Showing posts from 2011

Winter Training: Frandsen and Crosby on Cycling as Cross-Training

As we've discussed here on RR before, the best form of 'cross-training' for rowing is rowing on the ergometer. However, there are other activities that can be beneficial when used the right way, and to the right extent–cycling prime among them. Now is the time when most North American and European rowers are in the depths of winter training, with spring racing season seemingly distant on the horizon, and the hum of the ergs in the boat bay serving as a substitute for the sound of 'water boiling aft.' Beijing silver medalist of Rowing Canada Aviron, Scott Frandsen , knows very well the demands that rowing places on athletes at the elite level. In a recent blog post , Frandsen discusses the benefits of breaking free for a while, while continuing to develop the aerobic base by means of the bicycle (video of the incredible landscape included below). Frandsen also touches upon the need for rowers to structure their training plans according to the goals of the overa

Video of the Week: Eric Murray's 60 Minute Test

Eric Murray of Rowing New Zealand called his shot recently, aiming to break the world record for 60 minutes. And he did just that, posting what was (of course) a very impressive distance (18,728 meters). While this alone is certainly outstanding, perhaps even more impressive is the heart rate data from the test, which shows Murray at 190+ for all but 10 minutes of the hour-long row, maxing out at 201. Following the test, he doesn't flop on the ground , but instead stays seated and maintains a grip on the handle, before moving the erg aside and receiving his trophy for a world-record performance–that being a mop. Want to suggest the next ' Video of the Week ?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, or send us your suggestion via Twitter ( ). -RR

Winter Training, Olympic Trialling – Australian Squad Too Aggressive?

One of the most famous names in Australian rowing, Drew Ginn, has just completed the first stage of trialling for the London Olympic Games, and, despite doing quite well, he's questioning the system. The trials took place over the course of four days, and saw the rowers racing twice each day–the first day included both a 5k time trial and a 2000 meter race. Given the distance yet to go before London, Ginn expressed concern in a recent interview with regarding the preparation of the athletes on the squad at this point in the training cycle. According to Ginn, this has been the most difficult series of trials since those leading up to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta (when Ginn was training as a member of the 'Oarsome Foursome'). Even then, they were racing once per day, rather than twice. It's one thing when someone new to the squad is having trouble making the adjustment to the senior level. It's an entirely different situation when a proven, peren

VOTWs: Sculling Technique with Zac Purchase

This weeks' VOTWs (yes, technically 'VsOTW,' but does anyone really say 'RsBI' in baseball?) come to us courtesy of Zac Purchase , and set the tone for winter training as we look to expand our capillary development at low stroke rates, building a base for the power to come as the weather warms up once again in the spring. The videos exhibit not only the precision with which Purchase (former holder of the world's best time in the LM1x, set in 2006 at Eton-Dorney–Jeremie Azou of France now holds the record from the 2011 U23 world championships of 6:46.93) executes the technique, but also the discipline that it takes to repeat each movement again and again, ingraining the proper muscle memory while expanding his aerobic base. While there is much to learn from watching Purchase in the above videos, Zac was not in action at GB Rowing Trials over the weekend in Boston, Lincolnshire. There were, however, some very interesting results at the 5k time trial event. I

Film for the Weekend: Bled 2011, Thanks to Mike Nicholson

Having been fortunate enough to attend the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia, I can say that Mike Nicholson  has done quite well here, capturing the sights and sounds around the race course, as well as catching up with a number of the top athletes on the outstanding Australian national team. Bled is, without question, one of the most picturesque rowing venues in the world, and the weather cooperated beautifully this year, making for good racing (and reporting) conditions. In case you missed it, or would like to relive it all once again, check out the coverage of the 2011 World Rowing Championships from the course on ( opening ceremonies , and days one , two , three , four , five , six , seven and eight are a click away), with links to over 40 video interviews with athletes and coaches. After an extremely successful 2011 campaign, Team GB will be in action over the weekend , with national trials taking place in Boston, UK (the original version).  Pe

The Importance of Recognizing Hard Work, Across All Sports

Obvious, right? As we get into the swing of winter training, we begin the the most grueling period of preparation as we aim to peak in late in the spring, or early summer. Lots of mileage must be logged in order to build the aerobic foundation that will allow us go as fast as possible during the racing season. In the midst of all this, it is acceptable, and even good, to appreciate the difficulty of the work that you are doing and to understand the commitment and drive it takes to succeed as an athlete. But don't be Captain Obvious. Everyone knows it's hard . We don't have to constantly talk about how hard it is. This includes talking to teammates as well as your inner monologue. The more negative we become regarding what is simply the required level of training to succeed in our sport, the more it is going to make that training difficult to accomplish. I believe there can be a significant benefit to treating the 'daily training grind' as no big deal—just

