Showing posts from October, 2010

Honeymoon Over for Tim McLaren -- Results Please

As the US men take to the water in Karapiro, the looming questions about current Head Coach Tim McLaren are: can he have the same success in the US 'system' (really a euphemism for a random selection of clubs and athletes all over the country who come together, usually at the last minute, and are thrown into lineups largely based on erg scores) that he had in the much more structured Australian one? Can he impose that same kind of structure on the truly amateur sport in the US? How will the US Team fair in the second year of his coaching regime? What are acceptable results? Last year's performance at the World Championships did not make a sterling impression on his adopted home, as none of the camp boats medaled -- in fact, the only boats that took home any hardware at all were the victorious Coxed Pair (Henrik Rummel and Troy Kepper), and the second-place Lightweight VIII. Neither is an Olympic event, and the Lightweight VIII had only 9 entries (though, to be fair, it'

"I Row Crew" — Rowing in 'The Social Network'

Like many of the rowing faithful, I've been keeping up with the saga penned by Dan Boyne about the filming of the rowing scenes in David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin's The Social Network , and I must say I had high hopes going into the film. The first problem I encountered: the phrase, "I row crew." It was uttered so many times before anyone "rowed crew" on the water that I had trouble buying any of it later. It's understandable that the character of Mark Zuckerberg makes that mistake, since he has no idea about the sport. But when the Winklevoss twins themselves utter the phrase several times, one begins to wonder where Boyne was when these lines were not being chopped or changed. Seriously, who says that? As far as the actual rowing goes, the first scene, which has the twins out training in a pair along with the rest of the Harvard squad, is not all bad — it just ends that way. The line, "Those guys are freakin' fast" is certainly every b

Head of the Charles Recap

The 46th running of the Head of the Charles is now over and done, and it's time to take another look at some of the predictions I made prior to the race. First -- let's look at the Men's Championship 1x: Marcel Hacker, as I expected, didn't really commit to this piece and ended up just getting pipped out of first place by Michael Sivigny . The rehabilitation from injury has Hacker slightly lighter than usual, and he was bothered more by the wind, especially coming through Eliot Bridge, than he might have been if he were racing at full strength. A very strong showing, as I predicted, from Mike Perry of the Dolphin Club, who I know has been training quite a bit for this race. Jamie Koven, my predicted winner, finished 6th. In the Championship 2x, not only did my predicted winner, the Graves brothers , repeat their feat of last year, they did it in dominant fashion, destroying the event this year by 45 seconds (yes, it was 45 seconds back to second place). I'm not sur

Brooks Brothers HOCR Ad: Um, Rowing Consultant Needed?

The sport of rowing is certainly on the 'preppy' side, and God love Brooks Brothers for sponsoring a rowing event -- it's also a sport that could be described, in financial terms, as a 'money hole.' But if you are going to run a rowing-centered ad campaign at perhaps the most well-attended rowing event in the world, at least take the time to talk to someone who knows something about the sport, so that your poster doesn't come out looking like this. It's certainly understandable that the models were only allowed to use a 15 year old Filippi (look at the wings), which is probably soldered to the dock to prevent the adolescent with the 'steely gaze' from falling in and becoming hopelessly entangled in the massive vest he has chosen for his morning outing. Not only that, but it appears that he is wearing jeans, all of which combine to further confirm the misconceptions of the general public regarding the sport already so ingrained by movies like The Skul

Head of the Charles Picks

It's just over a week until the Head of the Charles, and looking through the entries, there are very many events that are wide open this year with Worlds being held down in Karapiro. That said, there are a few events where the front-runners seem clear. Let's take a look. In the Champ Single , the only appearance from the international scene (this year, anyway) is Marcel Hacker, who won't be racing at Worlds due to his recovery period from an injury. Though typically that might put him at the top of the heap, I don't know what kind of form he is in coming back from injury (broken rib), and he can be very unpredictable even when healthy. For these reasons, Jamie Koven is my pick to win the Champ 1x. Hacker is more than capable of winning, depending on the day and his condition, so I would certainly expect him to be in the top 10, along with Mike Perry (Dolphin Club, San Francisco), Michael Sivigny, Geoffrey Hoffman, Jens Robatzek, and possibly Donny Simkin. I'm not f

'Video of the Week' Page

Each week, I'll be adding a 'Video of the Week' to the main page, and, depending on its nature, give a technical analysis of the rowing, or explain what it is that motivates me about the video. This week, the VOTW is another race from the 2006 World Championships at Eton -- perhaps it's a combination of missing the UK and anticipating the 2012 Olympics (which are to take place on that course) that has me referencing this particular regatta so much. The race here is the Men's 4-, and the effort is impressive from the Americans, who have been struggling to find a combination outside the VIII for some time. The crew to watch, however, is the British four, who would go on to win the Beijing Olympics, and who make the most of their power by being extremely efficient with their use of energy.

Oklahoma City to Replace CRC and Chula Vista as Secondary National Team Training Center?

Just before the term began this Fall, Steve Gladstone and Joel Scrogin, the two coaches-in-residence at California Rowing Club in the wake of Tim McLaren's departure, took off for Yale. Why would Gladstone take the Yale job? That's the subject for an entirely separate debate. But where does all this leave CRC? Only two years ago, CRC was an elite sculling training center, much like Pocock has become in the Pacific Northwest, and under the guidance of Tim McLaren, athletes wanting to develop their talents in the post-collegiate rowing atmosphere of California (typically a wasteland when compared to the East Coast) finally had an opportunity to do more than just bash out 1,000 meter pieces in Masters VIIIs. The program was working very well, and produced an Olympic Men's 2x much earlier than originally planned, made up of former Cal oarsman Elliot Hovey and his counterpart Wes Piermarini. Then, in the wake of the Beijing Olympics, Mike Teti decided to take on a new role, as

GB Lightweight Men's Double

This video, posted in the lead up to the British victory in the Lightweight Men's 2x in Beijing, is the best rowing training video online. The two scullers involved, Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase, exhibit the consummate British rowing style, with the excellent posture at the back end and a quiet release, while not disturbing the run of the boat as they take the catch. On top of the technical grace demonstrated in the video, there is also a latent intensity, which grows with the music and seems ready to burst forth as they sprint. Neither one of them were strangers to success in their own right before the pairing was put together, most notably Purchase, who set the Lightweight Men's World Record in the 1x at Dorney Lake in 2006 at the World Championships. The hope again in British rowing is that these two will achieve the same level of success on home waters in 2012, and from the reports in UK newspapers it sounds like they are on their way. Below is a video of Zac Purchase

Day One: Statement of Purpose

I've been involved in the sport of rowing for about a decade at this point, and my interest continues to broaden as I get older—there is so much to explore, and so much to know about the physiological, psychological and technological aspects of rowing a boat, and seemingly so little time to acquire that knowledge. Four years of college rowing won't do it. When I finished my final erg test as a senior and put the handle down, I thought I had finished a long journey. Now, as I move further and further away from the intercollegiate experience, I feel more and more like I am still at the outset of a much longer Odyssey. The goal of this blog is to develop yet another side of that interest in, or rather that fascination with, the sport. As Steve Gladstone famously says in All for One , "There has to be a passion; not a mild interest, but a passion." Perhaps that's the best explanation for the 95-99 year old category of racers at Crash-Bs. It's a sport that takes