Friday, January 30, 2015

RR Interview: Matt Lehrer of Community Rowing's Institute for Rowing Leadership, Boston

Community Rowing, Inc., Boston (Photo: © Essdras M. Suarez)
As one of the country's top rowing clubs, and with a tremendous membership, Community Rowing, Inc. in Boston is often among the first to test new and innovative ideas. And, foremost among those ideas is the Institute for Rowing Leadership—a graduate level program founded at CRI in 2011that integrates classroom study of all aspects of the sport with on-the-water training. Matt Lehrer, who teaches at the IRL, is also the Director of Coaching Education at CRI. Here, Matt shares some of the background on the IRL, how the program works, and what the big picture looks like as CRI continues to push the boundaries with the aim of improving rowing as a whole in the United States.

Monday, January 26, 2015

RR Instagram Photo Contest: The Finalists

The light at the end of the tunnel... (Photo: B. Kitch)
Suffice it to say, we've been stoked about the response to our #RowingRelated Winter Training Photo Contest on Instagram, not least because our audience has been logging winter miles in some very beautiful places (maybe winter training isn't all that bad?). Thanks to you, we've gotten to see some beautiful sunrises in Portugal, dramatic clouds over Florida, thick fog and brilliant sunsets along the California coast, and much more. So, after two weeks of entries, we've had to narrow it down to 21 finalists—a difficult process, and we appreciate everyone who tagged us, mentioned RR, or used the above hashtag to share their best rowing photography. Selection criteria included overall composition and image quality (resolution). And so, without further ado, the finalists are...

Video Of The Week: Brown University Men's Crew Does Florida

This week's video comes to us from sunny Florida, and ought to provide a welcome respite from the 24 inches of snow due to fall on the East Coast this week. From sweeping drone (a.k.a. 'the #kovenkopter') shots to onboard GoPro footage, Brown Crew—among our top programs to watch this spring following a strong fall 2014 season—offer a varied look at their training camp in this video, but more than anything it's just good fun with another solid tune for the erg(o) training mix. The Bears are roughly eight weeks from their first test of the season—a dual meet with Yale, followed by a matchup with Boston University the very next day. And, once again, Bruno has front loaded its schedule with an early season matchup against Washington—a strong test that has served them well during championship racing season in the past.

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.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Video Of The Week: 'A Day at the Office,' with the British National Team

This week's video comes to us via 2014 world gold medalist Nathaniel Reilly-O'Donnell, who put together a solid little training montage from his squad spring training trip to Avis, Portugal last year. Nifty angles and waterproof camera cases clearly came in handy, and you can add the soundtrack to your current winter training playlist (if you haven't already). Particularly useful for coaches are the sequences starting at around 1:00, giving an inside view of the boat and the hands and body moving away together, as well as a front-end drill and square-blades rowing that follows. Of course, Reilly-O'Donnell and his GB teammates ended up taking the world title in the men's eight in Amsterdam, successfully defending their 2013 title in the event, despite an up-and-down year for some of the crew (most notably Pete Reed, who struggled with what ultimately turned out to be an allergic reaction for much of the early season).

And speaking of winter training, our #RowingRelated Instagram photo contest is in full swing—follow us for updates, and get involved by using the hashtag above and tagging us in your photos. The overall winner of the contest will be the RR Facebook page cover photo for the month of February, and the finalists will be featured right here in the coming days.

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, January 15, 2015

#TBT: The Closest Rowing Race, Ever?

This week, we're throwing it back to 1989. (No, not because of Taylor Swift.) The 1989 Lucerne International Regatta (predated the World Cup) saw more than a few legends involved in the final of the men's pair with coxswain, not least of which the famed Abbagnale brothers of Italy—the most decorated pair-with combination ever—and rowing's most successful athlete, five-time Olympic champion Sir Steve Redgrave of Great Britain. While the Abbagnale brothers characteristically led through much of the body of the race, the field caught up to them in the final 100 meters, and, as the video shows, the difference between first and fifth place was just six tenths of a second, with just 0.10 seconds separating first through fourth place.

When the dust settled, the Abbagnale brothers had to tip their caps to Yugoslavia and East Germany (here listed as RDA instead of GDR because it's an Italian broadcast), while Redgrave and crew found themselves an unlucky fourth—truly a remarkable race. Below is a another video of the race, which includes the start, but is without commentary (just listen for the crowd's reaction as the crews approach the finish line).

'A game of inches,' indeed. Just in case you need some motivation for that last set of squats, or ten reps on the end of a weight circuit, or last 250m of your next 2k test. Also, you can take a closer look at the Abbagnales' approach in this technical rowing education video from the late '80s, which goes through every boat class, breaking down film of Olympians like Pertti Karppinen and Peter-Michael Kolbe.

