Nov 6, 2016

Rowing Class #3

I've come to the realization that rowing successfully and in synch with 8 people in a shell is going to significantly improve my ability to be patient and my ability to focus and be relaxed at the same time. 

Yesterday was tough. 

I was in the bow seat, so seat 1 - or the first seat to cross the finish line if you are in a race. That seat is relied on at times to turn the shell around or to reposition shell if you are too close to a bridge pylons, the coxswain will call out, BOW SEAT 2 POWER STROKES, or maybe 3 or 4 and you have to get with the program and row, while everyone else is in the set position, moving as little as possible. And magically the shell moves. 

In the photo above Fran, in orange, Dave, in gray and Sarah in blue, they are in the set position. Raj and Michael, the 2nd and 3rd seat in the photo are the only ones rowing. 

In the set position you are sitting up straight, one hand on the edge of the shell, that is called the gunnel and the other hand on your oar. The oar should be balanced across your knees.  And set means exactly that, the shell has to be set or balanced so the other members of the crew can row, so their oars can enter and exit the water effortlessly.  

Yesterday when we transitioned rowing pairs, so seats 8 and 7 rowed then seats 6 and 5 would join while, 8 and 7 went to the set position, the transitions were not as smooth, the shell would list to one side or the other, and the rowers trying to get their oars in the water, could not complete a smooth stroke.  

Our coach, Mark Frampton, following along in a small boat, would have us all reset the shell, we would get to a place were the shell was perfectly balanced and then rowers would resume the stroke assignments.  We had to do this several times, certainly the importance of the set position and how you can impact it via the slightest move or distraction was a HUGE lesson for us all yesterday. 

Interesting the perspective from the bow seat, I could see everything that was going on and I would lose focus. I was distracted, trying to take everything that was going on, I was looking at the landscape of the water, the houses on the river, certainly I have to work on this.  

Focus is key to the success of 8 people rowing in synch. 

And lastly yesterday as we were right next to the dock positioning the shell so we could get out, my middle finger on my right hand got caught between the dock and the oar rig on my side, I yelled very loud, the shell was moved forward just a tiny bit and my hand was free.  


Coach Mark says it happens usually once in every class.  Fortunately nothing happened to my finger or hand. Certainly my finger hurts today, here is very little swelling and no bruising and no cuts.