Monday, April 30, 2007

Still Nicer Than Vespolis

Since when has Washington used Empachers? In the photos of their dual with Cal, the men's varsity eight is rowing in one. That's surprising, considering Pocock's long association with Washington rowing. It's only the 1V, though. The junior varsity, freshman, and varsity four are all still rowing Pococks. Weird. I never thought I'd see Washington in anything but a Pocock.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


I found a podcast on the Apple store that broadcasts videos of Cal crew races. The name of the podcast is "Friends of Cal Crew Video Archive", and while it's very Cal/West Coast-centric, it's also a chance to observe some excellent racing (this season's racing includes duals against Wisco and Stanford). The videos are sponsored by Resolute Racing Shells and include starting lineups and statistics like stroke rates, 500m splits, and boat speed (mph). If rowing ever reaches a widespread audience in the United States, this is a good idea on how it should be done, although I would like more color commentary, and maybe a livelier announcer.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Boat Race

Congratulations to the Light Blues, winners of the 153rd University Boat Race. I don't know if the Race has ever been broadcast in the United States, but I'm glad that ESPN got the rights to broadcast in America this year (even though it's just ludicrous that I had to wake up on a Saturday!).

One of the things that impressed me the most about the coverage of the race was the cinematography in the pre-race introductions. Everything, from the opening montage to the crew introductions were well crafted and seemed to display the beauty of the sport so well.

The race itself was a pretty good one. Oxford, billed as the underdogs by a significant margin, put up a hell of a fight right through the Surrey Bend. However, Cambridge held onto Oxford throughout, and just pounded through the last half of that race.

I've always been an Oxford fan, ever since I learned of the Boat Race. I don't know why, maybe I have something for Dark Blues; I've cheered for Yale in every event they've ever competed against Harvard. For Oxford to lose is a bit of a disappointment, but when one learns of Tom James winning his first of four Boat Races, you can't help but be a little happy for the guy. It must also feel good for Duncan Holland to win his first Boat Race after last year's debut loss to Oxford.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Ecstasy and the Agony

My teammates had their first race this weekend. Apparently, there was some good racing, and from what I've heard, there's still a lot of work to do in order for the 1V to reach their potential by the time the championships roll around.

It's still very tough hearing about races and looking at results, knowing that I might have been in one of the boats that raced this weekend if not for my back. It's even worse than being the spare or not making weight in a lights race, because my absence is not due to lack of dedication or training time; instead it's an uncontrollable weakness of my body. I can't imagine what it's going to be like after my years of college eligibility are up. I know I'm never going to be an elite oarsman, no matter how hard I work; I have too much in the way of physiology and size working against me. But I don't think I could stay disconnected from the sport for even a few months, whether I'm holding an oar or a megaphone.

Now for the pain: running sucks! That's about it. I enjoy it, but I'm terrible at it. I would love to run a marathon or even a 5k someday, but even when I'm at my fittest as a rower, I still can't run fast or far. It's far from ideal, but now that it's nice out, there's no way I'm going to spend my days in the stuffy, overcrowded gym.


In other news, congratulations to the USC women and Stanford men for winning the Jessop-Whittier and Copley Cup at the Crew Classic this year. This makes two in a row for Stanford, who defeated Cal by a little over a second this year; last year, they beat Cal by two seconds (of course, Cal ended up winning the rest of their races against Stanford, the Pac-10 championships, and the IRA MV8). There was also a strong field in both the Men's and Women's Cal Cup races, with 20 entries in the men's race and 17 in the women's. UC Davis won the women's event, while UCSD won the men's. From what I understand, the Cal Cup is becoming the race for smaller programs at the Crew Classic; hopefully this trend of crews coming from places as far away as Philly and Buffalo to race in San Diego will continue to grow.