Have an ideal candidate for #TBT for #FBF next 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.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Video Of The Week: 'HARMONIE,' by Scott Del Vecchio

Harmonie, a new short rowing documentary from Scott Del Vecchio
This week's featured video comes to us from Jacksonville alum and filmmaker Scott Del Vecchio, who has put together a beautiful short documentary on a rowing teammate (Antoine Lagouge) in France, where Del Vecchio is pursuing masters-level studies in training and physiology. The film touches on the discipline of rowing, as well as its healing qualities—the sport serves as both a taskmaster and as a much needed release, and the same sense of team and helping those around you transfers directly for Lagouge to his work as a physiotherapist. (Don't worry, if your French isn't that good, Del Vecchio has provided subtitles.) And, it's nicely timed—our French rowing brothers and sisters have been very much on our minds lately.

Thanks very much to Scott 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.


Friday, January 9, 2015

Rowing Winter Training Video, with Lithuania's Donata Vistartaite and Milda Valciukaite

Donata Vistartaite and Milda Valciukaite, by Augustas Didzgalvis (via Wikimedia Commons)
2013 world champions Donata Vistartaite and Milda Valciukaite of Lithuania are no strangers to success, and while the combination suffered a slight setback last year (finishing fourth in Amsterdam), it's clear that they're determined to get back on the podium in 2015 in one of our sport's most competitive events. The below video is the second Red Bull feature on Vistartaite (who, like American Andrew Campbell, and Austrian lightweight Paul and Bernhard Sieber, is one of their sponsored athletes), with the first coming roughly a year ago (watch it here). Vistartaite was also FISA's Athlete of the Month for May 2014.

The race that appears as a series of clips in the above is the final from the 2013 World Rowing Championships, which was one of the most exciting races of the regatta—the Lithuanians led early, but found themselves struggling to keep pace with the Kiwi duo of Fiona Bourke and Zoe Stevenson in the middle 1000m. However, in what was an epic battle to the last stroke, Vistartaite and Valciukaite edged the Kiwis by 0.04 seconds on the line to take the gold medal and the world title (inexplicably, this video doesn't appear to be in the archives on the World Rowing website). In 2014, the Lithuanians had a strong season, but it was the Kiwis who ultimately got their revenge, claiming the top of the podium in Amsterdam ahead of Poland's Magdalena Fularczyk and Natalia Madaj, and Sally Kehoe and Olympia Aldersey of Australia (the latter crew having set a new World Best Time in the event earlier in the regatta).

What will the grand final look like in Aiguebelette is anybody's guess.


Flashback Friday: Jamie Koven is Really Good at Sculling

With the 2015 World Rowing Championships set to take place in Aiguebelette, France, we thought it only proper to take a look back at the last world championship regatta held there, when Jamie Koven took the title in the men's single in an all star-laden field. How did he pull it off? Take a look at the silky smooth technique he employed and you'll get a sense for why his bow crept out in front.

There are so many reasons to like this video: Double Olympic champion (1992, 1996) André Willms' sunglasses; six-time Olympian Václav Chalupa's mustache and extra-large white tee underneath his uniform; Greg Searle uncorking yet another strong sprint to nearly take silver from Willms; Aly Ibrahim's (Egypt's most successful rowing athlete, competing at four Olympics) first 500m—a year earlier, Ibrahim had finished less than three seconds back of Rob Waddell in Atlanta, for eighth overall at the Olympic Games; and, of course, four-time Olympic medalist Iztok Čop of Slovenia competing in yet another grand final. Add to all this the French commentary and the fact that it was originally a VHS tape, and it's perfect #FBF material—not to mention a great resource for scullers out there looking to improve their approach on the water.

Have an ideal candidate for #TBT for #FBF next 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.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Video Of The Week: 'The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday,' with Boston University Men's Rowing

Training indoors with BU Men's Rowing (Screen capture)

This week's video comes to us from the Northeast, and we think you just might be able to relate—when winter training begins in earnest, "the only easy day was yesterday."

Friday, January 2, 2015

RR Interview: Virginia Alum and Rio 2016 Hopeful Meghan O'Leary

O'Leary (left) and Ellen Tomek on the podium in 2014 (Photo: USRowing/Ed Moran)
Meghan O'Leary is much more than just an outstanding rowing talent. In fact, Meghan was a two-sport varsity athlete at Virginia—and neither sport was rowing. Growing up in the South, O'Leary wasn't exposed to rowing until she arrived at UVA, where one of her college roommates introduced her to the weird hours and extensive training schedule associated with our sport. Still, it wasn't until after college that she got bit by the rowing bug—having bantered back and forth with Virginia's Kevin Sauer, who suspected that she might have a talent for rowing, O'Leary decided to Google places to row near Hartford, where she was working full time for ESPN. And the rest, as they say, is history. Here's Meghan's take on how it all went down.

Thanks very much to Meghan for doing the interview! You can stay up to date on Meghan's progress via her website, listed in our 'News and Blogs' section.