Showing posts from March, 2011

San Diego Crew Classic 2011 Preview: RR Picks and Predictions

Crew Classic is here! Spring season officially begins in San Diego, and the weather predictions look just right for another year of great racing in warmer climes. Here are our picks for the premier events in San Diego this weekend, on both the men's and women's sides: Women's Events: NCAA Teams The Jessop-Whittier Cup for the Women's Varsity 8 is going to be, by far, the deepest event at this year's Crew Classic. We are picking Cal to win it all after looking very sharp in their opening season victories this past weekend at Redwood Shores . Not only are they very talented and well coached, but they are rowing this season in memory of Jill Costello and had an ESPN film crew following them last weekend to capture Jill's story. Look for their Varsity 8+ shell, 'Beat Lung Cancer' to cross the line first on Sunday. Stanford will also look to be in the hunt. Although they are loaded with talent in their Varsity 8+, Lindsay Meyer (2008 Olympian) sat ou

The 'Other' Boat Races -- Oxford and Cambridge Square off at Henley

After Oxford upset favo(u)rites Cambridge in the Boat Race on Saturday afternoon, the stage was set for the Henley Boat Races, which featured match-ups between the Cambridge and Oxford women, lightweight women, and lightweight men, and took place on Sunday, March 27th. These races are rowed at Henley-on-Thames, and go with the stream ('from the Royal Regatta finish to the mid-point on the Temple Island' -- the opposite direction to Henley Royal Regatta). The course is just over 2,000m in length, rather than the 4 miles 374 yards of the Tideway course (from Putney to Chiswick in London) on which the Cambridge and Oxford heavyweight men's squads currently race. The Henley Boat Races began in 1975, as a contest between men's lightweight crews from Oxford and Cambridge. The women's race was added in 1977, followed shortly thereafter by the women's reserve race. In parallel fashion to Goldie v. Isis on the men's side, the women's reserve crews are called

RR Interviews: Kevin Sauer of UVA, and Dave O'Neill of California

During the 2011 Pac-10 Women's Challenge last weekend at Redwood Shores, we were lucky enough to catch up with two of the nation's top coaches. First (above), Kevin Sauer, Head Coach of the CRCA #1 ranked UVA Women's squad, lets us know a little bit about how UVA builds its schedule, as well as how he felt about the weekend's performances across the team. Following the last of the collegiate racing, California Head Coach Dave O'Neill (below) took the time to share his thoughts on the performance of his Varsity and JV8s, and where he feels the team needs to improve moving further into Spring. Note for FeedBurner subscribers: click the title of the article to view the videos on our website. Thanks very much to Coach Sauer and Coach O'Neill for granting the interviews! -RR

VOTW: Pac-10 Women's Challenge, 2011

This week's VOTW comes from Redwood Shores, CA, and features some marquee match-ups between heavy-hitting D1 NCAA women's rowing programs. It's also a step forward for the site, as it is the first such video recorded and produced by RowingRelated. The first dual to come down the course was between California (CRCA ranked #3 in the most recent poll , RR ranked #2) and UCLA (CRCA ranked #14, RR #11) in the Varsity 8. California took an early lead, and continued to build on that lead through the second 1000m of the course. This was followed by Stanford (CRCA #4, RR #3) v. Virginia (CRCA #1, RR #4) -- a race in which the Cardinal built an early lead and were able to hang on despite a charge from UVA in the last 600m. The third race on this windy, rainy morning was between last year's top two Women's Lightweight Varsity 8s -- Stanford and Wisconsin. Again, Stanford built an early lead, and held their advantage through the second 1000m. Princeton raced Stanford the foll

