Sunday, November 30, 2014

Video: Pete Reed's 'Ready to Die' British Rowing Training Camp Teaser



There's certainly no doubt that the British Rowing squad, currently in the midst of an altitude training camp in the Sierra Nevada (Spain), is ready to go the extra mile. But, if we're to take Pete Reed's latest (banter-laden) film trailer (too) seriously, perhaps they're ready to go even further than that. Things to note: Reedlapse Films intro; Reed still on the 2014 push-up (or press-up) challenge, even in the snow; some, er, interesting barbell technique; further banter in the credits. If this is the teaser, we're certainly looking forward to the real thing, and if it's anything like Reed's other work, it will provide an excellent window into the team's training and overall experience of camp as the GB squad prepares for the 2015 campaign.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Interview: Olympian Conlin McCabe and Rowing Canada Cycle through Southern California

Look fast, feel fast, go fast (Photo courtesy Conlin McCabe)

If you're up on the recent travel plans of the Canadian rowing squad (and who isn't?), then you'll know that they just wrapped up a cycling training camp in Southern California, where they put themselves through the paces, climbing their way through the Santa Monica Mountains. Among the group that traveled south for the winter was 2012 Olympic silver medalist Conlin McCabe, who got his first taste of Southern California cycling, along with fellow Washington alums Will Crothers and Rob Gibson. Here, McCabe shares a little about the training, the cuisine, and the bragging rights from the trip.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fall 2014 Review: Who's Ahead in the Collegiate Ranks as Winter Training Begins?

Early morning at Conibear Shellhouse (Photo: B. Kitch)
The 2014-2015 season is already shaping up to be every bit as interesting as last year, and we can't help but be excited about all that's to come. So, just because we all need something to read over the Thanksgiving holiday, we're kicking off the rowing 'hot stove' league with a look back at the fall, and the teams that made an impression heading into winter. Disclaimer: This contains opinions, and this is in large part based on fall results, which can be tricky to interpret, or downright misleading, depending on how coaches and programs approach the longer distance racing, and which teams show up at what races. Let's take a look, shall we?

Heavyweight Women
The Virginia Cavaliers are coming off their fourth straight Head Of The Charles victory as fastest collegiate eight, and have another talented roster, including Sam Casto (who just pulled a big erg at East Coast Fall Speed Order, and finished in the top 10 in the single). The Ohio State program is always a threat under the guidance of Andy Teitelbaum, and is coming off their second straight NCAA title, while Stanford claimed the Pac-12 crown last season en route to a top-five finish at NCAAs—however, both of these teams will be short some of their top talent this year, with athletes taking time away from campus to train for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. John and Phoebe Murphys' Brown program finished very high up in the ranks last year (third overall just two points behind Cal) and they have a lot of returners for the 2014-2015 campaign—and this makes the Bears our early season favorite to win it all in 2015, having topped the Cavaliers at the Chase (though Virginia did field three of the top seven crews on Lake Carnegie). Princeton finished sixth last year, and will be another crew to watch, rounding out the RR top five heading into winter training. 

Further crews to watch will be Cal (can the Golden Bears make a smooth transition following the departure of Dave O'Neill for Texas and continue their winning ways?), Washington (having graduated a lot of talent in 2014), and possibly Michigan (eighth overall last season, finished fifth and second among U.S. universities at the Head Of The Charles).

The ACRA women's field has been dominated by Grand Valley over the past several seasons, and we don't see any reason for that to change in 2015. Look for UCSB to continue to make strides out west, while Purdue will likely continue to be a factor come spring.

Heavyweight Men
The Washington Huskies have been without peer for the last four years, from the varsity eight to the Ten Eyck, and there seems little reason to doubt that this team can continue to have that kind of success again this season. The Big Purple Machine is running on all cylinders, and had another strong result at the Head Of The Charles this year, finishing fifth overall just ahead of the French national team. They followed this up by dominating the Head of the Lake once again, and looking up and down the roster, this squad certainly has the potential to continue the UW legacy of success. Not far behind UW at IRAs last year, and also returning a lot of talent are the Golden Bears, and their Charles results showed that—Cal finished just back of France in seventh place, having taken second place overall in the Ten Eyck race last spring.

The Harvard varsity eight turned in another stellar performance on home water, edging a very strong U.S. men's eight for third place, and taking the top intercollegiate spot on the Charles this year. The Crimson will be strong again, but last year stumbled at the IRA, where they failed to earn a medal (though, to be fair, hardware was hard to come by for anyone other than Brown, Cal, and Washington) and saw only two of their crews make the grand final—the varsity eight (fifth), and the frosh eight (fourth)—with their second and third varsity eights landing in the middle of the third final in their respective events. Still, with a solid 2014-2015 roster that features a great deal of international talent, Harvard will be a force to be reckoned with. Brown is always a deep squad, and Paul Cooke's program consistently produces results when it matters most—of the East Coast contingent, Brown may be the best bet to take on the heavy hitters from the West. Yale finished in the medal final last year (as we predicted), but this year they may just have the talent to out-duel their arch rivals and move up the national ranks, and posted a very strong result in the varsity eight at the Princeton Chase (11 seconds back of the Tigers for second place). Boston University enjoyed some very solid results again in the fall, but it still remains to be seen whether the Terriers can translate that early season speed to spring victories, while Princeton wasn't far off a fantastic year last season, finishing in the Grand Final in the varsity, second varsity, and third varsity eights, and scoring the only medal (a silver in the 2V8) that wasn't won by Bears or Huskies. 

