For those of you who haven’t heard my spiel in the last few years, I thought it’d be helpful to go over a few basics.
A few key terms:
-Crew (or “rowing”)- One of the only sports that originated as a form of capital punishment. Consider us all willing and enthusiastic galley slaves on the U.S.S. America. “Ben-Hur”, anyone?
-Rower- the brawn of the boat. Characterized by suntanned shoulders, callused hands, and muscular legs. While there is no height requirement, most rowers are tall: the added inches give us a little more leverage to power the boat down the race course. [Case in point: in my boat last summer, the four rowers were 6’0 (me), 6’0, 6’1, and 6’3]
-Coxswain (or cox)– the stern-most athlete in the boat. Generally small, loud, and assertive. She serves as our coach, navigator, and captain; she leads the workout, critiques our technique, calls the race plan, all while keeping us away from bridges, dams, and floating debris. [I tried coxing once, it’s harder than it looks!]. The biggest boats have coxswains, the smaller boats generally do not.
-Sweep Rowing– what I do. Each rower has one oar, and rows to a specific side (port or starboard). The eight (8+), the four (4-), and the pair (2-) are all sweep events at the World Championships.-Sculling- what I am learning how to do (albeit slowly). Each rower has two oars, one on each side of the boat. Remember Ryan Gosling in “The Notebook”? Kick Rachel McAdams out of the boat, make Ryan’s rowboat longer, skinnier, flatter, and fifty pounds lighter, and add a sliding seat, and presto! you have a single scull. The single (1x), the double (2x), and the quad (4x) are sculling events at the World Championships.
-World Championships—the goal! The 2010 Worlds are being held on Lake Karapiro in New Zealand (!!). Because of it’s location in the Southern Hemisphere, racing will occur much later in the year: the first week of November! (By comparison, the 2009 Worlds in Poland were held in August). So for the next six months, the US Women will be row row rowing away for a shot at wearing the Team USA uniform at this grand event.
More to come…