Sunday, November 9, 2014

Oxford's Mike DiSanto Checks in after the Head of the River Fours

Oxford University racing the Head of the River Fours (Photo courtesy of Mike DiSanto)
Harvard alum Mike DiSanto, who recently returned from a trip to New Zealand for the Gallagher Great Race, is back and training once again with Oxford University Boat Club—and, evidently, it's going well. DiSanto and his teammates turned a lot of heads on the Thames a week ago with their performance in the men's elite four with coxswain—an event that they won, while placing ninth among all crews (yes, in a field that included quads and straight fours). The following is the first dispatch from Mike for RR about his training and racing with OUBC, with more to come as winter looms.

The early days of the 2014-2015 OUBC Boat Race campaign have been spent predominantly logging miles on the ergs at Iffley and on the water at Wallingford. The coaches are always coming up with new, innovative ways to teach certain aspects of the stroke. Even as the days grow shorter and the temperature begins to dip, our energy remains high. Unlike last year’s group where we had a wealth of knowledge in Storm [Uru] and Malcolm [Howard], this year’s team is made up of a much younger, less experienced bunch. But, what we’re lacking in Olympic medals has been made up for in a desire to improve and hard work. Half of last year’s team (four returning blues, four returning Isis crew members) is joined by two Americans (Morgan Gerlack of Brown and Will Hakim of Harvard) three Brits (Jamie Cook of University of London, Henry Goodier of Imperial College and Josh Bugowski of Cardiff University) and another New Zealander (James O’Connor of Harvard).

The first racing of the season kicked off a few weeks ago at the British Championships up in Nottingham. A straight four comprised of Stan [Louloudis], Will Geffen, myself and Iain Mandale took silver in a very talented field fresh back from the World Championships. I think the result is really a testament to Sean and Andy. The system and culture they’ve implemented at OUBC is something special. I speak for the whole squad and the alumni when I say it’s a pleasure to work with them on a daily basis.

Last weekend we traveled to London to race in the Fuller’s Fours Head. This is the only time, other than the Boat Race, that we race Cambridge, so its important to execute on the day. OUBC had a solid performance, with the top boat of Stan, Jamie Cook, myself, Sam O’Connor and Will Hakim winning the elite coxed four. We’re straight back into training until Trial VIIIs on Decmber 10th (also the date of my 25th birthday, presents are encouraged) where Stan will do his best not to lose a fourth consecutive Trial VIIIs. From there we’re onto Davos, for a few trips up the Swiss Alps on cross-country skis.

63 days down, 152 more to go. -MD

Thanks very much to Mike for taking the time! For complete results from the Head of the River Fours, please visit the official site of the regatta. (Emphasis added by editor.)

For a look (albeit a short one) at DiSanto's OUBC crew from the Fours Head, see our Video Of The Week post from Monday showcasing the first 120 crews to come through Hammersmith Bridge.

-RR

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