continued success through Rio, including placing Dick Tonks in charge of the Rowing New Zealand women's program.

In our opinion, however, the race to watch will be the women's eight, with two very competitive crews from Canada and the United States set to square off once again following a series of close battles throughout the 2012 season.

For regatta results and information, visit the Sydney International Rowing Regatta section on RegattaCentral.com, and follow @SIRR2013 on Twitter.

-RR

Monday, March 18, 2013

Video Of The Week: U.S. Men's Eight, CRC Men's Quad in Chula Vista



This week's video comes to us from none other than Bernhard Stomporowski at California Rowing Club, and features an inside look at CRC's visit to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California a short while ago. The U.S. men's eight is on the scene in Sydney and gearing up for the first World Rowing Cup of the season as we speak, with the events at the greater 2013 Sydney International Rowing Regatta already underway. Stroked by 2011 U23 gold medalist Mike Gennaro (formerly of Syracuse), the eight also includes several members of the 2012 Olympic crew, in the form of Steve Kasprzyk, David Banks, and Grant James, while another Olympian, Tom Peszek of the 2012 U.S. men's pair, is holding it down in seven seat to begin the new quadrennium.

As we've come to expect from Bernhard's videos, there's a healthy bit of humor thrown into the mix, starting with the title.... (Also, well done to 2012 USRowing national champ in the M1x Matt Brown on the banter front). A solid soundtrack complements some very nice training shots on the water.

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, March 15, 2013

Video: Australian Men's Quad, Lightweight Men's Four Pre-Olympic Piece



In keeping with our Aussie theme this week, the above is a newly published video of a piece between the Australian men's quad and men's lightweight four (both of them 2011 world champions) filmed at Lake Varese in Italy prior to the 2012 Olympic Games. There's nothing fancy about this one—no music, no nifty camera work. This one is about excellent rowing and sculling, plain and simple. Athletes and coaches alike can benefit from watching these crews duke it out, from the uniformity of movement, to the blade work, to the posture & acceleration—this is elite-level stuff (and just the thing to get us in the mood for the first World Rowing Cup of the season). At Eton Dorney, the quad above took bronze, while the lightweights finished a very close fourth.

You can learn more Australian M4x bow seat Chris Morgan in his recent FISA interview (part of their Down Under series), and check out the crews that will be competing at the Sydney World Rowing Cup in FISA's official press release in anticipation of the event.

While the 'Road to Rio' may be long (and, evidently, paved with dead fish—no, really, about 80 tons' worth), every session, every race, and every stroke, counts. We can't wait to start the journey!

-RR

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

All Eyes on Sydney: AYOF 2013 in Rearview, SIRR 2013 Fast Approaching



The eyes of the rowing world have been fixed on Sydney for some time now, with the recent Australian Youth Olympic Festival Rowing Regatta setting the stage for the 2013 Sydney International Rowing Regatta next week. Not long ago, we published a video detailing the GB squad's view of the AYOF 2013 experience, and now we've got a slightly different take—the above training and racing video gives us an inside look at the team from South Australia (remember: the Aussies competed as states at the AYOF regatta), with some fancy editing and a hard-hitting soundtrack that is sure to get you pumped up for the next round of international racing Down Under. The SA boys did quite well too, medaling in no less than four events, including golds in the eight and quad.

Penrith course (Photo: © Tom Dethlefs)
The athletes in the U.S. men's eight have arrived on the scene in Sydney, and are already tweeting up a storm—Mike Gennaro posted a nice shot of the plaque at the Penrith course commemorating the 2000 Olympic Regatta (some very familiar names on that list!), and Tom Dethlefs' panoramic view of the awards dock and finish tower (see above) makes it pretty clear that the weather is slightly better than that on the Eastern Seaboard at the moment (for rowing purposes, at least).

So far, the SIRR social media crew have done a nice job keeping everyone posted on the developments in Oz. You can follow @SIRR2013 on Twitter, and keep tabs on the hashtags—both #WRCSydney and #SIRR2013 will be in use next week.

Thanks very much to David for sending us the video! Here's to some great racing, and the beginning of a new quadrennium!

-RR

Monday, March 11, 2013

Video Of The Week: 2012 Australian Rowing Championships, King's & Queen's Cups



As we draw ever closer to the 2013 Sydney International Rowing Regatta, we thought a look back at last year's Australian Rowing Championships might be a good fit for this week (thanks to Mike Nicholson). At last year's Aussie Open Rowing Championships and King's & Queen's Cup Interstate Regatta, the heat was on, both on water and on the temperature gauge at Australia's newest rowing venue out west—Armadale, near Perth. Not only is this video a good introduction to the regatta, it's also a great showcase of elite technical rowing, with the likes of 2012 Olympic medalists Drew Ginn, Will Lockwood, Josh Dunkley Smith, and Kim Crow in the mix (Crow in both the women's single and the 'victorious Victoria' women's eight).

