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Posts Tagged ‘US Rowing’

A very important weekend for Team USA: the Fall Speed Order, the first official selection event of the Olympic year!

Intense head-racing at the Fall Speed Order! Amanda and I are in the middle boat. (photo by row2k)

  
The Fall Speed Order was composed of two days of racing– a 6km test on the ergometer on Saturday, followed the next day by a 4.5km head race on Lake Carnegie. Sunday’s starting order was determined by our placement on the erg test.

Amanda and I (photo by Allison Frederick)

 
My 6k erg test wasn’t a PR (personal record), but it was still close enough for me to be confident in our race preparations. But thanks to a stellar PR effort from my pair partner, Amanda and I earned the second starting position, in between two very fast and capable boats.  (In a head race, crews are started in a time-trial format with 10-20 second margins, and the fastest overall time wins.)
 
In stroke seat of a pair, I control the steering rudder with my shoe, but I rely on Amanda in bow seat to look around and give me directions. She was a total racing rockstar: she steered us around the course buoys, bridge abuttments, and rogue Canadian geese with the best possible course! (Unlike some mens’ pairs, who had some scarily-close encounters with the Washington St. Bridge! eek!) With two bridges and several turns on Lake Carnegie, good steering could make the difference between winning and losing.
 

3.5km down, 1km to go! (photo by Allison Frederick)

 
Mother Nature was kind to us– no rain, no wind, not even a blizzard! Instead, it was a beautiful, crisp fall morning; absolutely perfect rowing conditions!
 
 Amanda and I are super excited about our second place finish. We still agree that some technical improvements can help us squeeze out those extra seconds needed for a first-place effort, but all in all, it was a great weekend for us!

A perfect day for racing at the Princeton Boathouse

 
You can check out results and racing galleries on US Rowing’s website, here. Go Team USA!
 
P.S. Don’t forget to purchase your Power and Grace Calendar!  Great stocking stuffers!
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First, a HUGE CONGRATS to the ladies of the Lewis and Clark High School Cross-Country Team! They just won 4th place at the Washington XC State Championships! Good work, Tigers! (Wow, has it really been eight years since I ran for LCXC?? Where has time gone?)

LC Cross Country: GSL Champs! 4th at State! Go Tigers!

 
While the LC runners have been winning races all over Washington State, I’ve also had my fair share of fall adventures:
 
–Kids’ Pizza Party! Mara Allen is not only a talented rower, but also a cooking wizard with an entrepreneurial spirit. In order to make some extra money, she was hired to host a Halloween-themed pizza-making birthday party for a group of eleven-year-old girls, and Adrienne and I were drafted as sous-chefs!

Kneading the pizza dough with Chef Mara

 What an evening! Between making the pizza dough, decorating rice krispie treats, assembling the “mummy dogs” and “witches fingers”, and running the relay races (donuts on a string, egg walk, toilet paper mummy wrapping, bobbing for apples, etc etc), we ALL had a ridiculously fun time… not to mention the huge sugar high and pizza hangover! Check out the pictures on Mara’s cooking blog, A Tornado Has Hit The Kitchen

Homemade Pizza!

–Halloween Blizzard! The first snowfall of the year is usually just a light flurry. Not the case this past weekend, when a frigid nor’easter dumped inches all over the northeast, obliterating old records, covering the fall foliage with 6 inches of whitewash, and leaving most of NJ without power. With Princeton looking like a Winter Wonderland, it’s no wonder that Starbucks broke out the Christmas-themed cups! And yes, we still had practice. Brrrrrr.

Snow on the ground, but leaves still on the trees...

 

... and our Halloween decorations have seen warmer days

–Princeton Chase!  The six inches of fresh snow didn’t stop hundreds of college rowers from descending upon Lake Carnegie for the Princeton Chase, the last large headrace of the collegiate fall season. After Saturday’s white-out, the Sunday’s sunny skies were a welcome relief for competitors and spectators alike!

Snow on the ground, sun in the sky, perfect day for a race!

Team USA showed up to cheer on our college programs (Go Yale!), mingle with friends and sample the delicious spread at the parents’ tents, and to man the “Power and Grace” fundraising table.

