Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Quad-Feature Video Of The Week: Racing on Both Sides of the Pond (and Down Under)

The first of today's videos comes to us from the Netherlands, where the Heineken Roeivierkamp 2014 took place recently in the heart of Amsterdam. The video features some slick editing, nice shots of rowing, and a few interviews for those of you in the audience who can speak Dutch. It's also another window into how European regatta organizers take advantage of urban settings, and combine different distances and events to keep things fresh an interesting. At the Heineken Roeivierkamp, more than 400 crews (eights and quads) raced over four distances (5k, 2.5k, 750m, and 250m). You can read more about it on the official website of the Heineken Roeivierkamp here.

Meanwhile, in Derby, Connecticut...

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday-Edition Video Of The Week: Introduction to Rowing at Rose City Rowing Club

This week's video comes to us from Portland, and is a very nicely put together general introduction to the sport of rowing, as well as to Rose City Rowing Club. A mixture of on-the-water training footage and interviews with athletes and coaches, it paints an accurate picture not just of the experience of rowing in Portland, but also the reasons why all of us get up early in the morning, and row until our hands bleed. Among those interviewed is Stanford frosh phenom Ruth Narode, who finished second after an epic sprint in the junior women's open event at Crash-Bs in 2012, and who is coming off a gold-medal performance at U23 worlds with the U.S. women's eight last summer in Austria. Narode was awarded our prestigious RoRy for Female Athlete of the Year at the junior level in 2012.

Thanks very much to Chris for sending along 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.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

IRA and ACRA Rowing: Crews to Watch in 2014

Yesterday, we took a look at our preseason top 20 Division I NCAA teams. Today, it's time to turn our attention to the top IRA and ACRA programs so far in the 2013-2014 campaign. And so, without further ado, here's out take on varsity, lightweight, and club crews to watch this season. (And, for the most part, we're sticking to our guns from our fall 2013 predictions—read them here.)

IRA Programs

Heavyweight Men
1. California
The Golden Bears have six of the eight oarsmen on this year's team returning from the 2011 IRA winning frosh eight, which was the last crew to defeat Washington in any event at the IRA. They will be led by talented Serbians Luka Dordevic, Igor Lucic, Ivan Ostojic and Jovan Jovanovic. British athletes Stephen Tuck, James Scott, Edward Williams and Morgan Hellen, Aussies Louis Snelson, Michael Bernerius and Aaron Wright, Americans Richard Walter and U23 silver medalist and USC transfer Carter Crowe, and seniors Christian Reynolds, Cole Reiser, and Spencer Hall. Erg standout Christian Kader will also look to make an impact on one of the top two eights this spring.

2. Harvard
In Charley Butt's first year at the helm they look to be the squad of the next few years with an extremely talented roster in every class that is looking a lot like the model established in Seattle over the last several years. The Crimson have a very international roster (28 foreign athletes out of a combined 67 between frosh and varsity), including freshman Olympian Juri-Mikk Udam, who will look to have a similar impact in his first year as South African Vincent Breet did last year as a freshman in the varsity. The Crimson will also expect major contributions from Scottish athlete Andrew Holmes, Australians Charles Risbey, Alexander Uruchurtu, James Medway, Lachlan Hanbury-Brown, Rory Glover, Andrew Emmett, Jay Ditmarsch, and James Croxford. English athletes Gregory Edwards and Edward Rippon, and German sophmore Achim Harzheim will be in the mix. Americans Max Meyer-Bosse, Andrew Reed, Ryan Furey, J.P. Hogan, and Nick Jaroszewicz will also add valuable experience to the top boats.

3. Washington
There are a number of significant questions at the top end of the Washington depth chart after the departure of some very talented seniors in 2013. Look for this year's squad to be led by British studs Marcus Bowyer, Edward Nainby-Luxmoore and Myles Neary, Australian Henry Meek, Germans Sebastian Peter and Finn Schroeder, Slovenian sophomore Grega Domanjko, Kiwi Julian Svoboda and Americans Alex Perkins and Sam Dommer.

