Posts Tagged ‘Lucerne’

As a reward for our first-place finish, we received an awesome Swiss Army knife! Susan and I are super excited. (photo by Alison Frederick)

What an incredible three days of rowing!  Excitement and drama was the order of the day at the World Cup Regatta in Lucerne, Switz… there were close finishes and surprise upsets in almost every single boat class! Definitely a good foreshadowing of the intense competition we’ll see in London.

The women’s eight race was no exception: all seven entries were serious contenders for a podium finish. During the heats on Friday, the brisk tailwind made for some very fast racing… so fast, in fact, that six world records were broken!  The men’s eight, the women’s quad, the men’s quad, the men’s four, the lightweight women’s double, and the women’s eight (USA!) all set new World’s Best Times.  (Of course, Mother Nature is primarily responsible… you gotta love a blazing tailwind).  Check out some awesome writeups here and here.

Some faaaaaaast conditions on the Rotsee! (photo by Alison Frederick)

Our win in the heats granted us an automatic berth in the Grand Final, so we lined up this afternoon against Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Great Britain, and Germany. A beautiful sunny Sunday, light tailwind, tons of spectators cheering on shore, the Swiss dairy cowbells clanging at the starting line… a perfect day for racing!

From the first stroke, it was obvious that this race was going to be a barnburner.  The entire field was only separated by a few seconds at the 500m mark, and we only led Canada by a seat at the halfway mark. In years past, the USA would start to seperate from the field in the third 500m, but not this year! There was absolutely no letup from our competition; it was obvious that we’d have to fight for every inch. Coming into the final stretch, it was USA ahead of Canada by about ¾ of a second, followed closely by Netherlands, with a tight race for 4th between the Australians and the British. And all of a sudden, Canada started to sprint. At 300m to go, they were 2 seats down… then they were 1 seat down… 100m left… ½ a seat down…. they’re level!… 5 strokes left, we’re giving everything we’ve got… they’re still level!… and we cross the line dead even.    We wait for the official time, and it’s USA, by only THREE-HUNDRETHS of a second.  Whew! (Here’s the USRowing press release)

Only point-zero-three seconds! (We’re in the yellow boat) The official photo-finish from worldrowing.com.

A thrilling race, a tight race, but it’s obvious that we still have some work to do before London. We only have two weeks until Olympic Trials (for the pair), and less than a month until Naming Date (for the quad and the eight), so we’re headed straight back to NJ to continue training and selection. Send me some good vibes over the next few weeks… as intense as the World Cup Regatta is, I think it’ll pale in comparison to the seat-racing we’ll see in the next few weeks!

Any blog post would be incomplete without a HUGE CONGRATS to my American teammates for their success this weekend!  Silver medal in the pair, bronze medal in the quad, and a close 4th in the lightweight women’s double, woohoo! Another shout-out to my Yale teammate and good friend Tess Gerrand ’10, who just punched her ticket to London with the Australian W8+!

Check out race results or racing coverage at www.worldrowing.com or www.usrowing.org


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An April sunrise on Lake Carnegie. Less than six weeks until the Olympic boat is named!

We have less than three months until the Olympics, and only six short weeks until the boat is named.  It seems that wherever I look, I see reminders that the Opening Ceremonies are just around the corner. This week, I opened up the New York Times travel section to see a full feature on London, the TV networks are starting to run the inspirational patriotic ads, I’m spotting the Olympic rings logo plastered on various credit cards and grocery items, Boathouse Sports (our gear sponsor) arrived in town to take our measurements for the Olympic gear package. I even met the cast of “The Today Show” when they came to the Princeton boathouse for a learn-to-row session with the Princeton varsity– Al, Matt, Ann… the whole gang!  With all the increased publicity and excitement, it’s often a humbling reality-check to realize that there are still 24 very qualified athletes competing for 15 coveted spots.

You’re Fired! Some of my teammates met Donald Trump at the “100 Days Till London!” celebration in Times Square

Healthwise, I’m feeling night-and-day better than I did in San Diego. A capable physical therapist + diligent stretching = a better-than-new rower! The training is intense, the volume is high, but I know I’m finally reaching my pre-accident level, whew.  Thank you for all of the positive messages; I’m so grateful to have such a stellar cheering section!

It’s going to be a crazy few weeks for Team USA. I’m typing this blog post at Newark International Airport, where we’re waiting to board our flight to Europe. Some of our teammates raced this weekend at World Cup #1 in Belgrade (see results here!), so we will join them in Breisach, Germany, for two weeks of training and selection.  We’ll then head down to Lucerne, Switz., for World Cup #2 (May 25-27).  Row2k wrote an excellent overview of the Olympic qualifying process for the US crews, you can check it out here.