At the ACRA level, it's going to be very difficult for anyone to compete with Michigan in 2015. The Wolverines just won the Charles, having nearly pulled off the Dad Vail/ECAC double-victory last spring, which they followed up with another ACRA varsity eight and men's team points victory. As has become the norm, the teams trying to chase down the Wolverines will be Virginia and Grand Valley, while UCSB and Bucknell will be looking to edge one of the top three off the podium.

Lightweight Women
This year will see Stanford adjusting to a new coach, but as Radcliffe showed last season, it is more than possible to make a title run under new management. Lou Berl's Radcliffe program capped off an outstanding season in 2014 with a comeback victory over the Cardinal at IRAs, and the Black and White have gotten off to a strong start this season, finishing second at the Charles behind a Dutch international crew (Minerva) and well ahead of the rest of the intercollegiate lightweight field. Stanford, on the other hand, has had a bit of a slow start to their 2014-2015 season having only just hired their new head coach, Derek Byrnes (formerly of Oakland Strokes) roughly six weeks ago.

Wisconsin won the four in 2014, but, along with Bucknell and Boston University, it will be an uphill battle for the rest of the field to catch the two frontrunners in women's lightweight rowing next spring.

Lightweight Men
The Big Red of Cornell returned to their 2006-2008 form last spring, backing up their Sprints title at IRAs ahead of a highly volatile field. While it was Princeton who took the title in Boston (the Tigers seem to have a knack for getting it done on the Charles), Cornell did take a strong third place, five seconds back of the Tigers, and three seconds behind Harvard. Harvard has a very strong roster this year, with Chris and Michael Wales, Zander Bonorris (Marin alum and veteran), Matt Podlesak (in the U23 lightweight quad for U.S. in 2013, one of the last guys cut from the U23 straight four last year), and Jack Kelly (AUS) in the mix. We're looking at these three as our podium favorites again this year, likely with the Crimson and Big Red battling it out for supremacy, with Yale looking to make it interesting coming down the stretch.

-RR

Monday, November 24, 2014

Video Of The Week: Winter Training with the New Zealand U23 Men's Eight



This week's featured video comes to us via 2014 U23 and senior world gold medalist Caleb Shepherd, coxswain of the New Zealand under-23 men's eight and the Kiwi Pair plus this season. The video features a mixture of water and land training from the winter season in the Southern Hemisphere—a few months back for the Kiwi coaches and crews now, but perfectly timed for those of us training in North America and Europe. Of particular note here is the consistency of technique and power application both on the water and on the erg—something which translated very well at the world level, where the Kiwi U23 eight scored its second gold medal in as many years.

For more New Zealand rowing content here on RR, use our New Zealand search label

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Interview: 2012 Olympian Gevvie Stone on racing (and winning) at Silver Skiff

The Silver Skiff course in Turin, Italy (Photo courtesy of Gevvie Stone)

Gevvie Stone is no stranger to success in the single, nor over the long course. However, her recent trip to Italy put her in unfamiliar territory in more ways than one: Stone had never visited the country before, nor had she experienced the Silver Skiff International Endurance Race—a 40-plus-minute slog on a tricky course. Still, Stone's pedigree showed. When all was said and done, she had finished 48th overall in a field of more than 500, and had won the women's elite event ahead of 2013 winner (and four-time Olympian) Julia Levina of Russia. Here, we catch up with her about the travel, preparation, racing, and (most importantly) the gelato.



For more on Stone's rowing career, check out her earlier RR interview from 2012 here. Thanks again to Gevvie for taking the time!

-RR

Monday, November 17, 2014

Video Of The Week: Why We Love (Row) New York



This week's video comes to us thanks to Row New York, and is a reminder of the very best that the rowing community has to offer. It follows one member of the Row New York crew, Rehan, who gradually lost most of his vision roughly a decade ago. While he coped with the changes stoically, he also discovered something in rowing that has given him a new outlet to experience the outdoors, as well as access to a community of equally extraordinary people, who ply the waters alongside him. It's a beautiful story, at once heart-warming and humbling.

Thanks to Row New York for all that you do, and for sharing this with us.

You can learn more about Row New York via their website (linked above), where you can donate, or following along via their Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts. And for more insight on just how much visually impaired athletes can excel in rowing, check out our interview from last year with Paralympian Andrew Johnson. Also, read more about Row New York's adaptive rowing program in this article by Executive Director Amanda Kraus, published earlier this week via Huffington Post Sports.

