Friday, January 31, 2014

Rowing, Instantly Grammed


There's no denying it. Rowing is a sport that is as visually beautiful as it can be physically brutal. The early mornings and late evenings set a dramatic stage, and every now and then you get something completely unexpected. Not long ago, we ran our first rowing-themed weekend hashtag project via the @rowingrelated Instagram handle. The theme? Winter training. While the number of submissions wasn't enormous, the quality was, quite simply, impressive—we tasked our followers with documenting some aspect of their training this season, using the hashtag #RRwintertraining, and, as promised picked a few of our favorites to share. And, the photo below is our overall winner—a fantastic shot of a foggy training session in Southern California thanks to Wisco alum and Long Beach Junior Crew coach Erich Hanxleden. You can follow Erich via his Instagram handle, @racedayeveryday.



Congrats again to Erich, and thanks to everyone who submitted images for the #RRwintertraining project! Stay tuned for more projects and contests via Instagram to come this season.

-RR

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Video Of The Week: Training with Two Irish National Champion Crews



This week's video comes to us courtesy of the National University Ireland, Galway Boat Club, and follows the training of their men's senior (a composite NUIG/Grainne Mhaol crew) and intermediate eights in the lead up to last summer's Irish National Championships. (Spoiler alert: both crews won their respective national titles in 2013.) And, as a competitive rower, it'll fire you up. The chorus, "right here, right now," echoing in your ears as you see the bow of the near crew inching toward the lead—something to keep in mind for spring racing season.

The senior eight crew was made up of a talented group of oarsmen, including Beijing Olympian Cormac Folan and squadmate James Wall, among other Irish internationals, including Niall Kenny (U23 silver medalist in the BLM4x in 2010), Richard Bennett, and Rob O'Callaghan (the latter two having competed at the 2013 U23 world championships in the men's four). The victory for NUIG/Grainne Mhaol marked the fifth title in six years for the composite—evidently, a winning formula.

Thanks very much to Huw for sending us the video! Have a submission for 'Video Of The Week?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, send us your suggestions via Twitter, or get in touch via our Facebook or Google+ pages.

-RR

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Game of Thrones: Olympic Champions Drysdale, Bond, and Murray Sparring in Single



This weekend marked the second showdown between 2012 Olympic champions Mahé Drysdale, Eric Murray, and Hamish Bond in the men's single, and once again Hamish Bond emerged victorious. The finish order this time saw Bond cross first ahead of Drysdale, with Robbie Manson edging Murray into fourth place. While Drysdale took some time following the Games in London to make his decision regarding the long road to Rio, Bond and Murray were back at it, and as fast as ever (or faster, even) throughout the 2013 season. And, that desire to perform to the best of their abilities regardless of the race or time of year continues to produce results for the Kiwi Pair.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thoughts on the 2014 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, Following the OUBC Trial VIIIs



The 2013/2014 Trial VIIIs races are now in the books, and the anticipation is already beginning to mount for the main events, scheduled for Sunday, 30 March at 3:00pm GMT (women) and 6 April at 6:00pm GMT (men). For many on the outside, however, the Oxbridge men's and women's Boat Races appear to be something of a foregone conclusion. Oxford are, to put it bluntly, comparatively stacked on both counts. And, judging from the lineups that the men raced over the weekend, they know it—they appear to have raced two mixed eights (splitting up their Olympians) against one another for more of a sparring session than a true selection piece. Let's take a closer look at the Oxford lineups, shall we?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Video Of The Week: A Four-Minute Window into Aviron France



This week's video comes to us from Aviron France, and offers a five-minute introduction to the sport, along with members of the French national rowing federation. While it's not the most in-depth of tutorials (it's a promo piece for the 2015 world championships, to be held on Lake Aiguebelette), what it does offer the seasoned rower is a glimpse of French rowing technique both on the water and on land. Of particular interest are the shots of 2013 world silver medalist Jérémie Azou and double partner Stany Delayre—a combination that we missed in Chungju due to Delayre's unfortunate training injury (resulting from a boat collision), but one that has serious potential with a view toward Rio, having taken fourth at the London Games.

Have a submission for 'Video Of The Week?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, send us your suggestions via Twitter, or get in touch via our Facebook or Google+ pages.

