WRMR 2018 Day 2

Another early morning! We had a fierce storm around midnight that woke us up and knocked out the power to our camper. It was a Murphy’s law kind of morning. Water bladder leaked all over the chair and floor. Left my socks in the camper. Couldn’t find the yoga mat.

We made it to the swamp (Nathan Benderson Park) in the pitch black for our first race, the third of the day.

The Women’s B 8+

This was a composite created by Asheville with rowers from all over. Our coxswain was amazing. All business, but with a tinge of humor. Made perfect calls from the boat meeting to recovery.

I sat 5 seat behind three statuesque rowers. All I had to do was jam and follow. As our coxswain said, this would be a fast and furious race. It’s the only polling start I’ve had this whole regatta, so I had time to breathe out, sit tall, and prepare.

From the buzzer and green light, we were surrounded by the roar of oars, water, and coxes propelling us forward. Start to finish, it was a solid row. We hung on, had the right rate, coxswain said all the right things. Other boats simply were faster.


Today I had solid rests between my races. I was able to see some of my friends race and win. I walked the venue, browsed the wares. Hung out in the shade.

Women’s A 2x

For some reason, I started getting a little nervous on this one, but not like the single. This time no ledges were approached and erging helped me talk myself off a ledge.

I decided to treat it like an erg workout. 5, 10, 10, and counting 20s. Breathing, technique, legs, persist, go. I turned off the stroke coach so I could look up and dial in on technique.

Holly and I pushed and pushed, but again were outclassed by fast and furious women. As a row, it was solid.


During this break my Women’s Straight 4 got together and started busting jokes about glitter, uniforms, and other lady things.

In case you don’t know, a straight four is a rare boat in the US. It lacks a coxswain. Each rower controls one oar for a total of four oars. In a quad, we would each have two for a total of eight. We learned that three of our straight four, myself included, had ever even been in one before, much less raced it. Joke: we entered the novice 4-. And I’d drawn the short straw of steering as bow.

We made a rough race plan. Start, 20, go. See how it was going. Maybe a power 10 in the middle if things were going well.

Stefanie hooked us up with a beautiful blue Vespoli boat. Surprise! The toe steering was hooked to stroke seat and not bow. Score for me! That didn’t get me off the hook for steering, but it lessened the load.

We cracked a joke about the bow number, Y4. As in, “why 4?”

The Women’s A 4-

Our row out was wobbly, not going to lie. As bow I have a lot of influence on the set so I tried my best to clean the release and use my core to stabilize the boat. We had a run to port that made me nervous with the cross-tail.

Locked on.

Stacey sat in 2 seat and chopped. I kept an eye on the angle, pointing slightly to compensate for the crosswind.


ERGH. Green. Go.

Start solid. High 20. Commotion. Splashing. We’re slightly up on lanes 3 and 5 beside us. Swinging. Going.

We’re tracking to starboard. “Star!” Back on. “Equal!”

I look right. Riverside is up on us. I’m sitting in three. I keep peeking. They’re moving away.

Red buoy. Halfway.

I’m on their deck. “Power 10!”

I’m pushing, pushing.

“Star!” Two strokes. “Equal.”

I’m peeking. We’re holding on Riverside.

Red buoys. Last 250.

“Go!” I scream.

Lauren takes us up. We’re all hauling on our oars. I can see it. I can feel it. We’re moving, but it’s not enough.

“Go! Go now!”

Bad stroke, half water. Wobble. Now I hear the crowd on the sidelines. Marley screaming about unicorns.

The gap has closed, but it’s so tight. Grandstands. “Go, Go, Go!” Everything into every stroke.


Shit. I can’t tell. No one can tell. Riverside and our boat are waiting. I can hear the announcer reading our names, but I don’t know if that’s because we won or because it was so close.

Normally there was a guy with a loudspeaker who called the winners over to the dock, but he wasn’t there. Waiting. Waiting. Catching breath.

Then one of the recovery area launch boats says, “Y4, please proceed to the winners dock.”

We can’t help cheering. Clap hands. Riverside is clearly disappointed. I looked up our time and it was thousandths of a second that we knicked the win.

Thank you Lauren, Stefanie, and Stacey for the fast novice ride in the straight four!

Other FISA notes:

I almost forgot to mention the two quads that collided in the launch/recovery area! A poor Fluidesign sank. Watch your points people!

About camckenna

I write; I row.
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