The ladies of Team USA selling our Power and Grace Calendar

–Power and Grace! Autograph sessions, athlete meet-and-greets, sale tents at fall regattas… the USA Calendar Selling Team is out in full-force! Public response has been very encouraging;  we’ve received all sorts of positive feedback about the 2012 Calendar, and everyone is excited to help support our fundraising efforts!  Check out this article published by the NJ Newsroom! The author, Joe Favorito, is a sports marketing guru, so the piece has a sports business angle highlighting our grass-roots initiatives.

Buy your Power and Grace Calendar today!  You won’t be disappointed, I’m totally stoked about how well it turned out! Plus, all the proceeds from this fundraiser go directly to my teammates and I in our pursuit of the 2012 Olympics.

another teaser!

 
Rowing! (lots and lots of rowing). Even with all these fun diversions, the women of Team USA remain focused on our primary activity: good hard training. With less than nine months until the Opening Ceremonies, Fall 2011 is an important time to gain fitness, improve technical efficiency, and build up our strength. So with those goals in mind, we’ve been logging a lot of kilometers out on Lake Carnegie. Our first major selection race, the Fall Speed Order, is next weekend. Wish us luck!

A beautiful (snow-free!) morning at the Princeton Boathouse

 
On a final note:  A shameless plug for my brilliant younger sister, who has returned to Siberia under the Fulbright Fellowship. Her vision and drive absolutely inspire me, and her tales of Russian babushkas and midwinter ski trips and Soviet-era hospitals are fascinating, engaging, and often hilarious. Read about her amazing exploits in her blog: www.romanyredman.wordpress.com

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This is the day we’ve all been waiting for… the 2012 Power and Grace Calendar is here!  Order yours today!

www.thetimefactory.com/products/us-womens-rowing-team

 The first shipment just arrived from the printers, and they are everything we hoped– beautiful, tasteful, and inspirational. With on-water action shots, studio portraits, athlete testimonials, and inspirational quotes, the 2012 Power and Grace Calendar is even better than last year!  

A teaser!

  We enlisted the expertise of two amazing NYC photographers, Jordan Matters and Jeremy Saladyga, and their final shots were absolutely stunning! It’s difficult to simultaneously capture the raw strength and feminine grace of our sport, but Jordan and Jeremy hit a photographic home run; I couldn’t be more excited. For a behind-the-scenes description of our epic dawn-til-dusk photo shoot, and to preview some teaser photos, visit Jordan’s blog: http://jordanmatter.blogspot.com/2011/07/25-beautiful-women-and-2-frantic.html

 

Another teaser!

 
All of the proceeds of this fundraiser go directly to the women of the US Rowing Training Center. By buying one (or 100!) of our calendars, you are helping my teammates and I pay for rent, groceries, health care, and other training expenses. With less than ten months to the 2012 Olympics, I can assure you that every dollar will be wisely spent and sincerely appreciated!
 

For more behind-the-scenes fun, check out my photo shoot blog entry: https://jamieredman.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/photoshoots-and-more/

Megan Kalmoe also made a fun video of our pre-dawn photo shoot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2m4FV84-Y4
 
Order yours today!  Go Team USA!

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Six minutes, three seconds: the past ten months of training, the hundreds of kilometers on the water, the gallons and gallons of sweat… and it all came down to six minutes and three-point-six-five seconds. The competition was tight, and the rowing wasn’t always pretty, but when those six-odd minutes were over, it was the American bowball that crossed the finish line first!  (Watch the footage! here or here )

World Champions! (photo by Alison Frederick)

At the close of our prerace pep talk, Coach reminded us of Olympic qualification. “Just try to get top five,” he said, only half-joking. We were strong and fast enough to contend for the gold, he told us, but if a catastrophe should occur (as it did in 2003), we should fight to the death for that fifth qualifying position. So when we crossed the 500m mark in fifth place, I suppose Coach might’ve worried that we took his final advice a little too seriously!

Great Britain, Netherlands, Canada, Romania, and China were all extremely fast off the start, and the first few minutes found us in the back of the pack (eek!). However, Mary kept us from panicking or becoming frazzled. Our lane was right in between Great Britain and Canada; the two English-speaking coxswains could’ve rattled our concentration, but we had prepared for the distractions during our pre-race visualization… amidst all the yelling coxswains and splashing oars and cheering spectators, Mary’s voice was the only sound we heard.  And because all eight rowers were absolutely focused on their coxswain, when she told us to move, we MOVED!

