I can’t embed this week’s VOTW so you’ll have to go here to watch it. It’s an archived video from World Rowing of the 1999 USA M8+ that raced in the A-final at the 1999 World Cup in St. Catherine’s. Make sure you read the interview below the video too but do it either before or after watching the video, not during.
The first thing I thought when watching the start was “holy shit“. The only way to describe the USA’s start was nothing more than downright furious power. Watch 1:48-1:54 to see what I mean.
Also watch the two coxswains at the front of the screen between 2:19-2:25. See how the GBR coxswain in lane 6 (closest to the screen) is sitting down low and isn’t being jerked around by the movements of the boat? Now compare that to the RUS coxswain in lane 5; notice how he’s sitting straight up and is mimicking a bobble head with his upper body and torso movements? That’s how you get lines of bruises all along your back. You can’t feel how the boat’s moving if you’re letting your body be thrown around with the ebb and flow of the shell.
I liked what the commentator said at 4:09 about crews who aspire to overturn the United States. He said that they have to stay in touch otherwise they’ll be in real trouble. That’s so true, regardless of whether you’re fighting for 1st or 5th. Where they’ll be in trouble isn’t necessarily physically either, it’s mentally. If you give a crew a chance to break you, they’re gonna do it and mentally you will be weaker for it, which is why maintaining contact and then feeding off of that as you climb back to the front is so important.
6:10, “this is the first time a British crew has been in a winning position since 1912…” Haha, what?? Seriously?!
7:49, I love how after big races Pete jumps out of his seat and gives his stroke the biggest hug ever. It’s not a wimpy bro hug either, it’s a solid hug. Love it.
Something that stuck out to me that Bryan Volpenheim (bow in this crew) said in the interview below the video is this: “Power to me is technique. If you are able to put in the power at this part of the race (the finish) then that’s technique.”
And finally, my favorite part of the video, 11:43 … something Pete and I have in common is that no one will ever question our role in the boat. We’re that short.