157th Boat Race Preview and Prediction: Oxford v. Cambrige 2011

It's finally here. The 157th edition of the Boat Race takes place tomorrow at 1700 GMT, and will be broadcast live in the US by BBC America. The two crews seem fairly evenly matched, but according to the London bookies, the favo(u)rites are Cambridge, as they are the heavier crew (typically considered an advantage in the often-quite-difficult conditions on the Tideway), despite the fact this is newly-appointed CUBC Head Coach Steve Trapmore's first crack at the Boat Race (though he has plenty of experience, having won a gold medal in the VIII in Sydney, among other podium finishes at the World level). RR readers seem to agree, as with just hours left in our Boat Race poll, Cambridge is holding onto 57% of the vote. The video above, produced by Xchanging, came out just recently and details two fixtures, the first between Oxford and Molesey, and the second between Cambridge and the U23 composite boat -- a fixture that was covered by RR, and featured photographs of the racing

NCAA Spring 2011 Preview: The RR Top 20

Defending NCAA Champions University of Virginia will be taking on a very tough schedule this Spring in hopes of defending the program's first ever NCAA team championship. In the first CRCA coaches poll of 2011, which was released last week, Virginia debuted at #1. Although Virginia has very good top end speed in the Varsity 8 on a yearly basis, the hallmark of their program is their depth. Last year they were extremely deep, making the grand final at NCAAs in every event and dominating the Varsity 4+, setting a course record in the process. They simply have more quality depth than any other program in the country. At the South-Central Sprints Regatta in 2010, they won every event except the Novice 8 (which they only lost by 6 one-hundredths of a second) and placed 1st and 2nd in the Open 4+. Credit to the coaching staff/duo of Kevin Sauer and Steve Pritzker who have done a tremendous job developing a perennial powerhouse. One thing is for sure, there must be a lot of intense se

Tideway News: Fast Times and Strange Margins at the Women's Head of the River

Leander take the 2011 WeHoRR (Photo: © Iain Weir) The Women's Head of the River Race (WeHoRR, as it is affectionately known in the UK) took place last Saturday, with some surprising results. Nearly 300 crews raced down the Thames, from Chiswick to Putney (in the opposite direction to the Boat Race, which is coming up this Saturday at 17:00 GMT). The two top crews came from predictable places -- the first from Leander Club, home to many national team members, and with a very favorable starting position (first), and the second a composite crew made up of internationals (aka GB National Team members) from several different clubs (Durham, Marlow, Reading, London, Thames, Wallingford, and Gloucester), which had to cope with a starting position of 214. Gloucester/Durham/London/Marlow/Reading/Wallingford (Photo: © Iain Weir) Evidently, the crew from Leander made the most of the clear water, taking the event in a time of 18:06.57 (just over one tenth of a second from matching the c

RR Interview: UVA Men's Head Coach Frank Biller

The UVA Men's Varsity VIII training on home water Frank Biller has been involved in the sport of rowing as an athlete, businessman, and coach, with great success in all three aspects. His current project is coaching the University of Virginia Men's Rowing team -- a club program that has posted better and better results, both on the erg and on the water, since he took over the squad in 2009. Last Autumn, the UVA men placed fourth at the Head of the Charles in the Men's Collegiate Eights division, behind only varsity programs, and most recently the UVA men put on a show at the Mid-Atlantic Erg Sprints, with the exclamation point coming from Matt Miller, who took first place at the event in a time of 5:54.7 -- a time that would have earned him a bronze medal at Crash-B's a month later. Here, RR asks Frank about his background and experience, coaching in club sports, the approach that he brings to UVA, and their outlook for Spring 2011, which includes a trip to Henley th

The Future of Men's Rowing: Varsity v. Club Sports

As a former collegiate club rower, I've grown weary of hearing the drone from out-of-touch alumni and journalists who are interested in the idea of club rowing programs being restored to their former grandeur by being reinstated into the athletic department. Here's the deal: it's not going to happen. To talk about having club programs reinstated is worse than a waste of time -- it's insulting to the current members of the squad, and takes away from what should be the main objective of any program: to be as competitive as possible . Whining about funding that is not going to appear (where is it going to come from?) is destructive, and is just another form of making excuses. Universities have been paring down their athletic departments for years, and men's rowing was one of the first items on the chopping block following Title IX (more on this below). Now many universities are facing financial difficulties due to the current economic climate -- why would they want t

