College Coxing Racing Recordings

Coxswain Recordings, pt. 22

George Washington University 2014 IRA Men’s Varsity 8+ C-Final

If you wanna watch the race footage with the audio over it you can check that out here. If you just wanna listen to the race, the Soundcloud link above is probably better since you’ve got the announcer’s voice competing with the coxswain in the video.

At 3:28 when he says “get ready to take our move…”, that’s the kind of aggression you need when you’re in the thick of it and have to do something to separate yourself from the pack. A few strokes later he says “We’re movin’, half a length up OSU, half a length up FIT…”, which is not only a good example of how to call your position on other crews but it also demonstrates exactly what you want to do after you call for a move – let them know if they’re walking and if so, by how much.

I like how he goes down the boat at 4:18 and calls out certain individuals then calls out the seniors. That’s a great way to get just a little more out of the rowers when you already know they’re giving you all they’ve got. It’s that sense-of-personal-responsibility thing. 

Other calls I liked:

“Five to open the angles…”

“Move away from FIT, fucking put ’em in their place…”

Temple University 2014 Dad Vail Women’s Varsity 4+ Semi-final

The audio’s a little choppy on this one but otherwise this is a solid recording from Temple’s coxswain. She emailed this recording to me so below is part of what I said in my reply.

“This recording is great – my favorite ones to listen to are the ones where I don’t have to pause it every five seconds to make a note of something. You do a really fantastic job of being right in the moment and communicating to your crew what they need to know about what’s happening inside the boat as well as outside the boat. Far too often a lot of coxswains will get too focused on just spitting out the race plan and end up not making calls for anything else. I really liked your buildup into your 20 when you a couple of the girls if they were ready to go – that’s a great way to keep the boat engaged in what you’re doing and keep them focused. I love the 10 that your bowman calls – that is a really creative and SMART strategic move.

One suggestion – maybe don’t count as much at the start throughout the high strokes and the settle. It can get monotonous after awhile so don’t be afraid to change it up and replace the numbers with catch or finish-related calls. You called it really well though – tone, intonation, intensity were all perfect. Don’t change any of that.”

Other calls I liked:

“Break ’em through the bridge…”

“Here we go, we got each other’s backs…”

Drexel University 2014 Knecht Cup Women’s Freshman 8+ Grand Final

There’s not much I would change here except for all the counting. I talked about this a bit in the power ten post from last week. Over the course of 2000m it’s probably unnecessary to be calling more than five or six power bursts. It’s important to remember too that just because you’re calling a 5, 10, 15, or 20 doesn’t mean that you have to count out every. single. stroke. Calls like jump, swing, attack, legs, sit up, breathe, together, send, long, stride, press, power, etc. are just as effective when you intersperse them between or in place of 1, 2, 3, etc.

Related: All about Power 10s

I’ve talked about this with regards to tone in the past but make sure that you’re making an effort to match it with the calls the you’re making. If you want calls like that one to relax at 3:10 to be effective, maybe try not to sound possessed as you say it.

At 5:30 she says “It’s gonna be intense, it’s gonna be a fight, get ready…”, which sounds like something that would have/probably was said at the start of a Muhammad Ali – George Foreman bout. Good call coming into the last 500m.

Other calls I liked:

“2, be an animal, 3, be an animal…”

“Bow four, I need your speed…”

“This will be a dogfight, get dirty, get proud, now walk…”

You can find and listen to more recordings by checking out the “Coxswain Recordings” page.

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Comments (14)

  1. Washington-Lee: Can I weigh in from an official’s point of view? I really liked the W-L cox’s comment that he should have protested at the start if the boats weren’t aligned. It’s our job to ensure safety and fairness in every race, and if the boats aren’t aligned, that’s just not fair, and it needs to be fixed.

    “Hands aren’t recognized” IS the new rule, but if a cox raises a hand because of a safety or fairness issue the starter can certainly stop the start sequence and address the problem. If that doesn’t happen, though, the 100% effective way to protest the start is to NOT ROW. (I’m a rower, too, and an occasional cox, and I know this is way easier said than done.) When a boat doesn’t go, the race is stopped, and someone comes to find out why you didn’t start. What follows is either a plain do-over, or a do-over with a warning to the crew that didn’t start if the ref doesn’t agree that the reason was a big enough deal to warrant the protest. (I personally agree with the cox that 3/4 of a length is worth the protest, though the particular ref on the water at the time may see it differently, based on the particular conditions of that race.) The warning only becomes a big deal if you get a second warning, which is not a big risk for most crews, and in any case, fairness is restored.

    I mostly ref high school regattas, and we routinely tell coxswains that the rule means the starter doesn’t HAVE to recognize their hands after polling has commenced, but if they have a problem at the line, at any time, they should throw that hand up while simultaneously taking action to fix it, with the last resort being to simply not row, if they feel something’s not right when the starter says “go”.

    1. Ah, perfect! I know a couple officials follow the blog so I was hoping someone would see this and comment from their perspective.

      The problem I’ve seen this year with not rowing at the start as a form of protest is that the officials can/will decide right then that that’s not a legit reason and will tell you to row on. Essentially it’s like being in the breakage zone but you don’t actually have breakage (or what the officials deem to be breakage) so you’ve just gotta row and try to catch up. I had maybe three or four coxswains email me this past season after experiencing situations like that. I just chalked it up to poor officiating because refusing to re-start the race just sounded off to me…

      The conditions at Stotes was *terrible* this year so I can understand why the officials wouldn’t re-start the race in this case. There were a lot of issues with many events not starting properly aligned from what I read and heard so I think anything he might have protested would have just been tossed aside in the name of keeping the regatta running to avoid any run-ins with the weather. I don’t think that’s necessarily fair but I still stand by what I said in that it’s just as much the responsibility of the coxswain(s) as it is the officials to ensure you’re properly aligned at the start.

      This is all good stuff to know though so thanks for commenting!! 🙂