4. Brown
Bruno will have an incredibly fit and deep squad ready to race with anyone in the country on any given day. In fact, the Bears could easily have a varsity eight that includes nobody slower than 6:05 on the erg for 2k. Hunter Leeming, Anders Weiss and Morgan Gerlak are all returning to Brown after winning medals for the U.S. at the Under 23 World Championships in Austria this past summer. Vyacheslav Chupryna, Whiting Tennis, Bailey Willis, Martin Aspholm, Ethan Borchelt, and Canadian Quinten Richardson will also look to establish seats in the varsity eight this spring. We will also be keeping our eye out for standout freshman Anand Rajesh to see if he is thrown into the mix with the varsity guys to get a chance to race in the top boat in his first year on the squad. Brown will also seek contributions from a group of international oarsmen made up of mostly freshmen and sophomores.

Although we may be doing so in picking them to finish fourth at the IRA, we would encourage any opponent not to underestimate this impressive group of athletes and top-notch coaching staff. The Bears are a blue collar group that knows how to get the job done and always prove to be gritty racers when it counts.

5. Northeastern
The 'other' Huskies raised the bar last year, but can they continue that path? The Huskies worked very hard last year in order to take a major step forward and let the rowing world know they are serious about getting on the IRA podium. However, after making such significant strides in 2013 and falling just (achingly) short at the end, the job will not get any easier in 2014. They will be led by Americans Justin Jones and Trevor Weasor, Sean Crwoley, Kyle Erlandson, and Max Montpetit as well as Scottish athlete Cameron Buchan and Kiwi Riordan Morrell. We expect freshmen Gabriel Tomic (Serbia) and Ole Henrik Bang-Andreasen (Norway) to be in the mix for top seats. We will be interested to see if Canadian U23 national teamer Ryan Rosts can return to his old form after recovery from a serious back injury.

6. Yale
7. Princeton
8. Stanford
9. Boston University
10. Wisconsin

Men's Lightweights
1. Princeton
The Princeton Tigers have had some difficulties over the past three seasons, often with fast falls followed by not-quite-fast-enough spring racing seasons. This year, however, they have both the horsepower and the coaching staff to make the leap back to the top of the podium, with multiple athletes under 6:15 (including former walk-on Matt Drabick) and Bill Manning joining Marty Crotty in the Princeton Boathouse. Look for the Tigers to build on another great Head Of The Charles result with a similar spring this year.

2. Yale
Veteran coach Andy Card knows the lightweight league, and Bulldogs were the last team to beat Harvard. The Bulldogs, who were just one second back of Harvard at the 2013 IRA when all was said and done, also showed potential in the fall, and will be looking to push their arch rivals down the podium come championship racing season.

3. Harvard
The Crimson are coming off a run of absolute dominance, with three nearly perfect seasons in the rearview mirror—but for that one incredibly close loss to Yale at the 2011 IRA Regatta. Michiel Bartman is coming across from the women's side, where he had a successful stint building Radcliffe into a solid gold-medal contender. However, it will mean a period of adjustment for Harvard, which, in a league where races are determined by inches, could see close rivals pass them up this year. Even still, we're looking for a solid podium finish to a first year coaching for Bartman.

Women's Lightweights
1. Stanford
Yes, they're coming off a four-peat at the IRA, but there's not reason to count the Cardinal out in 2014. While they lost assistant coach Madeline Davis to Ohio State, they gained a talented frosh group that includes phenom Christine Cavallo, who crushed Crash-Bs last year in a time of 7:05.7 (a new world record for junior lightweight women). Look for Al Acosta's crew to be in contention for a fifth straight title.

2. Radcliffe
The Black and White will have a new coach this season in Lou Berl, but they will have a significant number of returners from last year's silver medal-winning boat. Look for another close battle this season between Stanford and Radcliffe for the top spot overall. (No pressure coach!)