I’ll try to stay updated with news and photos, but in the meantime, check out some of the media coverage of my talented teammates!

– Natalie Dell’s profile in USA Today
– Mary Whipple’s radio spot on NPR
– Megan Kalmoe named as World Rowing’s “Athlete of the Month”
– Giuseppe Lanzone named “#1 Most Mouth-Watering Male Olympian”  by Ryan Seacrest. com

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No more excuses: I’ve had three days to get over jet-lag, it’s time for an update!

The USA W8+ wins the gold in Lucerne! (photo by Allison Frederick)

This past weekend, Team USA raced at the World Cup Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland. Over three days, the best women’s eights in the world duked it out on Lake Rotsee in the last international competition before the World Championships.

We rowed in a different lineup than at the Henley Royal Regatta, so we focused hard during our midweek practices to define our new boat impulse. I moved up to the stern pair for this race, right behind our stroke seat, Kady. (Plus side= a better view, woohoo!  Minus side= I have to be *super-de-duper* reliable and consistent when following Kady’s rhythm.)

My pre-race butterflies were fluttering away when we pulled up to the starting line for Sunday’s Final, but I just took a deep breath, listened to Mary, and readied myself for a good, hard race. And what a race it was! With the swirly wind, we didn’t have the cleanest bladework, but we *definitely* had the relentless, aggressive rhythm we needed! My legs were burning by the last 500m!

The start (photo by Allison Frederick)

Netherlands and Great Britain blasted off the start, and Canada had a blistering mid-race charge, but we kept our cool, countered all our competitors’ moves, and sprinted like mad to the finish line! It was a close fight the whole way to the finish, but the USA took home the gold!

Congrats to my American teammates for their success this weekend: 3rd and 4th in the women’s pairs, 3rd in the men’s four, 4th in the women’s quad, 4th in the men’s eight! And, a HUGE SHOUTOUT to our lightweight double: they were crowned CHAMPIONS of the World Cup Circuit!!!  Gold in Hamburg, Bronze in Munich, and Bronze in Lucerne! Good work, ladies!

Julie and Kristin rockin' their yellow jerseys! Good work, ladies! (photo by row2k.com)

Eurosport and Universal Sports had all their camera barges at the regatta, you can check out their video of our race !  I’m in seven-seat, right behind the stroke seat. There is also extensive racing coverage and photo galleries on www.row2k.com/worlds.

What’s on tap next for Team USA?  The official naming date for the World Championships squad is approaching quickly, so I foresee some intense seat-racing and team-wide racing during the next two weeks. In the meantime, New Jersey is in the middle of a heat wave, so my current goal is to NOT MELT (easier said than done!).

Update:I posted some pics in a public facebook album! Check it out here.

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Hello from Switzerland!

Hello from the country of chocolate, cheese, and handy pocket knives!

We’re here in Lucerne to race at the third World Cup Regatta of the summer. The World Cup Circuit allows a team to test a boats’ speed/race plan/lineup before the all-important World Championships in August. And because the 2011 World Champs are also the official Olympic Qualifying Regatta, you can rest assured that everyone is bringing their A-game to the starting line this weekend!

Many of our European counterparts already attended the first two regattas—World Cup I in Munich (May), and World Cup II in Hamburg (June)—but the Lucerne World Cup is the first summer race with a full American squad. With only six-odd weeks until the World Championships, this regatta is definitely well-subscribed: fifty countries are represented!

The American women are entered in six events: the single, double, quad, two entries in the pair, and the eight. We’ve made some line-up changes since Henley, but I’ll still be racing in the eight. We’ve spent the last few practices solidifying the boat rhythm with our new line-up, and I can’t wait to test our speed during tomorrow’s heats!

With beautiful water, a mountain view, and the clanging of cowbells along the shore, could an afternoon row get any better?

I absolutely love training on Lake Rotsee. Blue-green water, warm weather, Mt. Pilatus in the distance, Swiss chalets overlooking the course… the scenery alone is worth a visit! Update: Mother Nature is keeping us on our toes. This afternoon, out of *nowhere*, a huge Alpine squall descended upon Lake Rotsee! (Check out row2k’s video footage!). We had a narrow escape: we were putting the boat away in the racks when the storm descended in all its fury. Mad dash for cover!  Fingers crossed for sunny skies and calm winds for tomorrow’s races!

Now where did that come from? Seeking shelter from a sudden storm

On a fun note, I spotted some Bloomsday shirts in the grocery store at the Lucerne Train Station!  “WAIT—are you from Spokane??!” And sure enough, the six teenagers were cross-country runners from North Central High School, on a summer tour of Switzerland!  We had a mini Spokanite reunion in the produce section. Woohoo, yay for Spokane! What are the odds?