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

So, are Naked Rowing Calendars a Thing Now?

Warwick rowers are all in again this year (Photo courtesy of Warwick Boat Club) 

The phenomenon started four years ago with the Warwick Rowing men's squad. Then, the following year, the Warwick women's team joined the fray. Now, Newcastle University's men and women are back on the naked calendar train. So, the question is, have rowing and naked calendars become a thing?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Video Of The Week: 'Succession' with the Swiss Men's Quad



This week's video comes to us from the Swiss national team, and features their heavyweight men's quad that defended their U23 world title last summer, and (with two switches—Nico Stahlberg and David Arreger in for U23 athletes Damien Tollardo and Barnabe Delarze) went on to place sixth overall at the 2014 World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam. Not only are these guys slick on the water, but check out this balance training that Delarze is doing at 3:49—who says you can't work on boat stability on land? The video is nicely shot and features a number of (subtitled) interviews for those unfamiliar with Swiss French, as well as a great deal of off the water banter. Also, it offers access to their race planning session, and the calls that will be made as they move down the course—always of interest to athletes and coaches.

Thanks very much to Hugues for submitting 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, 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.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Video: 2014-2015 Marin Rowing Association Varsity Men Doin' Work

The view from the MRA boathouse (Photo: B. Kitch)
While the fall rowing season in the U.S. may be largely at an end, the Marin junior men's program are continuing to log the miles that make champions. Having narrowly lost the Men's Youth Eight event at the 2014 Head Of The Charles to Bay Area rival Oakland Strokes (the East Bay crew finishing just over one second ahead of Marin, who came in as defending champions), the MRA varsity men bounced back at the Head of the American (held at Lake Natoma, just outside Sacramento, California) the following weekend, winning the men's junior eight event over Southern California's Newport Aquatic Center by roughly nine seconds (though NAC placed three crews in the top 10, taking second, third, and eighth place—and, given the return of head coach Nick D'Antoni to Newport, they'll be a team to watch going forward this year).



Have you been grinding out the low-rate, long distance miles as we gear up for winter? Send us your training videos to rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, send us your suggestions via Twitter, or get in touch via our Facebook or Google+ pages, and we'll put together a list for fall 2014 (erg playlist suggestions welcome). Also, still to come: Our analysis of the fall racing season, with a view toward the leaders heading into winter training.

-RR

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Interview: Canadian Olympic silver medalist Scott Frandsen on his training for IRONMAN Kona

Frandsen racing at Kona (Photo courtesy of Scott Frandsen)

Triple Olympian Scott Frandsen, who earned a silver medal in the men's pair with Dave Calder in Beijing (just behind the famous duo of Drew Ginn and Duncan Free), is no stranger to logging mile after mile of training on the water. So, following his second Olympics in 2008, Frandsen found the transition to Ironman Triathlon a natural one, giving him a release from rowing while still developing his endurance fitness and providing him with an intensely competitive outlet. Having raced in his first Ironman in 2009 (Subrau Ironman Canada), Frandsen has competed at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, twice, qualifying for the 2014 event by winning the amateur category (and placing ninth overall) at the Coeur d'Alene Ironman in a time of 9:16.36.

Here, Frandsen shares what motivates him to train at the elite level, whether it be rowing or triathlon, as well as the importance of patience, nutrition, and just generally being able to stay afloat when the rush for the water kicks off the first stage of a three-part race.



For a full rundown of Frandsen's Ironman results, please follow the link, and to learn more about Scott's athletic endeavors, check out his website at scottfrandsen.com.

Update: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Frandsen was a two-time Olympian—Frandsen competed at the 2004 Olympics as well, in the Canadian men's eight.

-RR

Monday, November 3, 2014

Video(s) Of The Week: The First 120 Crews at the Head of the River Fours



This week's pair of featured videos comes to us from Hammersmith Bridge, London, where Dickie Bannenberg was kind enough to camp out for the Head of the River Fours over the weekend. The videos show the first 120 crews between them—a field that included a number of Olympians, national team members (from various countries), and sterling results on the Tideway. The talk of the town following the race was the performance of the Oxford and Cambridge crews competing—the Light Blue and Dark Blue men and women all turned in strong races over the Boat Race course (albeit in reverse), setting the stage for the biggest and best Boat Race of them all this spring, with the women's programs competing over the same distance and historic stretch of the Thames as the men for the first time.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Weekend Filled to the Brim with Racing, in the U.S. and Beyond

This weekend features a ton (tonne) of racing over long courses from the U.S. to Europe, with the Head of the River Fours taking over the Tideway earlier today, the Head of the Hooch in Chattanooga, Portland's Fall Classic, the Newport Autumn Rowing Festival in Southern California, the Head of the Lake in Seattle, and many more. We'll have reaction and analysis for all of the above coming up over the next few days, but for now, here are some useful links and updates for Saturday and Sunday. Good luck everyone!