Trial VIIIs on the Tideway: Cloak v. Dagger, and Hell v. High Water

Clouds over the Tideway (Photo: B. Kitch) The Trial VIIIs for the 2012 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race took to the waters on the Thames earlier today, despite very difficult conditions. The races, which are intra-squad and typically feature pithy names (this year was no exception), help to determine lineups, and give the athletes their only chance at the full 4.5 mile Boat Race course on the Tideway, from Putney to Chiswick, before the main event. This year, the CUBC eights ('Cloak' and 'Dagger') took off first, at 1:15pm. The race featured a clash and several lead changes, with Cloak leading by more than a length at one point, but Dagger, stroked former Wisconsin Badger Stephen Dudek , making a decisive move near Barnes Bridge to secure the victory. CUBC president David Nelson (a veteran of the Australian junior and U23 national teams, as well as last year's Boat Race), who sat at seven in the Dagger crew, will undoubtedly be pleased with the efforts of his boat

VOTW: Support the U.S. National Team Women as They Pursue Glory in London

It goes beyond 'The List.' Beijing Olympian and 2011 U.S. national team member Megan Kalmoe is at it again, this time publishing a video promoting the 2012 'Power and Grace' Calendar. This is the second year of the project, which is a fundraiser for the U.S. women's team, with the proceeds going to help the athletes (who are committed to full-time training in what is, in the U.S., an amateur sport) in any number of ways–Kalmoe herself lists a few. The video includes footage from both training and racing, with clips of from Bled as well as the weight room in Princeton. For more information and to order a copy of the 2012 calendar, follow the link below: And for more videos featuring the U.S. women's national team (not to mention the 2011 edition of 'The List'), check out Megan's YouTube channel . Also, see Bryan's interview with Kalmoe about 'The List,' Movember and inter

The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race – Part 2 of 6

The second installment of the documentary on the Oxford crew as it prepares for the Boat Race in April has been released, covering the rigors of the student experience at England's oldest university as well as the intensity of a one-year program. Roel Haen  of Skadi ARSRV, who rowed on the Dutch national team from 2004 (when he competed at the U23 level) through 2007, walks us through a typical day of training, while OUBC head coach Sean Bowden discusses the body's adaptations to the training and some of the overuse injuries that can occur as a result of such a repetitive sport, as well as the sacrifices that are made to produce the best possible outcome on the water. The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race is on for 7 April, 2012 at 2:15pm GMT. For more information on the crews and the upcoming race, check out the official website of the Boat Race . -RR

Moving Rowing Forward: Drew Ginn Leading the Way Again

Sculling silhouette (Photo by Kosala Bandara/Flickr ) In our sport, there is a pervasive feeling that some magic is at work when we watch fast crews perform. While there is certainly splendor in watching great athletes achieve to their potential, both on their own and as part of a unit, the secret is that there are no secrets. There is only work. Drew Ginn –a three-time Olympic gold medalist, and bronze medalist in Bled earlier this year–knows that as well as anyone. Perhaps that's the reason he's so willing to share. After all, as Kevin Light says in a recent interview about his new film on Mike Spracklen for, "I don't think showing people from other countries that we trained hard to achieve what we did will make it any easier to do. In some cases it may make it even harder to do." Ginn has been hard at work training lately, and I can say this definitively given his most recent blog posts. On Monday, Ginn posted an article to his blog

VOTW: World Cup Racing Set for Sydney, Australia in 2013 and 2014

The 2013 and 2014 summer racing seasons will feature action in the Southern Hemisphere, on the international regatta course in Sydney. As the video explains, a invitation will be extended to all medalists at the London Games for a subsidized trip to the first World Cup of 2013, set to take place in March as part of an expanded 'Sydney International Regatta Festival.' In addition to a great deal of footage from the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, there's also an appearance from Drew Ginn , as well as a number of shots of the venue in Sydney. With Australia coming off its most successful World Championships to date, the Aussie team will look to continue to build momentum through London, bringing elite, international competition to Australia for the first time since the Sydney Olympics. For more information see the official website of the event at . Coverage of the USRowing Annual Convention, which featured presentations by Mike Teti , Tim McLa