Video of the Week: The '99 Dutch Men's VIII, and Dutch Roeitechniek

The video above is part of a rowing technical guide from The Netherlands, and includes a great deal of footage of the men's VIII that won gold at the 1996 Olympic Games.Though my great grandfather might have been appalled to hear it, I don't speak any Dutch (well, outside of the word 'roeitechniek,' anyway). However, it is still possible to get a great deal out of watching this video, which breaks down the technique into sections, makes use of freeze-frame, and highlights specific rowers to point out the minutia of Nederlandse Roeitechniek. There is a second video in the series (Deel 2), which deals with the biomechanics of the rowing stroke -- that one might be a bit more of a challenge unless you are familiar with the language. Thanks to Padraic for suggesting the video! Want to suggest the next Video of the Week? Send us an email: rowingrelated[at]gmail[dot]com. -RR

RR Interview: Greg Flood, ACRA Winner and Back-to-Back Crash-B Champion

Flood on the podium If you haven't heard the name Greg Flood yet, you will. Soon. Having started rowing as a college freshman at Notre Dame, Flood began his rowing career with a win in the Novice VIII at the ARCA Championship regatta in 2008, and has since racked up hardware of a different, perhaps more utilitarian kind. This past February, Flood won the Collegiate Lightweight division at Crash-B's for the second time in as many years, taking home the hammer in 6:12.8 -- still the fastest time of any US lightweight so far this season. In the U23 category, he placed second, behind only Steffen Jensen of Denmark. Here, Greg talks with RR about how he got started, what motivates him, and where he hopes to go with the sport he has taken to so quickly. RR: How did you get started rowing? What was your athletic background prior to college? GF: I, like many club rowers, took my first strokes when I got to college. However, I had already developed an interest in the sport bef

News from the Tideway: Toughest Test Yet for CUBC, and LRC Take Boustead Honors

Molesey v. CUBC, Tideway Fixture 8 March 2011 (Photo: Iain Weir) The past week has been a busy one on the Thames, with Tideway crews out training, fixtures and club racing, and the Oxford v. Cambridge Boat Race and Eights Head of the River just around the corner. After the Boat Race crews were announced and addressed by Mayor Boris Johnson at London's City Hall, Cambridge made their way back to Putney in order to race another fixture, this time against a very experienced crew from Molesey BC. Coxing for MBC was none other than Acer Nethercott (winner of the Boat Race in 2003 and 2005, and Olympic silver medalist from the GB Men's VIII in Beijing), who is accustomed to extremely close margins on the Tideway (having won the Boat Race -- a 4.5 mile event -- by 1 foot in 2003) and who certainly put CUBC's coxswain Liz Box through her paces throughout the event. Acer urges on Molesey (Photo: Iain Weir) The crews raced three pieces. The first, from Putney to Hammersmith

The ACRA All-Star Camp: Who Should Go, and Who Shouldn't

There has been a ton of back-and-forth lately on the Rowing Illustrated boards about a new feature of the ACRA -- that being an 'All-Star' camp this coming summer under the guidance of none other than Gregg Hartsuff of Michigan, arguably the most recognizable club rowing coach in the US, and certainly one of the best. The idea is that club athletes who have a great deal of potential, but who fear that they will be given short shrift by the USRowing camp system due to their non-varsity backgrounds, will have the chance to develop their talent and be appreciated based on what will (hopefully) be some positive results at U23 Trials. While the idea in and of itself is a compelling one, it raises a number of issues that could further widen the rift between club and varsity sports, as well as between American collegiate rowing and our own National Team. (Note for non-US readers: US collegiate rowing is essentially split into two categories. While it is in reality slightly more com

Video of the Week: Princeton's Austin Training Trip '11--The Movie

The video for this week comes to us from Princeton University via Texas -- a thorough look at Princeton Rowing's training trip to Austin, complete with some nice production values, great shots of rowing from all of the crews (both men's and women's squads), interviews with the coaches, and an an impressive amount of faffing, including the (disturbing) results of an intense facial hair competition among the members of the men's heavyweight squad -- the theme seems to have followed the cue from Andy Samberg's ' The Creep ,' given the preponderance of John Waters-style pencil moustaches. This past weekend marked the 11th annual 'Crash-P' erg race -- the indoor results are in, and we'll be taking a look this week at the upcoming match-up between Harvard and Princeton this season. Also, with March Madness looming, I thought we might work some rowing 'bracketology' (albeit of a simpler kind) into the mix, so check out the RR poll (top right

