University of Washington 2008 San Diego Crew Classic Mv8+ Grand final
Washington lead for most of this race but going into the 1000m Cal had a two seat advantage before UW took a move to retake the lead. They finished first in 5:39.9, two seconds ahead of Princeton (5:41.8). Harvard finished third and Cal fell back to fourth.
There are two things of note to pay attention to in this race (as well as the others in this post). Note the balance in her tone between being calm and being aggressive. There’s an awareness there for when to employ each that is a huge advantage for her crews. Also, you’ll see me say “awareness” a lot in this post and that’s because it’s one of things she excels at. It’s a crucial skill for coxswains to have and there are several great examples in here for where it can/should be applied.
At 1:06, I love how she called the stride here and that she said “you know how to do it together”. The start of the stride is executed really well – the change in her tone is great when she calls “striiide power, hold the knees…”. Another call I liked was at 2:41 when she says “bend now…”. There’s nothing groundbreaking about it but it’s simple and her tone makes the call work.
At 2:45 when she says “You’ve got good water, take advantage of it. Row smart Roko…”, which is a good reminder to the crew (and individuals if/when necessary), especially if the conditions aren’t perfect. When you see good water in your lane make sure the crew knows so that you can sharpen up and take full advantage of it before you hit the next gust or batch of chop. This is another instance where awareness can give your crew a huge advantage.
The 3rd 500 is almost always one of the toughest parts of the race which is why your energy has to be high here. How she called “3rd 500 now” at 3:25 is a good lead-in to this section and through her tone you can tell that she’s not fading which is going to help keep the crew from fading.
Most of the time when I hear coxswains call 10s they get super overly ambitious and say “power 10 to get even” when they’re a length down on the boat they’re trying to walk on. At 4:08 they’re taking a 30 for inches. Inches. I also like the added call to lengthen both ends of the slide. You guys know this but the further you get into the race and the more fatigued you become the more likely you are to start shortening up – this was a well-timed call to get them to get their length at the catch and hold on to the full stroke through the finish.
Related: All about Power 10s
The last minute (starting around 5:07) shows how you can call a burst, in particular a long one like this 30, and not count every single stroke. If it’s a well practiced move like this was then the rowers will know, not just because they can count but from muscle memory so to speak, how long the 30 lasts. What I like about this is she tells them when the last 10 is instead and then when the 30 is done instead of starting the 30 and not saying anything else about it, which is something I hear a lot in recordings.
Calls like her “up two for 10 with power” one at 5:23 that emphasize something rather than just saying “up two for 10 in two, one … two …” are smart. Whether it’s awareness on your part because you want to remind the crew of something, you see something starting to fall off, or it’s just part of your race plan, this is a much more effective way of calling your build strokes, especially as you get into the last 300ish meters.
Another example of her awareness of the race evolving around her was that she saw Princeton start moving early at 5:40 and made the call to go with them. This shows how important it is to not just be focused inside the boat but to keep your head on a swivel and be aware of what’s happening around you so crew’s don’t sneak up on you like Princeton tried to do here.
Other calls I liked:
“Strong Husky rhythm…”
“Splits are dropping and you are in the fucking lead!”
“Those are your fucking jerseys!”
University of Washington 2009 San Diego Crew Classic MV8+ Heat
I think my new goal when I get time to go on the water is to work on refining how well I balance my calm/aggressive tones. She does it so well and it just makes me want to do it better.
The defining part of this recording for me was at 5:25 when she said told them to “stay in time … stabilize at the 38” then recalls back to builders they did the other day and how their directness at the front end then was what they needed right now. Sit up, loose shoulders … now they’re connected, now they’re walking, now they’re moving. Again with the awareness thing but that’s really all it comes down to. Knowing what your crew is working on, knowing their strengths, weaknesses, etc. and knowing just what to say to them to snap them back into rhythm.
University of Washington 2009 San Diego Crew Classic MV8+ grand final
Listen to how she calls the move at 900 and then carries that energy over into the third 500, in addition to what specifically she’s saying. All listen to how towards the end of the race (when the pack is tight) she’s keeping the focus on her crew instead of making a lot of calls about where the other crews are. She still tells them where they are but the primary focus is on getting her boat rowing well and maintaining it because without that, the moves they make won’t be as effective. Again … awareness is what helped give her crew the edge.
You can find and listen to more recordings by checking out the “Coxswain Recordings” page.