Showing posts from February, 2012

The Boat Races: Will Oxbridge Become a Destination for International Women Rowers?

The recent announcement that the Boat Race will become 'the Boat Races' in 2015, with the inclusion of the women's race in the 'programme,' marks a major step forward for equality in sport, as well as for women's rowing in the U.K. The move will undoubtedly elevate the standard of the women's race, as it will benefit from greater exposure. Given this outlook, here in the U.S. it seems only natural to ask a follow-up question: Will this lead to a greater interest among would-be and established female internationals (i.e. rowers from around the world who are on the cusp of the national team, or with national team experience) in attending Oxford and Cambridge and competing in the Boat Races as a means to develop as athletes, as it has on the men's side? Ryan taking us on a tour of OKC's Devon Boathouse The experience of studying and rowing in the U.K. can be a(n) hugely beneficial intermediate step, combining graduate level study at (one of) two o

Video of the Week: Selection and Team GB, courtesy of GB Rowing

This week's video comes to us from British Rowing, and is part of a 12 week web series entitled The Squad . This update features input from a number of the biggest names in our sport (including Greg Searle , Alex Partridge , Andy Triggs Hodge and Pete Reed , and others) about selection in Jürgen Grobler's GB Rowing system. The emphasis, as you might expect, is on the unpredictable nature of selection from year to year, as there are no guaranteed seats–a familiar idea that fosters intra-squad competition. The difference is, in Grobler's case, so many of the parts that make up the whole have Olympic and world medals already on their resumes, both adding to and taking away from the pressure of selection. Given the results from 2011, it appears (from the outside) that Grobler could field medal-winning crews in the M8+, W8+, M4-, M2-, LM4-, W4x, LW2x, and LM2x ('amongst' others) by simply leaving things the same. However, because of the elevated status of GB Rowin

Weekend Interview: Kim Crow of Rowing Australia on Radio Sport National

The above interview with Australia's Kim Crow (who took silver in the W2x with Kerry Hore , behind Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger of Team GB) provides a great deal of insight into selection and training with Rowing Australia, her recent win at the New South Wales State Championships in the double, racing experience and gearing up for the Games, and the changes coming for the Boat Race–scheduled to become 'the Boat Races' in 2015, with the women's event joining the men's on the Tideway in London. Crow's discussion of the athletes and training system in Australia is particularly interesting, and emphasizes the long-term nature of athletic commitment to Olympic sport there (she mentions that it is fairly common for athletes to take a year off following an Olympic cycle before beginning in earnest for the next Games, while in the U.S. the turnover tends to me much higher). On the men's side, Rowing New Zealand's national trials are fast approachi

Sneak Peek: The March 2012 Issue of Rowing News Goes to Press!

The Dawg Pound after the snow (Photo: B. Kitch) The second issue of the 2012 campaign for Rowing News is on its way. This issue features coverage of the C.R.A.S.H.-B. Sprints, with a series of short interviews with the top performers last Sunday (including Rose City Rowing Club phenom Ruth Narode , outstanding Grand Valley State novice Nate Biolchini , who posted a 6:06.3 despite having started in the sport just five months ago, and two-time Olympian Greg Ruckman , among many others). We also checked in with Danish lightweight world record holder Henrik Stephansen on this plans for 2012, caught up with CRI's Matt Zatorski about the 2012 'What Works' Summit (which featured appearances by Bob Ernst of UW, and German Rowing Federation head coach Hartmut Buschbacher ), and spoke with Boston University's Tom Bohrer about how to develop mid-season racing technique after a winter off the water. Add to this our features on the amazing health benefits of adaptive rowi

The Boustead Cup, 2012: London RC Takes Top Honors in Traditional Clash with Thames

The Boustead Cup (Photo: © Iain Weir) The 2012 Boustead Cup race between London Rowing Club and Thames Rowing Club took place on Saturday, 18 February on the Championship Course in London (from Chiswick to Putney). The race, which mirrors the Boat Race in terms of its duration and head-to-head nature, is one of the yearly fixtures on the Tideway. The following is a race report by RR London Correspondent, Theo Bakker, who followed the races from the launch. The photographs are courtesy of Iain Weir . From RowingRelated London Correspondent Theo Bakker: For London Rowing Club, the Boustead Cup of 2012 was all about the “pride of the badge,” and, “putting the club on show,” according to coach Phil Bourguignon. His pre-race talk summed up the day completely, and emphasised the traditional competitiveness between the two clubs undertaking the race–Thames and London. He emphasised to the crews the importance of getting the bow-ball in front off the start and how the race “[would be a]