Oxford Victorious over Queens University Belfast in Tideway Fixture

Oxford races Queen's University Belfast (Photo: Iain Weir) The Dark Blues of Oxford University won two decisive victories over their international opponents from Queen's University Belfast on Saturday, further adding to the drama in the lead-up to the Boat Race, with both Cambridge and Oxford looking to be on top form. The Dark Blues, featuring two members of the very successful British U23 squad from Brest, 2010 (including Constantine Louloudis in the 6 seat, and Karl Hudspith in the 5 seat, both of whom took home hardware from the regatta in the 4- and the VIII respectively), and Henley winners George Whittaker and Simon Hislop, won both of the pieces. The first piece ran from Putney to St. Paul's (roughly halfway through the course), and saw QUB taking an early lead only to find the pace a little hot through the second half, eventually falling by 4 lengths to OUBC. For the second piece (from the Chiswick Eyot to Chiswick Bridge), QUB was given a 6 seat advantage to st

RR Interview: 10 Questions with Olympic Champion Jason Read

Jason Read has a lengthy resume of success on the international rowing stage. While he is perhaps best known as the first man to cross the line in the Men's 8 at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Read also had fantastic results on the World Cup circuit earlier that summer, where his 4- defeated both the British as well as the Canadian entries that went on to win gold and silver (respectively) in Athens. Needless to say, Read formed an integral part of a number of Mike Teti National Teams, and he has the hardware to prove it. In this interview, Read discusses his career, the differences between the old regime and the new, his experience of Karapiro, as well as the squad's goals for the coming year with a view toward London. RR: You've had international success in the 2-, 4- and the 8+ -- is there one boat category that is your favorite? If so, which one, and why? JR: Not really…I like all boat classes! The pair is special because you have to be exactly on the same page

From the Newsroom at RR: Mike Blomquist Making a Comeback?

Or maybe, don't call it a comeback. RR sources say that Harvard alumnus Michael Blomquist, multiple-time US National Team member, World Champion in the Men's VIII in 2005, and winner of the 2005 Boat Race with Oxford, may be on his way back to the States after leaving Molesey Boat Club  (for the Americans in the audience, that's pronounced 'Mole-Zee') and the United Kingdom for a shot at representing the Stars and Stripes in 2012. Blomquist has had a number of successes at the World level, most recently placing a close fourth at the 2006 World Championships in Eton in the M4- along with Brett Newlin, Matt Schnobrich, and Josh Inman (to see their race, check out the earliest entry in the RR  Video of the Week Archive ). He also represented the US in the 4- at the 2001 and 2002 World Championships (Lucerne and Seville), placing sixth in the event on both occasions. Since his last appearance on the World stage in 2006, Blomquist has continued to train and race for Mole

Boat Race Build-Up: CUBC Triumphant over British U23s in Tideway Fixture

Camrbidge take the lead (Photo: Iain Weir, With the Boat Race just over three weeks away, the Cambridge Blue Boat showed that they have been making the best of Winter training, racing a crew of British U23 triallists at the weekend and winning both of the pieces in convincing fashion. The President of the Light Blues is American Derek Rasmussen (7 seat), who was a member of the 2008 IRA Champion Wisconsin Varsity VIII, and the 2008 US VIII that won gold at the U23 World Championships. The first piece of the fixture began at the traditional start of the Boat Race (Putney), and saw the Light Blues, racing in their brand new Hudson (having opted for the Canadian manufacturer instead of the traditional Empacher), moving away consistently throughout, until they reached the Chiswick Eyot (just past the half-way point of the course) over fourth lengths in front of the GB crew. Cambridge approach Hammersmith Bridge (Photo: Iain Weir) Before the start of the second pi