Tag: ohio state university

College Rowing Video of the Week

Video of the Week: Ohio State Engineering + Rowing

During the two and a half years I was at Ohio State (my junior and senior years of college), all of my physics and math classes were in the engineering building. During one of my physics classes our TA, who was a mechanical engineering grad student, brought up fluid dynamics and rowing and I swear, I have never paid more attention to a math/science-related discussion in my life.

As the rower in the video said, there’s a lot of engineering in rowing so if you’re good at math and science it’s definitely a major worth looking into. Once you graduate you could always translate it into a career with any one of the boat-making companies if you wanted to stick around the rowing world.

Coxswain recordings, pt. 15

College Coxing Racing Recordings

Coxswain recordings, pt. 15

Cal Berkeley 2001 Pac 10 Championships

I tend to think that likening coxswains to jockeys is kind of a lazy (and not totally representative) comparison but this is the first recording I’ve listened to where the visual I have in my head is of the coxswain just whipping his racehorse(s) the whole way down the course to make sure their nose is in front at the end. I know this in your face, brute-ish style of coxing isn’t for everyone but I love it. His style is very crisp, powerful, and determined – you can hear that when he’s talking to the individuals in the boat (which he does frequently) and when he’s making calls for “the Bears”.

Information-wise, you hear him give consistent updates on the time and splits, in addition to the specific time when he’s going to call their next move. I hadn’t heard that before listening to this recording and thought it was an interesting strategy – it’s basically just a different (better?) way of saying “in two”.

The other thing I liked was his tone in the lead-up to their moves. 2:20 is a good example of this. He’s very measured in his tone, the calls are simple, and then at 2:28 you can almost feel the surge in power when he says “NOW!“.

Other calls I liked:

“Quick and light…”

“Sit up tall, breathe deep…”

“Bears are gonna move…”

“5 more, break ’em…”

“Coming into the last 15, this one’s gonna hurt ’em, kill ’em now…

Ohio State University Women’s 2V8+ and V8+ 2013 NCAA Championships

There’s not a ton of audio to listen to in this video (it contains clips from the 2V8+ and Varsity 8+ races) but one thing I wanted to point out is the clip at 2:41 when she says “Ohio State Buckeyes are out in the lead! We are out … in … the lead.”. It’s a super simple call but the way she says it is confident as fuck. I also like the call at 3:18 – “they’re making moves back, they will get nothing out of us…”.

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

It’s OK to not be in first place…

College Coxing Racing

It’s OK to not be in first place…

…coming off the starting line.

I was watching the NCAA Championships yesterday morning and was pleasantly surprised to see Ohio State dominate the V4+ and 2V races. (You can watch the full replay of yesterday’s races here. The V4+ race is at the 89:51 mark and the 2V race is at 109:11.) When I’m coxing, something that I like to do with my crews is get out ahead immediately. I would much rather defend a lead than work towards it – psychologically I just think there’s less hurdles to overcome when you start in the lead. Plus, it was just one of those things that all the coaches I’ve ever had have taught me. Both of Ohio State’s boats though, despite winning by 3 seconds and 2 seconds respectively, started behind. The V4+ started in fourth place and the 2V started in 3rd. As I was watching the races I noticed something: it seemed like both coxswains were content to not be in front off the line, like not being in first was OK … or something.

This got me thinking – both boats started behind but then dominated the field the rest of the way down the course. Maybe not being in first off the line is OK. By the time the 2V had reached the 500m mark, they were sitting in 3rd place, 0.65 seconds behind first. Right around the 1000m mark (2:45ish into the race), the coxswain made a call that resulted in the boat walking about a deck length in five(ish) strokes. From there, they were gone. Same with the V4+. They started back, worked their way up (effortlessly), and then refused to relinquish the top spot. I’m still a huge proponent of getting your bow in front right away and keeping it there but I also enjoy a good challenge. Being in front means you have a target on your back which only makes it easier for me to hunt you down, one by one by one.

The point is this: patience is everything. Be content to not necessarily be in front but don’t settle for that. When you’re coxing you want to give your crew small, achievable goals throughout the race with the ultimate one being to cross the line first. After the start (the full start, no sooner than 3ooish meters in), find out where you are in relation to the other crews and go from there. If you’re sitting in third, forget about the first place crew. Set your sights on second place and start taking the strokes you need to walk through them. Once you’ve absorbed them, put your focus on the first place crew. Once you’ve gotten through them, put your focus on pushing everyone else back and reeling the line in. Part of the reason why coxswains get frantic at the start when they’re behind is because they put all their energy into walking on the crew that’s way out ahead in first instead of the crew that’s only three seats ahead in second. If you maintain an aggressive composure, your boat will too.

Don’t panic if you don’t start quick off the line. Instead, focus on rowing smarter than the rest of the field and giving your crew all the information you have so they can put together the right combination of solid strokes to get their bow out front. And, like the announcer said during the V4+ race, it’s all about strategy. Some crews just aren’t good off the line but they’ve got a killer middle 1000. This is another spot where knowing your crew’s tendencies will be of huge benefit to you. If I had to throw out a guess, I think this was part of Ohio State’s strategy; come off the line solid but conserve the bulk of their power for the middle, which was where both crews started to break the rest of the field.

Image via // @rbcmsweeps