-RR

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Video Clips from the U.S. National Team Training Camp in Chula Vista



Collegiate programs aren't the only snowbirds in the American rowing community. The U.S. national team has been training in California of late, taking advantage of what has been, even for California, unseasonably warm weather and calm conditions. These videos come by way of U.S. national team high performance director Curtis Jordan, and in the clips from the men's training sessions, you can hear coach Luke McGee's voice over the megaphone.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Video Of The Week: The Saga Continues—Syracuse Does Florida, 2014



This week's video comes to us from the Syracuse Orange men (not the Orangemen, at least, since 2004), and embodies the best of the banter-laden modern approach to rowing training camp films, with some nifty camera angles and a Lana Del Rey soundtrack (we're fans of LDR—and acronyms, evidently—here at RR as well). Take special note of the stretching routine included at the beginning. While most Northeastern collegiate programs visit Florida to escape the winter cold, even the panhandle experienced the wrath of the polar vortex that descended upon much of the U.S. earlier this month. For Syracuse, however, even the record cold in Florida no doubt felt like a welcome relief from the relative 'Syberia' at home (where temperatures dropped as low as -8 degrees F on January 3rd).

Meanwhile, in California...

Have a submission for 'Video Of The Week?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, send us your suggestions via Twitter, or get in touch via our Facebook or Google+ pages.

-RR

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Olympic Champion Adam Kreek: "I Seek Failure"



Just last month, Canadian Olympic gold medalist Adam Kreek gave a talk at TEDx in Victoria, with the surprising and effective title, "I Seek Failure." Kreek is an outstanding athlete with extraordinary experience in our sport, and what you'll discover in watching this talk, outside of Kreek's sense of humor and infectious positive energy, are some gems from his time while training with the Canadian national team. In particular, his relationship with Jake Wetzel is enlightening, as are Wetzel's comments—in fact, it's Wetzel that gave this talk its name.

Wetzel, a triple Olympian, famously battled Matthew Pinsent and the GB men's four all the way to the line in Athens, finishing just 0.08 seconds behind the British, and later won Olympic gold with the Canadian men's eight in Beijing. While Kreek's discussion comes from athletes training at the highest level, the lessons can be applied universally—proving once again that rowing, like Paris, is a moveable feast.

-RR

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Video Of The Week: Training and Racing with the GB Men's Eight



This week's video comes to us courtesy of 2012 Olympic gold medalist Alex Gregory. The footage is from the GB men's eight's tour of Australia prior to the first World Rowing Cup in 2013, which took place on the 2000 Olympic rowing course in Penrith, and it gives an inside view of what it's like to train and race at the highest level. Highlights include double Olympic gold medalist Pete Reed's utter disregard for proper bike helmet fit, as well as the man, the myth, the legend, Jürgen Grobler himself, driving the van with the athletes to the course. The outcome in Australia saw the GB crew take the gold, setting the stage for what would be a bit of an up and down season in the eight, but one that finished with a world championship title—the first for both Team GB and Grobler in that boat category.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Top Five Rowing Moments of 2013, Part V: Team USA in Lucerne



We said it at the time, and it held true for the 2013 World Rowing Championships—the performance of Team USA at the final World Rowing Cup made a strong statement about their intentions, both for the 2013 season, as well as the long road to Rio. Not only did the new additions to the men's national team staff—men's coach Luke McGee and high performance director Curtis Jordan—make their presence felt immediately, the women's team continued to push the boundaries of the sport, setting yet another world best time in the eight (with yet another new lineup).

The men's eight scored the first victory over the Germans since 2009, and the men's four held off a very strong Australian crew in a wire-to-wire win. While the results on the water were very impressive, equally so was the perspective of the athletes winning gold medals for the U.S. "It's a World Cup win in a post-Olympic year. We have three years till Rio, and that's the important one," said 2012 bronze medalist Henrik Rummel in a post-race interview with Martin Cross. As USRowing noted at the time, no less than nine of the 31 U.S. athletes who earned trips to the podium were appearing in their first-ever senior-level international competition.

The U.S. later carried this momentum through to Chungju, where they enjoyed one of their most successful world championships in years, bringing home eight medals (tied for first with Germany, Britain, and Italy for the most overall) and placing fourth in the medal standings.

And there you have it! 2013 was an outstanding year in rowing—one that exceeded expectations at seemingly every turn—and all we can say is that we're excited to see the level to which dedicated athletes, coaches, and trainers push the sport as 2014 unfolds. Well rowed, all.

-RR