Video of the Week: Winter Training with the German Men's Eight

The 2012 C.R.A.S.H.-B. Sprints took place yesterday in Boston, with a number of international rowers turning in podium-topping performances. So, indeed, what better time than now to talk about the erg? The German men's eight has a series of videos entitled, Deutschlandachter: Unser Weg Nach London (Our Journey to London) on the Rudern TV YouTube Channel , and the most recent chapter (embedded above), covers some aspects of winter training. It helps to know a bit of German, but the video is interesting from a purely rowing perspective as well, allowing a rare glimpse at splits during a steady state workout, and showing the consistent technical approach that characterizes this generation of German rowing (with upright posture at the release, and a relaxed rotation out of bow followed by a uniform slide–stylistically it looks quite similar to that of the new-look Australian men's four ). Want to suggest the next 'Video of the Week?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated

From the Press Room at RR: Huskies Add Home Race Against Brown To 2012 Schedule

Source: Press Release/Jeremy Cothran The Bears, one of the top crews in the Ivy League, will face the Huskies on March 31 on the Montlake Cut SEATTLE – Two of rowing’s most historic programs will meet this spring in the Pacific Northwest when Brown University travels west to take on Washington. The rare intersectional matchup will take place on March 31 on the Montlake Cut at 8 a.m. Brown is one of the top teams in the tradition-rich Ivy League Conference, and is a regular fixture at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Championship Regatta in June. What makes the dual race intriguing is how rare it is to see one of the East Coast powerhouses travel to Seattle. But that was the challenge men’s crew coach Michael Callahan sought to overcome when he invited the Bears. The contract with Brown calls for the Huskies to return the trip next season to the East Coast. “This is a great opportunity for our student-athletes,” Callahan said. “We’re always looking to enhance thei

Winter Training: 'CanaDawgs' Getting it Done Indoors

The above video, posted yesterday, shows the the Washington Huskies in action on land during a winter training session not unlike the one I visited three weeks ago–look for a write up, including an interview with men's coaches Michael Callahan and Luke McGee in Rowing News' March issue–with line upon line of ergs, and the intensity building throughout as each rower works toward a personal best and a team goal. (Looking at the personnel, it appears that this video was shot last season, as 2011 Pan Am Champ  Ty Otto is seated next to Hans Struzyna near the middle of the first or second row–see 2:28-2:41–and Anthony Jacob is present as well.) Just recently, the 'Dawgs' visited the Canadian national team for a training camp, covering 100km in just two days  at Shawnigan Lake. The relationship between the Huskies and the Canadian national team is quite a strong one at the moment, with several former Huskies are training with the Canadian men's eight– Will Crothers

Video of the Week: Princeton Tigers Tampa Training Camp, Part 2

This week's video is the second half of Princeton's winter training camp in Tampa, complete with fashion shows and marauding pirates. In my book, anytime you can manage a recurring pirate theme in a training video, you've achieved something worthwhile. The video kicks off with a recap of Part 1 (you can watch Part 1 here ), followed by a 'dramatic' recitation of what begins as a fragment of Invisible Wings , by Barbara Wagner (not entirely sure where it goes from there). Along the 'lighter' side of things, there is a healthy amount of footage from sessions on the water, with coaches Marty Crotty, Paul Rassam, Lori Dauphiny and Greg Hughes. Add to the above a mustache competition between the members of the light and heavyweight men, and you've got a recipe for success. Want to suggest the next 'Video of the Week?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, send us your suggestion via Twitter ( ), or get

2011-2012 Indoor Rowing Season One of the Best Yet: Impressive Erg Scores from the U.S. and Abroad

