Monday, August 25, 2014

Video Of The Week: The U.S. Men's Quad Travels to Amsterdam



This week's video again features the members of the U.S. men's quadruple sculls, this time following them for their final strokes of preparation in Princeton before heading east to Amsterdam. The quad—Ben Dann, John Graves, Stephen Whelpley, and Pete Graves—got started on the Bosbaan yesterday, placing third in their heat for a trip to the reps. Also headed for the reps are their teammates in the men's eight, who narrowly missed direct qualification for the final in the heat behind Poland, and the U.S. men's pair, made up of 2012 Olympic bronze medalists Charlie Cole and Glenn Ochal. Progressing straight through to the A/B semis for the U.S. were the women's lightweight double of Michelle Sechser and Devery Karz, the women's pair of Megan Kalmoe and Kerry Simmonds (who won their heat roughly four seconds ahead of Romania), the women's quad (who also won their heat), and Kate Bertko in the LW1x. An experienced U.S. women's four punched their ticket directly to the final with a heat win, while single sculler Gevvie Stone earned her way directly to the quarterfinals with a solid performance in the heats, as did the lightweight men's double of Austin Meyer and Joshua Konieczny.



Switching gears and taking a more international look at the progress so far, several of the most impressive performances up to this point have come from the French men's lightweight squad—including the new World Best Time set in the LM2x by Stany Delayre and Jérémie Azou (a 6:08.64—lowering the previous mark by nearly two seconds)—and, of course, the Kiwi Pair.


This is the first year in a while where one might say that the coxed pair has been a highly anticipated event, and, while we celebrated that in last week's featured video, there's still more history to add here: While the great Steve Redgrave won gold and bronze in the men's pair and men's coxed pair at the 1988 Olympics, it is his later pair partner, Matt Pinsent, who managed to top the podium in both events at the same world championships—Pinsent and James Cracknell teamed up (with coxswain Neil Chugani) to win both the M2- and M2+ in Lucerne in 2001. The duo then returned the following year in the M2- and set a World Best Time in the M2- in Seville—a mark that lasted until the heats of the 2012 Olympic Games, when Hamish Bond and Eric Murray raised the bar still higher.

Bond and Murray could match that feat this year, and they're already on their way to doing so, having won their heat of the M2+ convincingly. The one caveat—in 2001, all the finals took place on the same day, so Pinsent and Cracknell won two golds in one afternoon, and both by extremely narrow margins (just 0.02 seconds in the M2-, and 0.42 seconds in the M2+). Given the new format with finals spread out across multiple days, it's a performance that may never truly be equalled.

Keep an eye on our Twitter feed for updates from the Bosbaan, and for complete results, please visit the official website of World Rowing. Note: After a year of Wednesday-scheduled VOTW features, we are moving our Video Of The Week back to Mondays.

-RR

Thursday, August 21, 2014

#TBT: 10 Years Ago Today Matt Pinsent Won His Fourth Olympic Gold—in Dramatic Fashion



Yesterday we celebrated a historically great duo in the Abbagnale brothers of Italy with our Video Of The Week. Today, we take a look back into the archives once again: On this date in 2004, one of the defining races of the Athens Olympics, and of Matthew Pinsent's glittering career, took place at Schinias Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Centre. The above video gives an inside look at that Olympic final, which, fittingly, came down to the last stroke. While GB crew had no shortage of household names in rowing, the Canadian crew included three-time Olympian (and two-time medalist) Jake Wetzel. In one of the most dramatic Olympic finishes in the history of our sport, the two crews traded slight leads throughout the final 500 meters of the race, with Great Britain eventually winning the day by 0.08 seconds.

In the words of Wetzel, "That 0.08 seconds is 10 years of experience. That's what Matthew Pinsent had that we didn't have." Along with his Canadian national teammates, Wetzel found that extra gear in 2008, winning Olympic gold in the men's eight.

-RR

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Video Of The Week: The Kings of the Men's Coxed Pair



The 2014 World Rowing Championships are just four days away, and without a doubt one of the most anticipated events this year will be the men's pair with coxswain (how long has it been since we've been able to say that?). This is, of course, thanks to the Kiwi Pair's decision to double-up in the event. So, we thought it only fitting to take advantage of the occasion to reflect on one of the most dominant crews of the 20th century, another impressive duo, the Abbagnale brothers.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Video Of The Week: Inside the Temple-winning Oxford Brookes Men's Eight on Henley Sunday



This week's video comes to us via Oxford Brookes' coxswain Rory Copus, who gives us an inside look (and listen) into the final of the Temple Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta last month. The Brookes crew perfectly executed their race plan, jumping out to an early lead (indeed, almost a length by the end of the Island) and continuing to extend that lead through the finish line. The video is also a resource for coxswains—Copus' mixture of rhythm calls and timely, pre-planned moves carries the crew through the race without falling into the trap of simply chatting into the microphone, and keeps the crew consistently informed about position (time, distance, split) on the racecourse.

A telling call from a crew member comes with 500 meters to go: Anyone who has trained for and raced at Henley knows just how rare, and precious, it is to have an opportunity to win a title there. As the Brookes crew crosses into the final quarter of the race, you can hear the words, "Take it all in!" Copus immediately echoes this. Not only is it the ultimate motivation, it's also a reminder of how fraught with meaning that moment is for everyone in the crew.

For more coxswain resources, check out our Coaches' Corner page.