On the Road Again: The 2011 USRowing Annual Convention

Airport Sunrise (Photo: B. Kitch) Rowing News  is on the move once again, this time attending the 2011 USRowing National Convention in Hartford, CT. There are a number of extremely influential coaches presenting throughout the weekend event, including Mike Teti, Tim McLaren, Kevin Sauer, Tom Bohrer, Liz Trond, Lori Dauphiny, and Harry Parker, among others. Sara-Mai Conway of Flywheel Fitness and the Austin Rowing Club will also be in attendance, giving a presentation on the business of rowing . See here for a complete schedule, and look for updates from the convention via @rowingrelated and @RowingNews on Twitter, with further updates to to come. -RR

Coaches' Corner: Learning the Difference between Pain and Injury

In all sports, and especially in endurance sports, it is important for coaches and athletes alike to be able to differentiate, as much as possible, between pain and injury. The higher the level of training and the heavier the training load, the more difficult it becomes to walk this fine line. In rowing, as in other endurance sports, success is largely determined by mental and physical toughness, in both training and racing. No matter how healthy or injury-free you may be as an athlete, achieving to your maximum capability on race day comes down to the ability to push through pain and discomfort. Rowing, like any racing sport, requires pushing up against one’s physical and mental limits (for a related article from The New York Times , click  here ). However, in addition pushing through manageable barriers, there are often instances in which the athlete, doctor/trainer, and coach must determine whether it is 'normal' pain or an actual injury that could detract from training an

VOTW: 2012 Olympic Hopefuls Training at California Rowing Club

This week's VOTW comes to us from CRC head coach Bernhard Stomporowski , and features 16 athletes in contention for eight seats in London, at the outset of training camp (the number of athletes will likely grow next month). In addition to shots of the rowing (controlled rate pieces, roughly 26 s/m), there is also footage of the facilities and the available stretch of water, which we featured on when Stomporowski first arrived in Oakland. While the group is not yet fully assembled, there is already a great deal of talent on hand (including David Banks, Josh Inman, Ty Otto, Mike Gennaro, Nareg Guregian, Steve Kasprzyk, Tom Peszek, Joe Spencer, and the Winklevoss twins, among others)–Mike Teti will have plenty of horsepower from which to mould an eight, and we are very excited to see what he can do in 2012. Want to suggest the next 'Video of the Week?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, or send us your suggestion via Twitter ( twitter.

The 2012 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race: The Challenge Has Been Accepted

According to the official Twitter feed of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, the Challenge has been accepted as of 2pm PST today, and the 2012 edition of the regatta has been scheduled for 7 April at 14:45. The above video takes a look inside the Autumn training 'programme' at Oxford, with some insights into the nature of the competition from Oxford Blue and GB international Andrew Triggs-Hodge, OUBC head coach Sean Bowden, as well as 2012 OUBC President Karl Hudspith. This piece is the first in a series of six that will be produced by Oxford University. For more on the Xchanging Boat Race , please visit the official website of the event. And stay tuned for more updates from the Tideway as we draw closer to the main event! -RR

Movember Updates: British and Canadians Going Stache for Stache

Megan Kalmoe's rating system is back in action, with the top 'tash talent' from the GB squad under scrutiny on her blog as the final days of Movember approach (see here for Kalmoe's latest post )–see the 'Rowing Chat' Twitter widget on the right side of the page for more updates. Not to be outdone, the Canadian men's team is also testing the limits of social awareness with some outstanding mustaches of its own, as evidenced by Kevin Light's classic photo of Rob Gibson and Will Crothers . While it's all in good fun, there is still time to support the cause that has given rise to the competition, and there are a number of athletes with fundraising pages in the fight against cancer–for a list of those mustachioed GB rowers seeking donations for cancer research, please see the official website of British Rowing . So far, we're giving the edge on 'Movember Photo of the Year' to Crothers and Gibson–if you think you've got what it takes, t

Video of the Week: The Men's Eight Final in Barcelona

This week's VOTW comes from the 1992 Olympic Games, which are on our minds as we draw ever closer to London 2012, as it was in Barcelona that Great Britain's Greg Searle won his first Olympic medal–a gold in one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the sport (for our VOTW feature on that race, click here ). The men's eight in '92 was extremely aggressive, with stroke ratings sticking to 38 and above from the leading crews, and markedly different technique from what we see from the majority of international crews today. The race also features one of the smallest margins between gold and bronze of any Olympic final–as the saying goes, it's a 'game of inches.' Want to suggest the next 'Video of the Week?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, or send us your suggestion via Twitter ( ). -RR

RR Interview: Beijing Gold Medalist and Reigning World Champion Mark Hunter of Team GB

