Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in Review: Your 10 Favorite RR Posts This Year

Best of RR, 2014 Edition
We're mere minutes away from the beginning of a new year, and we can't wait to find out what the 2015 rowing season holds. However, there's never a better time to look back on the previous 12 months than New Year's Eve, and that's just what we're up to this evening. And so, without further ado, here are our top 10 posts (according to you) from 2014.

1. Stop Seat Racing: The Future of Crew Selection
Virginia Men's Rowing head coach Frank Biller's take on how best to select your crew, given the increasing level of data available to coaches and athletes.

2. Head of the Charles Banter: Can We Talk about how Badass This Year's 'Great Eights' Are?
Apparently, we weren't the only ones excited about the increased number (and level of badassedness) of the men's and women's Great Eights at the Head of the Charles in 2014.

3. So, are Naked Rowing Calendars a Thing Now?
If the level of success that this post has had is any measure, then the answer is yes. What's next? Naked regattas?

4. IRA and ACRA Rowing: Crews to Watch in 2014
Is there anything more fun than throwing a few picks and predictions out there in the preseason, just to make things interesting? Answer: No.

5. A Rower's Holiday Gift Guide, with Jack Carlson of Rowing Blazers
You gotta admit—the guy has got style.

6. No Fade for the Kiwis: Even-Splitting is the New Black
Punny title aside, Rowing New Zealand is redefining the international racing profile, with an approach that is fast from start (to middle) to finish.

7. Video Of The Week: Smooth Sculling with the Sinkovic Brothers
Who wouldn't want to watch a video of the fastest double, ever?

8. NCAA Division I Rowing: The RR Preseason Top 20 in 2014
An early (March) look at the NCAA field—the end of the championship rowing season saw two of our top three on the podium.

9. Video Clips from the U.S. National Team Training Camp in Chula Vista
An early look at last year's USRowing squad from their January training camp, thanks to Curtis Jordan.

10. Video Of The Week: 'You Only YOLO Once,' with the Australian LM4x
We admit it—based on the quality of this video, we kind of hope these guys find a way to YOLO again.

Thanks very much to the rowing community, online and off, for another great year, from all of us at RowingRelated. Here's to 2015!


Monday, December 29, 2014

Video(s) Of The Week: Mike Spracklen Coaching the Russian National Team

This week's featured video playlist comes to us from our friends at RowHub, and is an eight-part series shot from the launch, with Mike Spracklen coaching the Russian national rowing team through a translator. Each video offers a slightly different look at training and technique, in a variety of boat classes (from singles to eights) and at a variety of cadences (from steady state to race pace). All in all, it's a brief but interesting, inside look at Spracklen's new group, and if you watch carefully, there's much that can be learned from each clip.

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.

And for more rowing video content, check out RowHub's expanding video archive, as well as the RR 'Video' page.


Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Way We Were: Training (and Winning) with the Australian National Team in 1974

The 1974 Aussie LM4- training in Switzerland
As we approach the end of another year, it's important to reflect on how far we've come. And, one way to do that is to turn back the clock. 40 years ago, the Australian national team was preparing for the 1974 world championships in Lucerne, Switzerland. The below film, shot by Harvey Nicholson and edited by the same and his son, Mike, offers what is at once a nostalgic and informative view of elite rowing training at the time. The lightweight crew—the first-ever Aussie crew to win international gold—was made up of Campbell Johnston, Andrew Michelmore, Geoff Rees, and Colin Smith (from stern to bow), and recently had a reunion (and weigh in!) to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their victory. Here's some background on the film from Mike Nicholson:
[This film follows] the 1974 Australian Men's Lightweight Coxless Four that were the first Australian crew ever to win a gold medal at either the Olympics or World Rowing Championships and all came from Melbourne University Boat Club, Victoria, father, Harvey Nicholson (then President of MUBC and fundraiser among others for the crew) shot and and we edited of their lead up races, training and winning the gold medal in Lucerne, Switzerland. I had steered the stroke, Cam Johnston, in a LW4+ and LW8+ in '70 and '71. -MN

The differences in training regimen are marked, but the technique is already characteristically Australian in some ways (albeit with virtually no swing over the hips, in keeping with the predominate style of the time), and there are echoes of the long, loping rhythm that so epitomized Drew Ginn's crews of the 1990s and 2000s. Most of the video is made up of on-the-water training footage—for those most interested in the scenes from the 1974 World Rowing Championships, skip ahead to the 18:45 mark. It's worth a look, not least because of its potential to inspire some sweet throwback uniforms.

