Thursday, December 31, 2015

Rowing Together: 2015 RowingRelated Year in Review


We've had a lot of fun at RowingRelated in 2015—our biggest year yet. And we couldn't have done it without you. Here's what we mean by that.

Design
In 2015, we put a lot of thought into design and site navigation. We know it's not the most complex website in the world, but streamlining site navigation and making our five years (!) of content readily accessible and easy to discover for you was one of our top priorities. And, we gave our logo a new look.

RR logo, 2012-2015
 
Content
We launched the first season of our Best Rowing Drills series (stay tuned for a second season coming up soon), featuring some of the most important and influential coaches and athletes in our sport. Thanks very much again to Kevin Sauer of Virginia women's rowing for being the guinea pig and getting things started right! And, in the midst of it all, Conlin McCabe—card carrying member of the sub-5:40 club—shared his knowledge about how to approach your 2k.

We connected with the Virginia men's rowing team for the second time, as they prepared to head across the pond and race at the 2015 Henley Royal Regatta, and offered an inside view of their experience thanks to Forrest Brown in our #HoosGoingToHenley series.


Another new addition, building on an RR tradition, was the creation of our Rankings page—we've long posted rankings articles, but in 2015 we added a current rankings system and ranked our top 10 NCAA and IRA teams, and top 5 ACRA and junior rowing teams, updating them throughout the spring racing season. We also added archives to the Rankings page, making it easy to look up historical rankings while keeping the current rankings cleaner and easier to read.

Recently, we added another wrinkle to this, with our Records page—the goal there being to collect all the known world records, on land (for 6k, 5k, and 2k) and on the water (for each boat and weight class), for junior, U23, and senior level athletes.

Finally, we broke what was arguably the biggest story in U.S. collegiate rowing in years—Bob Ernst's departure from Washington—and were credited with breaking the news by The Seattle Times. Since that time, many people have expressed their opinions on the situation, but if you ask us, the go-to piece on Ernst and the Huskies was written by UW alum Megan Kalmoe

Social
Here's where we want to give you a big shout-out: Our social following has grown tremendously over the past 12 months, and (obviously) we couldn't have done it without you. Thank you all for sharing, liking, reposting, and helping us to grow. As a result, we blew through the 2million page view mark, and have seen our Facebook and Twitter audiences roughly double.



And, leading the way this year has been our Instagram account, which has grown by roughly 17,000 since last December to 18,600 plus at time of writing, with more than 650,000 likes to our posts over that time. It has been a joy connecting with people from all over the world, from India, to South Africa, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina, as well as here in our home country, the United States.

In short, you're the best.

Outlook
2016 is an Olympic year, and, just like everyone else in the rowing community, we're looking to step up our game. Together, through thoughtful discussion, highlighting the best performances, and celebrating the achievements of the leaders in our sport, we can help change and grow the culture of rowing, in the U.S. and beyond.

-RR

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