Hunter (left) and Purchase after the A final in Bled (Photo: B. Kitch) Mark Hunter is a racer, through and through. From his earliest days in the sport, he exhibited the right combination of talent and determination that it takes to succeed, and in September of this year he and fellow GB lightweight Zac Purchase successfully defended their world championship title (for a video interview with Hunter and Purchase from Bled following the race, click here ). Next year in Eton, Mark and Zac will look to defend their Olympic crown on home water–something that means a great deal both of them as they embark on the path to London 2012. Here, Mark shares a little about his past, present, and hopes for the future with RR. RR: You've been involved in the sport of rowing for quite some time now, and are currently among those GB oarsmen favo(u)red to win a second gold medal in 2012, in your home town (well, I guess technically closer to Slough, but near your hometown, anyway). How did your

Coaches' Corner: Avoiding Burnout

Tideway from Putney Bridge (Photo: © B. Kitch) Frankly, I think avoiding burnout in rowing is pretty simple–don't expect to get burnt-out and you might find that you'll do just fine. Like lots of things in life, the more people talk about a concept or phenomenon, the more likely it is that it will come to fruition. I think 'burnout' is a prime example of the power of suggestion at work. Look at some of the all-time greats in rowing, like Steve Redgrave , Elisabeta Lipa and Drew Ginn . Ginn, for example, has gone through about as much as anyone can go through in terms of adversity, battling serious, career-threatening injuries again and again, and yet he continues to not only row at a high level but also produce podium results (as has his Beijing pair partner, Duncan Free ). We can also look to other sports, such as running, which is much more intense in terms of the toll it takes on the body over the long-term (given the impact to the lower limbs). One of the worl

VOTW: 2011 Head of the River Fours, Courtesy of Upper Thames Rowing Club

This week's VOTW comes to us from the Tideway in London, where the 57th Head of the River Fours was held just over a week ago. The video takes us past the Harrods Furniture Depository on the way up to the start, into the starting queue upriver of Chiswick Bridge, and down the course through Barnes and Hammersmith, all from inside the boat–nice bit of editing as well. For complete results from the Fuller's Head of the River Fours, see the official website of the regatta at , as well as Bryan's coverage of the event on , and check out stelph82's YouTube Channel for more 'first-person' videos from the Thames, including the HOR4s race in full (in two parts), and the Henley Head. Want to suggest the next 'Video of the Week?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, or send us your suggestion via Twitter ( ). -RR

2011 Fall Speed Orders, and Issues with 2012 Selection

The 2011 Fall Speed Orders are underway, with rumors of 6k times flying around on the Rowing Illustrated boards already (according to these rumors, Warren Anderson and Glenn Ochal posted the top two times, both of them in the 18:30s). (For some footage, courtesy of CRC Head Coach Bernhard Stomprowski, see above.) There are a number of issues to discuss regarding speed orders, but perhaps nothing so grave as the flaws inherent in the selection procedures approved for the men's eight and men's four camps in 2012. While it is obviously an attempt to make the best of a complex situation, it fails in terms of generating clear guidelines for the country's best athletes, for reasons to be discussed below. The interesting items at the speed order in Chula Vista include Glenn Ochal and Jamie Koven making the switch from sculling (which they have been doing throughout this quadrennium) to sweep, choosing to race in pair combinations (Ochal is paired with Josh Inman, and Koven wit

Coaches' Corner: Is it best to be even-keeled?

Sunrise at California Rowing Club (Photo: B. Kitch) It's 'common wisdom' among top coaches in major professional and collegiate sports (often echoed by athletes) that it is best to avoid letting the highs get too high and the lows get too low in reference to the emotions that accompany successes and failures. While there can certainly be value in not always succumbing to one's emotions, and reacting impulsively and irrationally in the wake of what appears to be an especially good or poor performance, I disagree with the oft stated cliché and feel that coaches and athletes need to both celebrate the successes and take time wallow in the sorrow and disappointment of the failures. Rowing, as with all sports, is a competitive endeavor. The very word 'athlete' comes from the Greek verb athlein  (to compete for a prize), derived from athlos  (contest) and athlon  (prize). Athletes, then, are those who compete for a trophy. It takes a lot of effort, talent, and

VOTW: NARF Interview with Brian de Regt, John Graves as 'Movember' Begins

This week's VOTW comes from the 2011 Newport Autumn Rowing Festival, which featured what was perhaps the largest field in the regatta's history, racing through stormy conditions (but, let's face it, how bad can it really be in Newport Beach?) on Sunday. Among the racers were several members of the Graves family, who teamed up to form an extremely competitive 'Little Knights' crew that took second overall in the men's open eight. John Graves (who represented the U.S. in the LM1x in Munich and Hamburg at the World Cups earlier this year) and Brian de Regt (who stroked the U.S. LM2x in Bled) joined Pete and Tom Graves (U.S. M2x at Worlds this year) in the lineup, and the crew was able to take second place behind California, ahead of Stanford's entries in the event. Not only this, but the Graves/de Regt duo are sporting some of the most 'Movember-appropriate' facial hair around, adding momentum to the movement that is taking off at home and overseas

