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The Club's Results

Emma Sprints, Mich Term 2022

1st men's novice VIII (NM1 Division)

Coxed by: Kian Moshiri

1st round
Lost to Emma NM1 by 1.5 lengths
we were panicky
so we lost to emma 1
fuck the start umpire
(Luke Barratt)

The first race of Emma Sprints was a lost againstEmmanuel boat club. We started slowly off the line. This was because the referee started the race before we were fully ready. This caused some confusions for the cox and the rowers at the back of the boat. According to coaches on the bank, we were about 1 boat length behind Emma after the slow start. During the course of the race, our rowing was poor and we caught some crabs. However, Emma did not significantly increase their advantage despite our poor performance and finished about 2 boat length ahead of us at the end of the race. Emma ended up finishing second overall.


There are three main problem regarding our rowing during the course of the race: 1) not catching in time, 2) missing the front, 3) rushing the recovery. These problems were pointed out by our coaches during debrief.


1) not catching in time. We were not rowing very well in time during our first race. Part of the reason was that at the start, not all of our crews were ready and it was very difficult for us to get back in time during the draw/wind/lengthen phase. Secondly, after rhythm was called, the crews were aware that we were behind and were panicked. We were trying to catch up by increasing the rate and ended up rowing at rate 35-36, which was not helpful for us to get back in time, or to keep a good form. This problem had been identified by the crew and coaches before the race and we tried hovering exercises during training to improve synchronization. However, we were not able to apply what we learned from hovering exercises to our first sprint race.


2) missing the front. It was pointed out by our coaches that at front stop, we were not putting the blades into the water. Instead, we began driving our legs before putting the blade in. As a result, we were not able to make use of the full length of our stroke and our rowing was very energy inefficient. Of course, panic, high rating, and a somewhat unbalanced boat were factors contributing to this problem. But it was also worth pointing out that technique could also be a factor contributing to “missing the front”. It has been noticed by our coach that many of our crew members tend to “sky the blade”, that is, push the blade upwards at front stop instead of downwards. In the next few outings, it has been suggested to the crew members that they should try to be aware of blade position at front stop and place the blade into the water while sliding up to front stop, not somewhere on the way back.


3) rushing the recovery. Again due to high rating and panic, most of the crew members were rowing at very low ratio and rushing the recovery. This was manifested in a few different behaviors. Some were intentionally pushing the blade quickly away from body after back stop; some were not clearing the knees, i.e. raising the knees up before body-over; others were using the shoes to pull themselves quickly into front stop position. The coaches, especially Neil and Luke, have provided many individual feedbacks to our crew members. In the next few outings, we would aim to improve our techniques and forms while rowing at low rate and rowing in 6.


Last but not the least, it should be pointed out that psychology also played a huge factor on our performance in the first race. We were fairly nervous during the race due to the occasion. After the bad start, it took both rowers and the cox a few strokes to recover mentally and refocus. During the race, we were perhaps too aware of our opposition. We were frantically trying to catch up and, as a result, the rate was too high, the rowing was not in time, and the forms were rubbishThis race should have taught us the lesson that we should focus on our own boat instead of our opponent. Though this point was emphasized by our coaches before the race, we still needed this loss to really nail the lessons into the wood of our heads.


In terms of panic, it seems that the real problem was a lack of confidence. Not confidence in strength, but confidence in the style of rowing. If we knew very well how to properly perform as a team, then when accidents, such as bad referee or crabs or being behind, happens, we should be able to recover to the ideal state of rowing. However,currently we don’t have that feeling of “proper rowing” in mind. As a result, when bad things happen, we were trying to solve the problem individually and in the wrong way (such as rushing the recovery or increasing the rate). The writer of this report thinks that perhaps the feeling of “proper rowing as a crew” is the key to our advance from novice to senior rower.

- Rossoneri (str)

- the publisher of this report does not necessarily endorse the opinions expressed above, and they are purely the personal beliefs of the writer.

(Thomas Frith)
2nd round
Beat Churchill NM1 by 4 lengths
we started slowly
but more calm against churchill 
we won easily
(Luke Barratt)
The second race was against Churchill who lost against Lucy Cavendish in the first round. Our start was comparable to that of Churchill, which by our standard is relatively slow. We did not improve much in the first couple of strokes of the second race. The rate was still very high and we were still slightly panicky at the beginning. Then an up-one-down-one was called by our cox. It was suggested by Neil during the crew chat between two races that such a call should be made when we were not rowing properly and rushing strokes. The up-one-down-one call took an immediate effect and we pulled about one boat length away from Churchill. Then we rowed at the same speed at Churchill for a few strokes before another up-one-down-one call was made. Immediately after the call, we were pulling away again and quickly built up an advantage of more than 2 boat lengths about half way through the race. In the second half of the race, our lead simply increased gradually partially because Churchill kind of gave up and partially because we were rowing more relaxed with a comfortable lead. Though it is not really much of an achievement, we won the race with an advantage of at least 4 boat length.

-Rossoneri (str)
(Thomas Frith)

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