Showing posts from November, 2010

Coaches' Corner: Finish and Release

The release (where the outside hand taps the handle down causing the blade to exit the water on the square) is the most important position to master first because it is the key to initiating a good recovery and, therefore, a good catch.  Cal women's rowing training in Seattle (Photo: B. Kitch for Rowing News ) It is important that posture is maintained as the handle is drawn through the finish (if the body slumps down into the boat, the rower cannot possibly maintain pressure on the handle as the support structure for the work of the arms lies in the static strength of the core), so the first step is to make sure that your athletes are sitting up tall, which requires development of the core musculature. The next item to focus on is the position of the hands.  The handle should be drawn to the top of the rib cage, at which point the rower presses downwards with the outside hand, making a vertical turn (a 90 degree angle change in the trajectory of the handle), to a poi

Marin Junior Men Set Gold Standard This Fall

The Marin Juniors have shown a level of dominance this Fall that has the rest of the junior rowing world looking for an answer. The Marin RA boys, led by Graham Willoughby, began their Fall campaign with perhaps the biggest statement possible on the grandest stage available -- a first place finish at the Head of the Charles from a 69th place starting position . In so doing, they trumped Everett's push to surpass Eton College, the 3rd and 1st place starters respectively. Everett can be very pleased that they too triumphed over what has been a powerhouse British school for several years now, but clearly they had much less to deal with in front of them than did Marin, whose coxswain steered a fantastic course and allowed his rowers to ignore the distractions that go along with passing, turning and adjusting speed on the Charles. In speaking with Willoughby, he described it as an almost automated series of decisive moves that his veteran coxswain was able to make -- exactly what you ne

Gladstone Will Create Another Dominant Program at Yale

Lined up at the start on the Cooper River (Photo: H. Kitch) Steve Gladstone made a big move earlier this year, leaving his position at the California Rowing Club to take on the role of head coach at Yale . This left CRC without a head coach, as assistant Joel Scrogin accompanied Gladstone, and led to widespread speculation as to the reasons behind the move. The rivalry between Harvard's Harry Parker and Gladstone, perhaps one of the most intense and important in U.S. collegiate rowing's history, is widely considered to be the main reason for the change of venue. Yale has been far behind the curve for quite a while, but I believe their new chief is going to turn all that on its head. Each program that Gladstone has touched has turned to gold, and, unlike Parker, who has been at Harvard his entire coaching career (though he has coached crews representing the U.S. at the world championships and the Olympics, in addition to his duties at Harvard), Gladstone has moved aro

Which US Men's Entries Earned Another Round in Karapiro?

The US men's squad came home from Karapiro without a single medal, of any color, to show for its efforts this year. However, there were some crews who showed that they have potential, this being their first chance at the World Championships. Which entries earned another trip around the international circuit? In my view, the crew that most deserves some time to stay together and develop is the M4- . This is a group that got together only weeks before Worlds, and, despite having no international experience as a unit, managed to place a very respectable 5th in what is one of the most hotly contested Olympic events on the men's side. Also, looking at the way the final played out, it seems that there were some serious issues with fairness and wind interference, so we may not have seen all that this group was capable of this time. I know that the event was slightly weaker than it might have been, had the GB squad not taken Reed and Triggs-Hodge out of the 4- and put them

Who's Ahead as Winter Training Begins?

Fall racing is always unpredictable, and not necessarily indicative of Spring speed. However, there are several collegiate programs who made quite a loud statement in the early going this year. Let's take a look given the results from the main event of the Fall -- the Head of the Charles. The most dominant program on the men's side this Fall was Harvard . The program at Harvard had two boats in the top ten in the the Lightweight VIII, the Championship VIII, the Club VIII, and the Championship IV. That is truly an impressive showing, and while they couldn't catch the blazing fast Tigers in the Lightweight VIII (who blew away the old course record by 12 seconds, albeit in the best conditions I've ever seen at the Charles), they revealed amazing depth in that event, with two VIIIs finishing 3rd and 4th overall, both in under 14:31. The Harvard Champ VIII managed to beat Cal -- last year's IRA Champion -- and take 2nd place overall, behind what will surely be a contend

US Men's Rowing Performance in Karapiro: Rough Waters

The US men's squad emerges from the competition in Karapiro with very little to show for its efforts this year, though this does not do justice to the improvements that have been made over the past twelve months. The cold, hard fact is, this year's team did not take a single medal of any color home from Karapiro, failing one of the major criteria laid out as a basis for saying McLaren's program is working as we head toward London. Even in events that were not well subscribed (the 2+ and the LWT VIII), the US couldn't manage a podium finish, and of the boats that made A Finals (including final-only events, this amounted to four) the best finish by a US crew was 5th place. Now, as far as improvements go, there are a couple of things to talk about, most notably the 4-, which didn't even make the B final last year, and which finished in 5th place overall during this year's campaign. A great deal of work has gone into this boat, and the results show that a tremendous

US Men Make A Finals in Two Olympic Events

The Men's VIII will join the list of US men's crews in the A Finals this year, winning their rep just ahead of NZ, and sending the Canadians to the B Final. So far the A Finals tally is two, not counting the boats in events with six entries or less (the Men's 2+, the LWT 4x and the LWT VIII). The 2-, 2x, LWT 4-, LWT 2x, LWT 2-, and the 1x have all landed themselves in the B Final, leaving the US men with four shots at the medals, and two chances at Olympic-class medals so far. This could grow to six chances at the podium, should Anderson and Ochal make the A Final in the 2x (another Olympic event), and should Urevick-Ackelsberg make the A Final in the LWT 1x (though in field with Jonathan Koch, Peter Chambers and Duncan Grant, medals will be tough to come by). The 2010 regatta is certainly an improvement from last year, when the US men were completely shut out of the A Finals in Olympic events, and finished second-to-last in the VIII -- an event in which they took the br

US Men's 4- Wins Rep to Earn Place in A Final

The performance of the day for the US men's team was turned in by the 4-, led by Silas Stafford of Stanford. The crew placed themselves firmly in medal contention with a solid performance, holding off a late sprint from the Italian crew immediately to starboard. It's a great sign moving forward and exactly the type of performance needed to set the tone as we draw closer to London. Stafford, Stitt, Rummel and Lanzone also make up the first of the US men's Olympic-class boats to make the the A Final this year -- something that is extremely important for Tim McLaren as he tries to harness the potential of the US club system in preparation for 2012 (as I've discussed ). Tomorrow will feature a very tough race for the Men's LWT 4-, in a heat with Germany, Great Britain, Italy, and France -- all perennial powerhouses in the event. If the US can make it through to the A Final from this semi, they too will have placed themselves in medal contention, having raced some of t

Strong Start for US Men in Karapiro

The US men's team has opened up very well across the board thus far in Karapiro, with the LM4- making a big statement in their heat, finishing second and going straight to the A/B semi. The LM 2- finished third in their heat (behind quality entries from NZ and France), and will be heading to the reps, as will the M4-, stroked by Silas Stafford, who also opened up very well, finishing 2nd behind an excellent NZ crew. In the 2-, Monaghan and McEachern took 3rd, placing themselves in semifinal A/B in one of the toughest events at the regatta, and Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg did just enough to take the 3rd qualifying position in the LM1x as well, landing himself in the A/B semi. The 2x combination of Anderson and Ochal competed very well in their opener, taking 2nd behind another quality entry from Great Britain. They'll now set their sights on the A/B semi along with many of their teammates. The toughest result for the US to this point has come in the M1x, with Ken Jurkowski coming acr