There are already a number of international rowing federations on site in Oz in preparation for this year's event, which will include the first World Rowing Cup of the summer, and, from the look of it, the GB athletes are particularly enjoying the warm weather (great form, too!).

We'll be keeping tabs on the developments Down Under (stay tuned for more from Sydney), but this past weekend also marked the Women's Head of the River Race in London, which saw a very quick Imperial College Boat Club crew take first place overall despite having started in 57th position. The ICBC crew bested an Agecroft RC, Grange School (Hartford) RC, Hollingworth Lake RC, Northwich RC, Reading RC, and Tees RC composite entry by roughly 16 seconds to record the victory. Full results on the official website of the WEHoRR.

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, March 7, 2013

Oxford and Cambridge Crews Announced, CUBC Rowers Discuss Boat Race

Photo: Cambridge launches for the 2008 Boat Race (© B. Kitch)
The crews for both the men's and women's Oxford and Cambridge Boat Races have been announced, and there is a ton(ne) of international talent on display. The men's boat race will feature two double Olympians in the form of Oxford stroke Malcolm Howard and Cambridge two seat Milan Bruncvik—a first for the Boat Race. Howard won gold with the Canadian men's eight in Beijing, and took silver at Eton Dorney. Sitting right behind him? Constantine ('Stan') Louloudis, British stroke from the Olympic bronze medal-winning crew in 2012. Nothing against Niles Garratt (UW alum) and Alexander Scharp of Cambridge, but that is one hell of a stern pair for Oxford.

The Cambridge crew (follow the link for a Bloomberg video interview with Steve Dudek, Alex Fleming and Ty Otto), which bounced back from its fixture against Washington with a solid performance against Leander, also features a 2012 GB Olympic bronze medalist in the form of George Nash, who earned a trip to the podium in the men's pair event last summer. Former Washington Husky and 2011 U23 world champion Ty Otto is also in the Light Blue engine room, sitting opposite Harvard grad Sam O'Connor of New Zealand in the Oxford four seat. We'll hold off for now on making predictions, but suffice it to say that it looks to be a very tough battle on paper—even the crew averages are similar in the extreme:

Oxford:
Age: 25 years Weight: 92.9 kg (14 st 9 lbs) Height: 194 cm (6 ft 4 in)
Cambridge:
Age: 25 years Weight: 92.6 kg (14 st 8 lbs) Height: 195 cm (6 ft 5 in)

The women's Boat Race may not have the Olympic lustre of the men's event (yet), but Oxford's crew certainly doesn't lack for international experience. Bow seat Mariann Novak was a U23 bronze medalist for Hungary in 2009, and seven seat Anastasia Chitty is a British phenom in the making, having recently returned from the Australian Youth Olympic Festival with a medal for each of the three boat classes she raced, with a silver from the World Rowing Junior Championships in 2011 already to her name. Oxford's coxswain (and Trinity College, Hartford alum), Katie Apfelbaum, was a member of the victorious Isis crew last year. Cambridge, led by two-time Boat Race veteran Fay Sandford, will counter with youth and athleticism, with a significant height & weight advantage on their Dark Blue rivals:

Oxford:
Age: 23 years Weight: 67.8 kg (10 st 9 lbs) Height: 176 cm (5 ft 9 in)
Cambridge:
Age: 22 years Weight: 69.8 kg (11 st) Height: 178 cm (5 ft 10 in)

For a complete, side-by-side comparison of the men's and women's crews, please visit the official website of the Boat Race. For a full write-up of the weigh-in and announcement on Tuesday from London, see our friend Tim Koch's report on Hear The Boat Sing. (Note: some serious quad flexing going on in the men's individual photos.) And for more on the Oxford and Cambridge Goat Race (not a typo), click here.

-RR

Monday, March 4, 2013

Video Of The Week: 'The Video With No Name' from Princeton Rowing



The Princeton Tigers recently released the above video, which, while nameless, needs very little in the way of introduction. Suffice it to say that it is a great, inside and in-depth look at an outstanding program, and frankly an awesome training camp video from the Tigers' trip to Tampa (including the much-anticipated mustache competition, with characteristically disturbing results). "There are reminders all around of the standard that has been set through the years—a legacy of hard work, integrity, and success. It's inspiring. When you walk into the building, you immediately know that you are in a place where it is time to go to work." Not only is this rowing film a great recruiting tool, it's a fascinating look at the history of one of the most storied programs in U.S. intercollegiate rowing, and includes footage dating back to the 1920s (some of which is rather hilariously mixed with, shall we say, more contemporary music). It's also a celebration of Lori Dauphiny's tremendous career at Princeton, now in it's 24th year.

Another interesting note from the video: "One big reason for our tradition of success is that there is one boathouse. Four teams sharing a common space, a dock, a lake. Four teams sharing a common experience, and a common goal."

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

[Update 9 March, 2013: As you can see, the Tigers have now seen fit to give the video a name: "NYC Rowing Dinner Video: A Tradition of Success"]