Blowing Off the Dust

And a huff, and a puff, and a poof! New blog!

I have decided to dust off the ol’ rowing blog and begin documenting again the struggles of amateur mature athlete with a passion for an obscure sport training to row against other amateurs that are more talented, more dedicated, and plain fast. My latest goal is to compete in the World Rowing Masters Regatta in September 2018.

Since the last blog in 2015, there have been two big changes.

  1. I moved from the rowing mecca of Sarasota, its amazing facilities, waterways, and training pool, into what someone recently aptly described as a “gigantic void of rowing.” Lexington, Kentucky.  There are literally three locations for rowing clubs in the state of Kentucky, and all three are along or near the state’s Ohio River border: Louisville, Newport (aka Cincinnati), and Murray State at the Land Between the Lakes. There are more rowing clubs in West Virginia than Kentucky.
  2. I had a kid.  We landed in Lexington in January 2016, and in March 2017 Caelan joined the party. Talk about a major shift in your training schedule!
Baby Caelan

Baby Caelan, 11 months

It took a few months post-baby to get a rhythm going again. Plus there’s the whole issue of getting your basic body back before even thinking about competitive rowing. While I can’t train with the same intense schedule as I did in 2013, I intend to make the most of the time I can give. The good news is I have a “push present,” aka a single (more on that later), and some pretty sweet new oars. I’m training to race a Women’s A 2- and look forward to adding a few more boats.

About camckenna

I write; I row.
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3 Responses to Blowing Off the Dust

  1. If you really want a competitive advantage rowing, you need to talk to possibly the only rowing maverick in the world, me. My coach in college years ago spotted am East German 4+ crew in the Olympics rowing a deceptive technique that won them gold. ALMOST no one noticed, and almost no one understood. My coach did. I listened. I can teach you, and have you with a 20 second advantage on technique, and help you use weights despite “what everyone knows” that weights do not help rowing. If this intrigues you, please contact me. I also am an amateur exercise physiologist, with knowledge in sports nutrition and long term sports training, to recover from my massive heart disease.

    I rowed men’s (I am a guy) heavyweight and lightweight Crew in college, at 145 lbs and 154 lbs, including accidentally challenging into the B Varsity 4+. It had to be faster, and no one else could. They tried. I did it, with my coach’s preferred technique, which I can teach you. Website is in progress.

    Larry Wagner
    Maverick Oarsman

    • camckenna says:

      Thanks for your feedback. I would argue anyone competitive in the rowing world knows weight training is essential. My second coach also favored the East German style and the big layback. I know this style works for some rowers, but as a composite rower, my style needs to match the crews I join. I much prefer to work within my natural posture and protect my back.

      Best of luck!

      • Laurence Wagner says:

        People weight training for rowing, but do not get the best response they would if their rowing mechanics matched their weightlifting mechanics, and angles of pull. What most people do in a boat is dangerous in a weight room. They think it does not matter. It does. The trick is altering the water stroke to take advantage of better mechanics. Olympian Drew Ginn of Australia does this. But he does not yet seem to have the total ultimate rowing stroke. Another aspect of it is contrary to current rowing myths, followed by all.

        No one rows this technique I use. It uses minimal layback, It is far safer for the back than the standard form people row with. Over use of ergs for forty years has everyone ignoring handle motion on ergs, and defying physics in the boat. Result: huge amounts of missed water near the catch, washed out finishes to avoid learning good finish technique, and very short strokes through the water for which they compensate by trying to be super strong. The technique I row eliminates the seesaw motion of stern check, seen as boats slow between strokes prior to surging with the drive of oars in the water. Again, Drew Ginn has experimented with this, but only partially. Canadian women won a 2x or 2- at the line, oars out of the water, against a boat in mid stroke. The photo finish was amazing. Team slid to stern, and shot past the silver medalists who were ahead, and midstroke. THAT is why stern check needs to be eliminated.

        I rowed in an alumni crew day workout in 2015, at age 60. Everyone else in my 8+ were heavyweights 15 to 35 years younger. I rowed the same long smooth stroke I rowed in the 70’s, and kept up the entire workout. Pulling more water, I powered the boat again. Old school. Still fast. I now row a long boat set up for sculling. Great workout. No stern check.

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