Canada and the US sprinting to the finish line (photo by Alison Frederick)

Gradually, seat by seat, we worked our way back through the field.  We pushed our way through Great Britain and the Netherlands, but the Canadian crew was determined to hold our charge. As we crossed the 1500m mark, we were neck and neck. I don’t remember too much of the next ninety-seconds: exercise-induced amnesia, if you will. My lungs were burning, I couldn’t feel my legs, I heard Mary call for the final build, and I just prayed that we would make it to the line before my arms fell off!

But all of our training paid off during that final sprint, and the Americans earned the gold medal by point-seven seconds!  An absolutely thrilling race! 

The Cox Toss! (photo by Alison Frederick)

As we stood on the medals dock and listened to the national anthem, I felt so honored and proud to be wearing the red, white, and blue. This 2011 Final was a telling preview of the tight and intense racing we can expect at the 2012 Olympics.  This was not an easy victory for the Americans: Canada fought us for every single inch. In fact, every boat in our final displayed impressive speed and racing strategy, as evidenced by the tight margins between first and fifth place. We will have to work especially diligently during the next eleven months to defend our title!

Eurosport interview on the medals dock (photo by Alison Frederick)

What’s on tap for the next few weeks? Well, under the new Worlds schedule, there are still two days of finals. So I plan to cheer on my teammates, enjoy the sunshine, and sample Bled’s many tourist attractions. Then Mom and I are off for a week’s tour of the Slovenian Alps (!!), before I head back to New Jersey to recommence training.  Thank you so much for all your messages and positive support! I could not have achieved this success without all your encouragement!

 P.S.  I just discovered that I might or might not have added the wrong postage to all my postcards. Oops. But never fear, they should arrive by Christmas…

Check out racing coverage and photo galleries at www.row2k.com, read the US Rowing press release here, or you can watch our final here!

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Competition will always be fierce at Worlds—every rower shows up to the starting line in tip-top shape, fueled by national pride, and thirsty for gold.

A Pre-Race Practice on Lake Bled (photo by Alison Frederick)

But racing at the 2011 World Champs will be even more inspired… This year, there is an additional carrot dangling in front of our noses: Olympic qualification! The International Olympic Committee caps the number of entries for the Olympic regatta, so a crew’s finish at the 2011 Worlds becomes especially important.  For my boat (W8+), the magic number is five:  a top-five finish will guarantee the USA an entry in the Olympic women’s eight. Other events require a top-7, top-9, or top-11 finish to earn an Olympic berth.

Because of this additional motivation, the qualifying heats and semifinals have been particularly intense this year. The time difference between a third place (for a spot in the Finals, and a possible Olympic-qualifying spot) and fourth place (to the second-tiered final, with no guarantee of an Olympic entry) can be agonizingly small.  We’ve seen some incredibly tight finishes; American crews have been on both the positive and negative side of razor-slim margins.

Monday morning saw the first round of racing for the US Women’s Eight. Eight crews battled it out over two heats; the winner of each heat would head straight to the final, while the other crews would race again in the repechage on Wednesday morning.

Rowing to a top finish-- and a spot in the Finals!-- during our qualifying heat (photo by Alison Frederick)

After watching the first heat row by (Canada, China, Romania, Netherlands), we toed the line with Germany, Ukraine, and Great Britain.  The weather conditions were almost ideal for racing—warm, sunny, with just a light side wind in the middle 1000m.  

Even though we won at the Lucerne World Cup, we weren’t taking anything for granted…  I’ve been eyeing the competition at practice all week, and everyone looks fit, fast, and motivated. We were definitely going to approach this qualifying heat with a hundred-and-ten percent!

 The starting buzzer went off, and the race was underway!  With spectators cheering only a stone’s throw away from the starting blocks (and from the overlooking hotel balcony!), all the “Go USA”s resulted in a spirited and invigorating start!  We established an aggressive, solid race rhythm early on, and we were able to break free from the pack around the halfway mark.  We raced it to the line in 6:05, seven seconds ahead of the British.

