My favorite part is 3:00 in when they are showing the men’s double – this is the definition of “take it out square at the finish” and is a technical point that very few rowers can achieve even at high levels.
Wow I called the men’s single final right – Drysdale, Synek, Campbell. Alan Campbell has had a great Olympics and I was so happy to see him get bronze. He was so emotional that I teared up with him. I am also happy that Mahe Drysdale got closure with an Olympic gold. I felt a little bad that nobody really cheered for Synek, because they were still cheering for Campbell and the champions from the previous medal ceremony, Watkins and Grainger from Team GB in the women’s double.
I was also so happy to see the F final in the men’s single. The guy from Tunisia looked pretty good, and the crowd cheered as loudly for the last-place sculler from Niger as they did for the champions. That shows a lot of class.
Congrats to all!
OK readers, let’s hear who you are picking for Olympic rowing gold in a few weeks? There were some surprises in the recent Munich World Cup, and there were some notable absences of crews that chose to train through instead of race. Here’s my unscientific picks. In general I think the British and the Kiwis are poised to clean up, with the US and Germany probably taking home less hardware than usual. New Zealand in particular looks incredibly strong for their size.
M1X: Mahe Drysdale. He will come back from getting hit by a car, the Kiwi program is so strong and deep, and he is at the top of it.
W1X: Ekaterina Karsten. I have to vote for the 40-year old
M2-: NZL – the Murray/Bond pair is unstoppable – 5 second margin in Munich. I wish the best for FRA and GBR but good luck.
M4-: Very tough. I give the edge to AUS based on smoothness and flow, which will count for a lot under pressure. I would also be happy if GBR took it. This one is going to be a photo finish.
M8+: I am pulling for GBR. C’mon mates win it in front of the home crowd!
W8+: USA – we can get Canada, come on ladies!
The Munich World Cup was the last international regatta before the Olympics, and here is some great video of the Men’s straight four, which is one of the most hotly contested events. I have been following Drew Ginn from Australia via his blog, and I also love to see Great Britain exercise their traditional strength in this event. It’s amazing to see these crews log a time that many college eights in the US would envy. Cheers to the Aussies – you look very very smooth. And I hope that Mahe Drysdale recovers from his bike accident and is there to challenge the field in London.
I have been reading Carlos Dinares’ blog recently and was intrigued by his post on the ideal rowing power curve after coaching some CrossFitters at CrossFit Ignite on how to use the power curve feature on the Concept2. Granted, the C2 static erg is a blunt instrument at best, but it introduces an interesting question about how the best in the world apply power and length in their rowing strokes.
I looked at the videos from the 2011 World Rowing Championships for the men’s single sculls and the men’s pair, won by men (Mahe Dysdale in the single and Eric Murray in the pair) who have legitimate potential claims to be the fittest people on earth by any standard The difference I noticed was that the top rowers in the pair reach traditional “full length” with the shins vertical, while both Drysdale and Synek in the single seem to be rowing at 3/4 slide but still achieving an optimal power curve. I have read analysis that Drysdale’s torso flexibility makes it possible for him to achieve maximum length without using the full slide, but the question remains why the top 2 boats in the single final appear to be achieving maximum speed at 3/4 slide while the top tow boats in the pair, rowing at similar stroke ratings, use the full slide length. What does this say, if anything, about optimal indoor rowing technique, which is traditionally correlated with maximum length on the slide?
If Carlos, Xeno, or Shane are reading this, I’d appreciate your opinions – thanks.
Regardless of the question, these videos are simply amazing to watch, considering that the times achieved in these races would be respectable for most college eights in the US.
Men’s Single Scull final:
Men’s Pair final:
Had a great race on Saturday in the Masters Eight rowing for Ever Green Boat club – strong, smooth, consistent, perfect steering, no mishaps except for a broken cox-box. So we were all surprised to learn that we came in 13th? In retrospect we were part of a tight grouping of times in which 10 seconds separated a whole bunch of boats. To give perspective, we were still within 10% of the winning time even with that mediocre placing. So all things considered, it was a good outing, and the only thing to do is get fitter as this race seems to get faster and faster each year.
Here’s a pic. I was rowing 7-seat on starboard, which was interesting as the last time I raced on starboard was sophomore year in college. Sculling for so long has given me a lot of flexibility in being able to jump into any seat in a sweep boat and perform pretty well, and bombing down the course at a 32 was again no problem with the Crossfit Endurance training under my belt.
The funny anecdotes happened walking down the path back to my car at the end of the day. First I saw a guy on a longboard with a Kahuna Big Stick doing a slalom up the row of orange cones in the trailer parking lot. Then I saw this poor dude slowly wobbling up the path on his bike carrying a pair of sculls, trying to maneuver through the crowd and having to go so slowly that he almost had to stop. As he got closer I saw that it was a really nice bike and a really big dude. No, it couldn’t be…but it was…Mahe Drysdale ! He must have landed at the Northeastern boathouse after his race and there he was just like any other rower in the crowd…amazing.
Video at: http://nesports.tv/2011HOCRa.php?p=3 (our boat is at timestamp 1:18)
If any readers wonder how to get it done on the water, here’s how the best in the world does it. As with most elite athletes, Mahe Drysdale (in black for New Zealand) looks like he’s having an easy row because all of the power goes into moving the boat and there is no wasted motion. In reality he is rowing at 34 strokes per minute for most of the race, but his clean technique makes it look easy. It’s unusual at this level to have someone control the race so completely. Check out the segment beginning at about 0:35 – look at how much distance he eats away from the German next to him on every stroke, even though he is understroking him. Amazing.
For the Crossfitters out there, imagine doing 250 unbroken deadlifts at 60% of your 1RM in less than 7 minutes….
Although you can’t see him much in the video, Ken Jurkowski from the USA had an equally amazing result by pulling into 3rd and making it onto the podium. Congrats! It had been historically very difficult for a US single sculler to achieve that in the last 10 years, so well done! I believe the US lightweight womens’ double also made it onto the podium in a later race! Thanks to RowingRelated for these great videos.