Updates to RR: Coaching Page Added, Coverage to Come from Newport

This Fall has been quite a busy one at RR, with a great deal of new content on the way (currently in the editorial stages), more traveling to do (this weekend we are headed down to Newport, CA to cover the Newport Autumn Rowing Festival for Rowing News ), and a new page added to the RR masthead–the Coaches' Corner page . Your requests have been answered and we've made it easier to find some of the more useful articles for coaching and training on RR by giving them a standalone page, to which we'll add any subsequent articles of a similar nature. While the Fours Head on the Tideway will feature of host of GB international talent, NARF looks to be a 'mini hub' of international rowing in itself, with much of USRowing's men's squad now located in Southern California, and several 2011 U.S. national team members in the mix this weekend, including Peter and Tom Graves (who represented the U.S. in Bled in the M2x, and who just won their third straight title in the

Coaches' Corner: Setting the Standard, and Building Mental Toughness

Mentally tough, to be precise (Photo: © Kate Mead) Mental toughness is a necessary trait of all great athletes. It is a trait that, unlike many other important characteristics, is not based on genetics or natural ability. Anyone can be tough, be disciplined, and possess great work ethic if he/she makes the decision to do so. Mental toughness, resilience, tenacity–all are important in terms of pushing one's body through physical pain in training and racing. It is also of the greatest importance to have the resilience and fortitude to be disciplined with respect to the technical aspects of the sport, in order to focus on all the details, with the goal of refining one's boat moving ability. As a coach, the key to ensuring that the athletes develop this mental state of focus and attention to detail is having high expectations–do not accept anything less than the necessary standard. Obviously, it is important to make sure the standard is achievable and realistic–novice rower

Tuesday Edition VOTW: California v. Nereus, Henley 2011, and Movember Begins

This week's (slightly delayed) VOTW comes to us from the 2011 Henley Royal Regatta, and features the undefeated Cal frosh eight taking on Nereus in the Temple Challenge Cup final on Sunday, 3rd July. The video is shot from the official's launch, and gives the viewer both a sense of just how good the Bears were last season, as well as a virtual tour of the HRR course, form start to finish. For more content about Henley 2011, check out the 'On The Water' series –personal take on the regatta and the racing–that we put together with Matt Miller of Virginia men's rowing (The UVa men raced to Saturday in the Temple, when they were defeated by Nereus). Also, today marks the first day of Movember, giving men everywhere an excuse to grow facial hair in order to raise awareness for prostate cancer research. See below for some inspiration: CHALLENGE TO ROWERS: SUBMIT YOUR OWN Movember video to RR! Here at RR, we are awaiting attempts from rowers to come up with qualit

Update from the Road: Upcoming Coverage from Philly and Princeton This Weekend

I've not yet figured out a way to write while driving, but I'm working on it. In the meantime, the above is a video from the trip down to Philadelphia from Boston, moving on from coverage of the Head Of The Charles to the Schuylkill and the Princeton Chase this weekend. The weather men are predicting snow storms, but (fortunately) we're well equipped with waterproof gear and will be bringing you more coverage of the racing on throughout the weekend–and stay up to date with @RowingNews and @rowingrelated on Twitter for updates on the action as it happens out here on Boathouse Row. More to come as the racing kicks off Saturday morning in Philadelphia. -RR

Coaches' Corner: How to set your athletes up for success, mentally and physically

Drysdale leads through the enclosures (Photo: B. Kitch) Whether you are coaching athletes or you are an athlete yourself, it is always important to set yourself up for success. What this means is not putting yourself in a position where your mind or body will fail by trying to do too much, too soon, or biting off more than you can chew, from a training and racing perspective. Examples of this include trying to handle a larger workload than is practical in terms of training volume, expecting to beat competitors that are several levels of skill and ability above you and trying to make too big of a jump in performance (like a third year rower trying to go from a 6:30 2k to 6:00 in one year). It is, unfortunately, common for athletes, and even coaches, to set overly ambitious goals and to attack them with palpable vigor only to end up too tired, injured, beat up or demoralized having only scratched the surface of their proposed training plan. Why does this happen? It happens because