Thanks very much to Mike for sending along the video! You can watch his follow-up to this, on the 1975 campaign, here. And, for more from Mike Nicholson, check out his RR interview from 2013, and visit his YouTube Channel.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Twitter Rowing Banter: #RowingIn5Words

Twitter challenge: #rowingin5words
Last week, given all of the five-word challenges—i.e., sum up a concept or experience in five words—floating around Twitter (most notably, #2014in5words—a hashtag encouraging people to reflect on meaningful moments over the past year), we thought it only right to challenge the rowing community to the same test of brevity (the soul of wit, as you well remember). And, the results were suitably impressive. We were delighted to see people from all over the world taking part, from national team athletes and Olympians to juniors and even well-known rowing brands, reflecting the international nature of the sport. Here's a look at some of our favorites from #rowingin5words so far.

Thanks to everyone who has participated—it has been very entertaining to watch! While we might not quite have gotten rowing to 'trend' worldwide on Twitter, we're going to say it was pretty close there for a minute.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Video Of The Week: Elite Men's Quad Training in Chula Vista

This week's video comes to us via the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California, and features an inside look at the recent quad camp there, which included Craftsbury Green Racing Project's John Graves, Potomac's Willy Cowles, and California Rowing Club scullers Derek Johnson and Hans Struzyna. The camp was put together by CRC head coach Bernhard Stomporowski, and, in the words of John Graves, served as a way to encourage greater collaboration between clubs and training centers looking to develop elite athletes and crews. Here's an excerpt from a post Graves' wrote for his blog, Jaunting, about the camp:
"The majority of our rowing was low intensity, but we did a couple of 3k pieces with some of the other boats at the TC; most notably the women's 2x and light women's 2x who have showed medalist speed over the past couple of years."
This allowed them to compare some percentages, and get a sense for how the lineup performed by the numbers. (You can read the whole post here.)

At the heart of the matter is one of the key problems with the trials system in place in the U.S., which is that many athletes are dispersed across the country, training in small groups, rather than in one, centralized place allowing for maximum intra-squad competition, and (theoretically) as a result, the most competitive lineup in the end. In his post, Graves deals with the guilt that he feels about training with another satellite group—a natural reaction, but something that shouldn't be an issue if the bottom line is speed. This is a topic for a much longer discussion, but is worth noting here because of the unnecessary psychological weight it placed on one of the top scullers in the U.S.—something that, despite best intentions, can prevent even the best athletes from achieving their potential.

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.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

RR Interview: Jack Carlson and Outtakes from 'Rowing Blazers'

Kingston Rowing Club (Photo courtesy of Jack Carlson)
Recently, we caught up with Jack Carlson about his favorite holiday gifts for rowers this year, and here, we go behind the scenes with Jack during the making of Rowing Blazers. And, included below are several never-before-published outtakes from the book, including U.S. national team vet and Trinity alum John Graves (read his RR interview here), as well as that most famous of rowing duos, the Winklevoss Twins. Here's what Jack had to say.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The RowingRelated 2015 Calendar is Here!

Newell Boathouse, from the 2015 RR Calendar (Illustration: B. Kitch)
There's a new RowingRelated Calendar hot off the presses for 2015, featuring artwork by RR editor Bryan Kitch. There are a few key rowing dates thrown in, as well as U.S., U.K., Canadian, French, and German holidays to suit the worldwide rowing community. It's not going to break the bank (or even the student budget) at $15, and it can be shipped internationally. So, here's your chance to support the RowingRelated cause, and get some (practical) artwork in return! Take a look at the preview below (for mobile users, click here to view the item on, and keep an eye on our social media outlets for more peeks into the calendar over the coming days.

In our extremely biased opinion, it's the ideal gift for rowers of all ages. You can buy it now here.



Video Of The Week: The Blue Star Takes on Italy

This week's featured video comes to us from Newcastle University Boat Club, and gives an inside look at their recent trip to Italy to race some Italian international crews, with loads on on-the-water shots thanks to no shortage of GoPro cameras (not to mention the kind of 'mileage that makes champions,' as the NUBC squad took the opportunity to defrost and fully embrace the idea of 'suns out, guns out'). The soundtrack could fit nicely into our Winter 2015 Erg(o) Mixtape, and the trip was a successful one for the Newcastle first eight, not least because of the scenery around Lake Sabaudia.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Video Of The Week: Oxford Blues Taking Boat Race Banter to New Heights

This week's featured video comes to us via Oxford University Boat Club, and offers an inside look at their training and preparation for...actually, it's a series of precisely executed, boy-band dance moves, as well as some impressively edited reverse lip-syncing (from 1:16)—a clear indication that the banter level has achieved new heights in the build up to this year's Boat Race. When you think about it, what better way to strike fear into the hearts of your opponents than with a parody R&B viral video?

