Thursday, June 26, 2014

Get Down to Business

With the team adjusted and rested it was time to get down to business.  It was time for the team to get back to rowing.  Wednesday, June 25th was our first full practice day.

In the morning the crews went out for another swing row.  Giving them another chance to get comfortable on the river as well as the race course.  Both the rowers and the coxswain need time to adjust to the conditions and atmosphere of the course.  Some of the challenges the rowers need to become comfortable with are as follows.  Getting onto the race course; There is a narrow opening between the starting platforms, some posts, and an island not to far away.
The V8 entering the course

The race course itself is only wide enough for two crews and is separated from the rest of the river with the use of booms with vertical posts.  There is not a lot of room to maneuver and hitting one of the booms or posts is a lot more severe than a floating plastic buoy.  The booms provide some protection from the wakes of power boats moving up and down the river, however it is not complete protection and creates an interesting bouncing water feeling for the rowers.

The Kelsey Four rowing along the race course.  
The rowers are also getting comfortable with their rented boats and oars.  All of our rowers are rowing in boats not in our own fleet.  The V8 and the Kelsey 4 are in Empacher boats and the Lomi 4 is rowing in a Stampfli.

During the morning practice our rowers got to share the water with some exceptional rowers.  There was a pair rowing on the course comprised of Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent. If you don't know who these men are, I encourage you to wiki them to understand why our rowers were starstruck.  (As a side note, as I am writing this, Redgraves was just shown on TV as a spectator in the crowd of center court Wimbledon)

After practice the rowers grabbed some lunch and relaxed before the next afternoon practice.  In the afternoon we started to reintroduce the boats to some speed and higher ratings.  Again getting them comfortable in the boats and the course.  We continue to coach them through these practices, besides getting them comfortable , but coaching over here is a little different as well.  At home we normally follow along in a small motor boat, over here we have to ride a bicycle along the river.  Riding the bike can be challenging as we are trying to watch the rowers and ride along a bumpy path avoiding other coaches on bike and pedestrians walking down the same pathways.  The practices have been ending the same ways at home which is with team discussions on land.

Coach Noble and Coach McDonald (on bike) talking with the V8

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