3. Bucknell
The Bison have made themselves into perennial contenders in this league, and were just off the podium last season, finishing fourth behind Wisconsin. We're looking for that to reverse this year, with the Bison edging the Badgers into fourth place.

ACRA Men's Programs

1. Michigan
In speaking with Gregg Hartsuff for the ROWING Magazine 2014 season preview, the long-time Michigan coach hinted that this year's varsity squad might just be deeper and more powerful than last year's edition (with a large group of talented sophomores in the mix for the top boats), which reclaimed the varsity eight title at ACRAs ahead of rival UVA by roughly half a length. Look for the Wolverines to defend that title this year, and maybe even add that elusive Dad Vail title to the mix (though they will likely face tough challenges from Drexel and FIT in Philly).

2. Virginia
UVA's Frank Biller is seeing a new group of leaders emerge this season, and while perhaps not as deep as in previous years, the Cavaliers will still be a strong contender for the varsity events, with last year's ACRA-winning frosh eight moving up the ranks.

John Bancheri is continuing to build a strong program at Grand Valley, and this year he'll have erg standout Nate Biolchini back in the ranks for the varsity eight. The Lakers will be making an appearance once again at the upcoming San Diego Crew Classic, which will offer a solid preview of where they stack up against other club programs. In their last appearance at Crew Classic in 2012, the Lakers edged Notre Dame for the Cal Cup title.

Honorable mention: Bucknell
The Bison have been moving up the club ranks in recent years, and will have some significant horsepower in the form of Connor Corwen (roughly 6:00 on the erg). They're also gearing up for a trip to Henley Royal Regatta this year, so look for the Bison to be on a mission this spring.


Monday, March 17, 2014

NCAA Division I Rowing: The RR Preseason Top 20 in 2014

It's that time of year again! Yes, the ice is melting, and crews are back on the water in anticipation of what will undoubtedly be another great season of racing. In fact, we're just three weeks away from kicking things off in earnest on the west coast at the 41st San Diego Crew Classic! But who will be the crews to watch when we're all lined up on the stake boats? Here are our thoughts on the matter.

1. Virginia 
As usual, the Hoos will have some very impressive depth with former junior national team athletes likely to be sitting on the sidelines when the team competes at the NCAA Championships in late May. They will be led by British U23 silver medalist Fiona Schlesinger, German U23 bronze medalist Constanze Duell, former U.S. junior national teamers Elle Murray, Hemingway Benton, Chandler Lally, Lizzy Youngling and Brandy Herald. We also expect their freshmen and transfers to have a major impact on the team this spring, led by Kiwi U23 national team veteran, freshman Hannah Osborne, and U.S. junior national team frosh Georgia Ratcliff and Jo Gurman. Virginia will also benefit from the services of three others new to the squad this year in Dutch graduate student Ella van der Haar and two January transfers: former American junior national team athlete Mackenzi Sherman (who transferred from LMU) and Sam Casto, a transfer from Georgia Tech.

2. California
Will have very impressive top end talent this year and will be a serious threat to capture the crown after missing an opportunity in 2013 when the varsity four failed to make the final. The Bears will be led by a talented and experienced senior class that includes: Olympic bronze medalist Kara Kohler, Kiwi Papa Hipango, Aussie Rosie Popa, and U.S. U23 national teamer Aggie Nowinski, and fellow Americans Greer Uu and Michelle Leason. Expect German sophomore Charlotte Siering to contribute to the varsity eight along with former U.S Junior world championship medalist Kendall Chase. Australian sophomore Jacinta Edmunds will also be gunning for a seat in the varsity eight. Cal will also rely heavily on a trio of foreign freshmen this spring, in the form of German junior national teamer Dorothee Beckendorff, Norwegian U23 sculler Inger Kavlie, and Scottish standout Rowan McKellar.