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

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Training Tuesday: Gearing up for 2014 Worlds with the US M8+, GB M4- and 2+



The 2014 World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam are fast approaching, and today we're taking an inside look at training with the U.S. men's eight, and the British men's four and pair with coxswain, in the form of three videos produced by crew members. The above showcases the GB men's four—the odds-on favorite to win another world title this year—and introduces each of the athletes by way of micro-interviews. And, what sets this video apart is the inclusion of their chief coach, Jürgen Grobler, who adds his two cents at the end of the piece.

Friday, August 8, 2014

USRowing Senior National Team Announced: A Look at the 2014 Squad Set for Action in Amsterdam



The U.S. senior national team has been announced, and its a formidable group that will be heading to Amsterdam later this month for the 2014 World Rowing Championships. And, thanks to USRowing and Curtis Jordan, we've got a inside look at this year's squad. While there are several new-look crews set to enter the fray on the Bosbaan, there are also a number of well-established names on the roster, including three very notable returners—on the women's side, Eleanor Logan is back in the women's eight (where she has won two-straight Olympic gold medals) after a season in the single (and a very successful one at that, making the final at the world championships in her first go around in the boat class), and 2012 Olympian Gevvie Stone will represent the U.S. again in the W1x; on the men's side, two-time Olympian David Banks is back in the mix, sitting in the two seat of the eight.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

RR Interview: Fergus Scholes, Publisher of Row360 and Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge Champion

Photo courtesy of Row360
Henley Royal Regatta seemed like the perfect place and time to launch a new rowing magazine, and Row360 Publisher Fergus Scholes did not miss the chance. Scholes, who hatched the idea of creating a global rowing magazine while racing across the ocean last year during the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, has a long history in the sport, having started at the age of 13. His team, the Atlantic Polo Team, crossed the 3,000 mile course from the Canary Islands to Antigua in 48 days and seven minutes, winning their class and finishing second overall. Now, Scholes has embarked on an entirely different kind of challenge, but with the same patience and determination.

RR: What inspired you to create Row360? What separates it from existing rowing journalism, and how do you see it developing over the coming months and years?

Fergus Scholes: I was fortunate enough to row the Atlantic at the beginning of the year. Forty eight days and three thousand miles gives you some time to think a little, and I decided heading back to my regular desk job, where I had been working in finance, just wasn't what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Rowing is a sport I have always loved since starting as a school boy at the age of 13 at Canford, Dorset, and if I could find a way to make a living somehow in this niche, that would be awesome.



We are trying hard to differentiate ourselves from existing rowing magazines, and the feedback we have received makes me believe we are on our way to achieving this. The international focus is particularly important for us, so this is a big differentiator from existing rowing publications. We are working hard on our second issue already, and successive issues, and are looking forward to producing a magazine long into the future.

RR: What inspired the name?

FS: We were originally looking at more conventional names, but I had a little 'eureka' moment with Row360, and we decided to go for it. I like this one because it is unique and removes any ambiguity over identity. The 360 denotes full circle of content in rowing, in particular the global aspect to the content.

RR: What were some of the immediate challenges that presented themselves when trying to build a worldwide print magazine? Can you describe the current process?

FS: Distribution is certainly a a challenge in a worldwide magazine. This is particularly expensive in countries like Australia and New Zealand. So to start with, we have split our printing—some is carried out in the UK, and some in the USA to mitigate some of these prohibitive transportation costs.

RR: Taking a look at the premier issue, what notes did you want to hit to set the tone for the series?

FS: Truly global, fresh and interesting articles with a real quality feel, and loads and loads of content. All 116 pages of issue No. 1 are available for everyone to see online here: http://www.epubxmag.com/t/137003

RR: The contributors and featured athletes include some very impressive and well-known names in the rowing world—how did you go about building such a talented pool of writers from the outset?

FS: The truth is, it was not difficult. We just identified whom we wanted to write for us, and approached them! People in the rowing community are very approachable and enthusiastic about things which benefit the sport.

RR: For those who want to subscribe, what are the best ways to learn more and get in touch with Row360?

FS: Our website at www.row-360.com is now live, and there you can find more information on how to subscribe. Any story ideas or feedback can go to editorial@row-360.com, or my email address is fergus@row-360.com. To get in touch on Twitter, follow us at @row360, or find us on Facebook.

Thanks very much to Fergus for taking the time to do the interview! Having launched the magazine in the U.S. at USRowing Club Nationals, Scholes is now in St. Catharines, Ontario at the 132nd Royal Canadian Henley Regatta. You can read a review of the first issue by our friends at Hear the Boat Sing here.

-RR

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Video Of The Week: Long Beach Juniors Train for Glory



This week's video comes to us courtesy of the Long Beach Junior men's squad, and details their training leading up to their victory in the eight at the 2014 USRowing youth national championships. Despite winning both the heavyweight four and pair at Southwest Regionals, the LBJC coaching staff and athletes elected to bring the eight (which had finished a distant third in their region, some nine seconds off the pace). Evidently, they were onto something. From the get-go at nationals, it was clear that LBJC had found an extra gear in the eight, posting one of the fastest times of the regatta in the heat (and this with a 10-second lead and no need to push). (For a complete recap from the 2014 youth national championships, plus race video clips, see our race coverage here.)

Now, LBJC athletes Luke Khoury and Allen Reitz are representing the U.S. in the JM2- in Hamburg, while Izak Epstein is racing in the JM4-. The junior men's pair has a field of 26 crews and a very high standard, with Germany looking like favorites to repeat (albeit with a new crew), having set the fastest qualifying time today (an impressive 7:04). The U.S. duo qualified in fourth place in their heat.

Keep up to date with everything happening in Hamburg via our Twitter feed and the official website of World Rowing.

Thanks very much to Izak 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