And, far from letting the men's squad have all the fun, the Oxford women have upped their Christmas sweater game.

The gauntlet has been thrown down—suffice it to say, we're looking forward to seeing how Cambridge responds. (Will the Light Blues go full Daniel Radcliffe?)

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.


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.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Get Amped x2: We Made You a Winter Training Erg(o) Mixtape

Remember when cassette tapes weren't just iPhone cases?

After how much you said you liked year's fall rowing erg(o) mixtape, well, we felt like maybe we should make it a tradition—not that we're getting too serious or anything. It's on the electronic side, but it's also got a little dose of hip hop, and a mix of rhythm and bass that ought to get you through a long session of intervals, a 30-minute test, or just your everyday 10k (the playlist clocks in at approximately 45 mins). And, like we said last year, while we can discuss the problems and benefits of having music during training (having trained with coaches on both sides of that fence), we hope you enjoy it, and use it (or not) as you see fit.


Henley Winner and World U23 Medalist Paul Giblin of Ireland Needs Your Help

Earlier today we received an email alerting us to this video and this cause—Paul Giblin of Galway, a two-time Henley Royal Regatta winner, member of the 2005 Irish U23 national team (and bronze medalist at the 2003 World U23 Regatta), and and officer in the Army, is battling cancer, and is in need of a bone marrow transplant. Because of this, Paul and his friends are looking to raise awareness for bone marrow donors, and are urging people to join the bone marrow registry at We haven't yet been able to confirm this, but according to a YouTube comment posted below Paul's video, there will be testing in Ireland, set to take place in "Cork, Dublin, Athlone, and other places most days this week until late in the evening. More details of upcoming clinics available here."

You can also help spread the word by using the hashtag #marrowmatch on social media platforms, and by sharing the above video:

More information can be found in this article, posted yesterday to The Sport Review.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Rower's Holiday Gift Guide, with Jack Carlson of 'Rowing Blazers'

Carlson at ease (Photo courtesy of Jack Carlson)

The holidays are right around the corner, and rather than take our word for it, we thought it would be best to ask rowing's most stylish author and coxswain about gifts for the rowers we love. From on-the-water kit, to how to look like a million bucks in the boathouse, here are a few of Jack Carlson's favorites this holiday season.

From Jack:

Oakley Razor Blades. For on-the-water retro chic.

New Wave port and starboard socks. For fashion (and confused coxswains).

The official Rowing Blazers tie
Rowing Blazers tie. (Shameless.)

Rock the Boat tuxedo shirt. For when the blazer comes off.

Pieces of Eight cover detail

Pieces of Eight by Chris Dodd. For those who enjoyed The Boys in the Boat.

Vanity Fair rowers prints. For the living room, or study (1).

The Warwick girls are all in

University of Warwick Boat Club Women's Calendar 2015. For the living room, or study (2).

A trip to the Rowing Hotel, Lithuania. For the rower who has everything. -JC

For more from Jack, check out his book, Rowing Blazers, released last summer at the 175th Henley Royal Regatta, and which deserves a place on this list as well—a great way to better understand the history of the sport and the widespread influence of rowing on the fashion world. And, coming soon to RR, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the book, with an interview and outtakes from production.

Also coming soon: The RR 2015 Rowing Calendar, with original artwork by Bryan Kitch. Stay tuned.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Video Of The Week: 'You Only YOLO Once,' with the Australian LM4x

Training on the Nepean River, 2013 (Photo courtesy King's Quad 2013/Facebook)

This week's video comes to us from Down Under, and features the 2013 Aussie LM4x training on the Nepean River in New South Wales. The crew, coached by none other than Tim McLaren, as well as Rick Van Hooydonk (of Sydney University Boat Club), was made up of Perry Ward, Ed De Carvalho, Adam Kachyckyj, and James Wilson, and performed well on the international stage, placing fifth overall in Chungju—Perry Ward returned to senior worlds in Amsterdam this year, placing fifth in the LM1x. There's a little bit of history on their training and preparation via a blog that they kept during the campaign that you can read here, as well as via their Facebook page. And, it's a nicely edited video with a soundtrack that is well suited to the long hours of winter training (we're here to offer you in-depth as well as multipurpose, you see).

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.