It’s a small world: Spokanites reunite in the Lucerne Train Station’s grocery store!

We race tomorrow at 1pm against Poland, Great Britain, and Romania. Check out results at www.row2k.com, or www.worldrowing.com. Go Team USA!

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I’ve been home for two weeks now. I’ve slept through my jet lag. I’ve laundered all my unisuits. I’ve restocked the fridge. I’ve downloaded all my pictures. And we’ve repaired our faulty wireless router.  I no longer have an excuse to procrastinate…
SO, without further ado….  LUCERNE RECAP!

Translation: "World Cup at Rotsee"

Team USA sent 18 boats to race at World Cup III. I was lucky enough to race in two events: the straight four (4-) and the eight (8+). And boy oh boy, was it fun!  I think we spend so much time training, that sometimes we forget how exhilarating it is to suit up, line up, and duke it down the race course!

USA W4-: Gold! (Mara Allen, Laura Larsen-Strecker, Sarah Zalenka, and me)

The W4- only had four entries (USA, Germany, China, and India), so it was straight to Final A for all crews. We established a good rhythm early on, and built up a solid lead all the way to the finish line. And while the race was intense, it almost paled in comparison to the race against Mother Nature: rowers and spectators alike sprinting for the bus as a gigantic summer thunderstorm descended upon Rotsee.

USA W8+: Gold!

The W8+ race was an exhilarating event, culminating in a blazing last 500m to win the gold medal by a hair. We knew going into the regatta that Canada was the crew to beat: they’re strong, motivated, and have a super-fast start. They had almost a length lead by the 500m!  But we just focused on Katelin’s coxing, had faith in our fitness, and set up a strong enough base rhythm to eat away at the Canadian lead. 500m to go, we were still three seats down, but when Katelin told us “sprint”, we sprinted, ekeing out a 0.2 second victory.  A close win, but a win nonetheless!

The margin of victory: about 0.2 seconds

Finally, for your viewing pleasure, a few pics from the weekend:

Morning on Rotsee, with Mt. Pilatus in the background

Picture 1: A beautiful race course– blue water, mountain views, lakeside chalets, and Swiss cows with Swiss cowbells grazing by the starting line.

Marc Nowak, physical therapist and boat-rigger extraordinaire

Picture 2: Marc, our PT-extraordinaire and resident miracle-worker, helping us rig our brand-new straight-from-the-factory boats.

Enjoying Lucerne's tourist attractions

Picture 3: Sarah and I in front of Kapellbruke (Chapel Bridge) and Wasserturm (the Water Tower), two of Switzerland’s most famous landmarks

A Big Mac meal was running around $12, latte plus scone was about $9...

Picture 4:  You can take the US team out of America, but you can’t keep the American franchises away from the US team (Starbucks and McDonalds, right next door to our hotel)

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After a week of seat-racing (in pairs!), we have finally narrowed down the ten sweep rowers racing in Lucerne. We still don’t know the exact line-up, but this group is POWERFUL. We’re going to go fast!!!

World Cup Regattas are a valuable opportunity to gain international racing experience without the pressure or formality of the World Championships. Because our group is relatively young, we’ll all be doubling up between the eight and various small boats; I’ll probably be racing the straight four.

We leave this afternoon! I’m all packed and ready to go: racing gear? check. passport? check. blister pads and neosporin? check. I decided against packing laundry detergent (it’s only a week, after all), so with all the training outfits, my bag was almost fifty pounds! Two rows a day times eight days equals a lot of clothes.

I don’t know the internet situation in our hotel, but I’ll do my best to keep everyone posted!

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World Cup 3 is quickly approaching (July 9-11), and this week’s schedule will be devoted to selecting the US squad that will be racing in Lucerne, Switzerland. Some athletes, such as Gevvie Stone (W1x), or Glenn Ochal and Warren Anderson (M2x), were already selected based on their victories at the National Selection Regattas. For the rest of us, this week brings the full gamut of selection activities– erg tests, race pieces, weigh-ins, seat-racing—the coaches use all possible data to fairly and effectively determine the fastest boats.

For Lucerne, the US women will be racing the 2x, 4x, 2-, and 8+. Will our temporarily-injured athletes be healthy by July? Will athletes double-up in events? The coaches must also grapple with these issues, as they could affect boat line-ups.

Our first major event is tomorrow morning, a 6k erg test! When you only have an erg test every few months, you’ve got to make it count! So think fast thoughts for me tomorrow, and I’ll keep you posted on how things turn out.

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