Thursday, December 4, 2014

#TBT: 1979 U.S. National Team Preliminary Men's Eight, with Harry Parker



This week, we're taking a look back to 1979 and the wisdom of Harry Parker, through this training film. The first 45 minutes of the above are shot in Hanover, New Hampshire. Interviewer Bill Stowe—an Olympic champion himself, having rowed on the 1964 Vesper crew that won in Tokyo, and 2011 USRowing Jack Kelly Award winner—spends an afternoon with Parker, during the preliminary phase of training for the U.S. men's eight that summer. Stowe asks thoughtful questions, and Parker gives typically thoughtful answers, as the two discuss workouts and rowing technique, as compared to previous U.S. crews as well as other rowing federations. It also includes raw audio from the launch. The crew shown, from bow to stern, is Bill Purdy, John Biglow, Charlie Altekruse, Mike Hess, Tom Woodman, Otto Stekle, Chip Lubsen, and Bruce Ibbetson, with coxswain Bob Jaugstetter.

The last nine minutes of the video come from Parker's 1983 sculling camp on the Charles, with athletes Bruce Beall, John Terwilliger, Kurt Somerville, the legendary Tiff Wood, Tony Horvat, William Donoho, Mark Bickford, Mike Totta. Again, the audio is straight from the launch, giving us a sense for what it was like to sit next to Harry that day. The film is every bit as valuable from the coaching and technique perspective as it is from the historical one—as students of the history of our sport will tell you, there is just so much to know.

Thanks to John Biglow for posting this to YouTube—it's an invaluable resource for today's rowers to gain insight into the mind of one of the most outstanding coaches the sport has ever known.

-RR

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