 Canada won the first heat handily, and with a similar time (6:07), so they will join us in the Final. The top four finishers of Wednesday’s repechage will compose the rest of the field. I foresee some intense racing for the Final on Friday! Go USA!

The US Eight: ready to race! (photo by Alison Frederick)

Check out my facebook album of all our Bled adventures!

 You can keep track of Team USA on www.usrowing.org, and find comprehensive racing coverage, galleries, and video on www.row2k.com

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And it’s almost race time! 

Watching practice starts at the starting line

With every practice, we see more reminders that racing is *just* around the corner. Yesterday, the huge jumbotrons arrived, and the bubble-making apparatus was installed along the finish line. Classical music blared from the loudspeakers as local dancers practiced their routines for the Opening Ceremonies. This morning, the inflatable meter-markers were put up, and the EuroSport cameramen began testing out camera angles. Several athletes nearly had heart attacks when they passed the finish line right as officials tested the decibel level of the finish line horn! (“honk. honk! HONK! HONKHONK!” ) 

Teammates + an Alpine stream = best ice bath ever!

The excitement is palpable… all the countries have arrived, the boatyard is full, and the race course is crowded with practicing crews.  I have the utmost admiration for the course marshals making this event possible:  running the World Rowing Championships is no small feat!  Almost 450 crews, representing 68 countries, are entered into 27 different events.  With so many boats practicing on the course, it’s not surprising that there have been a few close calls… however, I’ve found that any language barrier can be overcome with some frantic yelling (“Hey China/Italy/Cuba, look out!!!”). Kudos to Mary, our fearless coxswain, who bravely asserts our place in the traffic pattern while keeping us safe from collisions!

The crowded boatyard (lastest tally on worldrowing.com= 68 countries, 448 crews, 1214 athletes!)

Spotted at the race course: a Belarusian pair-double combo (a “pairouble?”). One boat, four rowers, two sweep riggers, and two sculling riggers… I’m not quite sure what they were doing, but it looked like they were going fast!  Another funny note: the American rowers have bought out all the peanut butter from the local grocery store. Hopefully they find some soon, lest we go into PB withdrawal!

Spotted at the race course: the Belarusian Team Masseuse. Anyone fancy some trigger point?

Lake Bled continues to impress us with its stunning scenery, even though we’ve lost the glassy, calm water of the past few days. The Slovenian heat wave has broken (thank goodness!), but with the cooler temps comes some gusty alpine weather. Alas. But we welcome the opportunity to train in wind– because who knows what Mother Nature will have in store for us on race day?  That being said, our weather woes are miniscule compared to those of the teammates and friends at home. We’re constantly checking for updates on Hurricane Irene, and we’re all praying for your safety! Best of luck weathering the storm!

One of the many promotional billboards around Bled

The W8+’s first race is on Monday, at 11am local time/5am Eastern time. So excited!! You can keep track of Team USA’s progress on www.worldrowing.com, or you can always trust www.row2k.com  for comprehensive racing coverage!

Go USA!

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Team USA has arrived in Slovenia!

The view from our hotel room: race course, castle, island church, Alps... beautiful!

Bled is one of Slovenia’s premier tourist destinations, and it only took us several seconds to comprehend why: Lake Bled is *unbelievably* picturesque. Photos can not do justice to the incredible beauty that Mother Nature has brought to this rowing venue!

The water is a deep emerald green, surrounded by the majestic Julian Alps. A medieval castle stands guard on the bluff overlooking the lake.

Bled Castle, the oldest castle in Slovenia

A 15th century church occupies the island at the 500m mark, and bells can often be heard tolling from the chapel steeple.

Bled Island, with the Assumption of Mary Pilgrimage Church

Even with such stunning scenery, Team USA remains focused on our pre-race preparations. We’re entering a critical period (t-minus four days until Opening Ceremonies!), so our training is a unique blend of race-pace work (to keep us fast), steady state (to keep us fit), and smart tapering (to keep us rested).  If all goes according to plan, we’ll show up at the starting line with rested legs and a killer instinct. So excited to race!

Rowing in the shadow of the Julian Alps

Finally, I just uploaded my first batch of photos onto some public facebook albums. Check it them out:   Munich’s facebook album and Bled’s facebook album

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