3. Ohio State 
The defending National Champions return a number of top athletes from last year's squad and will certainly be in the mix again this spring. They return last year's varsity eight South African stern pair of Claire-Louise Bode and Holly Norton along with top american varsity eight members Eelkje Miedema and former U.S. junior national teamer Ashley Bauer. New Zealand junior national teamer Catherine Shields should make the leap from stroking the second varsity eight as a freshman to sitting in the varsity eight as a sophomore. Spanish junior national teamer Aina Cid Centelles, French junior world championship medalist and U23 veteran Daphne Socha should also be in important seats in the NCAA boats once again this spring. The Buckeyes will also be expecting major contributions from freshmen international junior national team athletes Stephanie Williams (Australia), Elodie Ravera-Scarramozzino (France), and former German junior national squad teammates Sandra Dinter and Anne Dietrich.

4. Princeton
We know they will be fit after a long winter filled with lots of hard training. This fitness combined with their talent-laden roster and the leadership from coach Lori Dauphiny will put the Princeton Tigers as the favorites to win the Ivy league Championship as well as compete for a spot on the podium in Indianapolis at the NCAAs. They will be led by outstanding oarswomen and former american junior national team athletes, sisters Kelsey and Erin Reelick, Faith Richardson and Galen Highes, sophomore standout Meghan Wheeler, senior Susannah Shipton, Canadian junior national team athlete Annaliese Ionson, Aussie freshman Geogie Howe, and Irish international, freshmen Bridget Jacques.

5. Washington 
After a strong fall season, they will look to translate their team speed in small boats and fitness on the erg to the spring season in the big boats. They will be led as usual by a bevy of international talent including British U23 silver medalist Fionna Gammond, former British junior national teamer Ruth Whyman, former New Zealand junior nationals Camilla Anderson, Kirstyn Goodger, and Grace Spoors (her twin sister Phoebe is also on this year's squad), Canadian Olympian Patricia Obee and Canadian junior national team member Allie Delarge, Australians sophomore Natasha Gay (who sat out last season will look to make an impact this spring) and Maddie Cordner, as well as former American junior national team silver medalist Kadie Brown will all look to make an impact in the first and second varsity eights for the Huskies this spring. They will also see major contributions from Liz Vogt, Sis Odland, Sarah Dougherty, and Giuliana Chilczuk, who display some good power on the erg. We will also be very interested to see if partially blind former U.S. Paralympian Eleni Englert, who packs elite power potential, will be able to make an NCAA boat for the Huskies.

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

Coming up tomorrow on RR: The top IRA and ACRA programs to watch in 2014. Keep it locked!


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Video: A Day's Training in Portugal with the GB Men's Rowing Team

Double Olympic gold medalist Pete Reed gives us an inside look at a day in the life of a British national team oarsman in the above video, shot on training camp in Avis, Portugal. The video offers a number of banter-laden interviews with teammates, including Will Satch and Nathaniel Reilly-O'Donnell, as well as a little on the water footage. There are also hints at the other kinds of testing that the athletes go through on a regular basis (nothing like waking up to a urine sample every day). Clearly, these are the days to log miles and build the muscle fibers and endurance that make the difference come spring—not long now until racing season begins!

Now, time to destroy that last erg test...


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Video Of The Week: Saw Wood City with Stanford Men's Rowing

This week's video comes to us from Redwood Shores, California, where the Stanford men's rowing squad has been busy building 'saw wood city' this winter. The video follows head coach Craig Amerkahnian through a training session, and the results are a series of gems—just be sure to credit Craig if you're going to use any of the above. Stanford is coming off an early season romp at the Davis Invitational Regatta in the Port of Sacramento, where they swept all events against UC Davis and Santa Clara. The Cardinal men's varsity eight is certainly not short of power, with Austin Hack back for his senior season, freshman phenom Ryan O'Rourke (who holds the American junior record for 500m at 1:17, and who won the men's junior event at the 2013 Crash-B Sprints with a 6:02.4), and 2013 U23 bronze medalist Kaess Smit, among others.

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.

Coming up on RR: College Rowing Preseason Rankings—crews to watch as the 2014 season kicks off this spring