As has been acknowledged on the FISA website, this season of winter training has produced some of the most impressive ergometer results ever recorded, and, given the nature of the 'information superhighway' and the greater tendency among athletes to share their erg scores than in previous years, we know more than ever before about these impressive feats. (Disclaimer: the following is not intended to be a comprehensive list, but rather a selection from a season laden with highlights.) The above video shows Henrik Stephansen  of Denmark breaking his own world record for lightweight men (besting his previous performance by over a second, from 5:58.5 to 5:57.4), and (amazingly), judging from his appearance following the test, he looks as though he could have gone even faster in his current form. Not long ago, Cédric Berrest set a new French record for 2k, posting a 5:44.6 on a stationary 'ergo,' and, more recently, defending Olympic champion Olaf Tufte posted a 5:46

How to Handle Volume, Part 2: Intelligently Sculpting Your Aerobic Base

"Last 10!" (Photo: B. Kitch) Volume and technical practice can, and often do, coincide. If we are talking about a coaching a team boat, and the need for technical development, there can be obvious reasons to go out and row a lot of meters on the water if it is going to lead to better boat feel or better boat moving skills. However, from a purely physiological perspective (in terms of training the aerobic system to be as fit and efficient as possible), it is important to make sure that the added volume is quality mileage. One of the reasons people fall into the training trap of 'junk mileage' is that they have to reduce the intensity in order to be able to handle the volume without breaking down physically and/or mentally. Instead of logging 20-30k in a single session each day, it can be better to split that volume into two sessions of 10k-15k each, with a period of rest in between (i.e. one session in the morning and one at night). There are three reasons b

Video of the Week: CUWBC Training Camp in Soustons

CUWBC Training Camp 2012 from James Appleton on Vimeo . This week's video comes to us courtesy of James Appleton, and features some stunning visuals (as well as a healthy bit of banter/faffing about off the water) from the Cambridge University Women's Boat Club training camp in Soustons, France last month. The CUWBC squad is gearing up for the 2012 edition of the Henley Boat Races, which, like their counterpart, the Boat Race , match crews from Oxford and Cambridge against one another on the Thames. The Henley Boat Races, however, take place (as you might have guessed) in Henley-on-Thames, and cover the same course as Henley Royal Regatta (albeit in reverse), while the Boat Race takes place on the Tideway in London, from Putney Bridge to Chiswick Bridge (approximately). While the Boat Race features the heavyweight men from Oxford and Cambridge, the Henley Boat Races include the openweight women, lightweight men, and lightweight women. For more information on the Henle

Scott Frandsen on the Men's Pair Final in Beijing, and Questions Surrounding Team GB

In the above video, Scott Frandsen of Rowing Canada Aviron discusses his experience of the Olympic final in Beijing, with hints at the work along the road to the podium, and a healthy amount of humor thrown in for good measure. As he mentions in this talk, he and pair partner Dave Calder qualified in the Olympic year (at WC II in Lucerne, where they took gold ahead of NZ and AUS, respectively), which will no doubt perk up the ears of every sweep rower on the U.S. men's squad this year. Also, the men's pair has become the subject of a great deal of debate of late, given the dominance of the Kiwi duo, Hamish Bond and Eric Murray . There is an excellent article outlining the range of possibilities facing Jurgen Grobler and Team GB, by Rachel Quarrel and Martin Gough of  Rowing Voice . The debate remains one of quality versus quantity. The GB squad took home the most medals from the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, but some of their top athletes did not find themse

How to Handle Volume, Part 1: Avoid 'Junk Mileage' to Maximize Gains

Quad at dawn (Illustration: B. Kitch)  Without question, volume is an important aspect of aerobic development and training for a sport that requires significant endurance. Volume is necessary not only to build an endurance base for racing, but also to build a broader base for higher levels of training. The more aerobically fit the athlete is, the more the athlete can handle in a workout. When you've built up a solid aerobic base, it manifests itself quite obviously. You can hold the same pace with less effort, and can also sustain that pace longer. Improved aerobic fitness can help you to improve because it allows you to train harder and handle more difficult workouts, as when your fitness level is higher, your recovery time improves–bottom line: you recover better during rest intervals. There is a significant difference between an athlete who is 'in shape' and one who is 'out of shape,' in terms of his/her ability to recover from a hard effort. Two athletes m