Good day at HOTO

Our performance today at HOTO was a satisfying way to end the fall season.

The women went first. This video shows most of the event of 26 boats. Sorry about the bad focus with the nearer leaves. We show up at 7:37. While filming, it’s impossible to tell which boat we are in the tiny camera screen (even at 20x zoom), so the coaches use binoculars. When I guess at boats being us, that’s by naked eye. It takes us a while to find you.

How did we do? The women placed 21st, but that doesn’t tell us much. The number we always use for year-to-year comparison (because conditions on the river change) is percent-behind-first. This year our time was 1.166 times that of first, so we were 16.6% back. Our best percent ever was 9.1% (13th) in 2012. Our best place ever was 11th in 2017, 11.6% back. Considering how young we are, we did really well.

The men got slotted-in at the back of the “lower” fours after a week of trying to salvage the 8. Considering they only rowed in that lineup once before Sunday, I’m satisfied with how it went. The percent-behind-first can’t be compared because we should have rowed with the “upper” fours. With all the illness, we were just luck to race.

To provide similar data to the women’s event, our best percent and finish ever came in 2017. We were 10th, 9.2% back. That crew had 7 seniors, and junior, and a sophomore. Even if we made huge progress, I don’t think we can beat that boat next year. But maybe we can in two years.

I only have two big regrets. First, the men didn’t get to race in the 8 and set a benchmark to previous seasons. The second is how many varsity didn’t get to race after all there work to get there. Get some rest during the dead period, and come back ready to chase those past crews.

Granby Crew is recruiting

Looking for a sport for the fall, winter, and/or spring season(s)? Consider rowing. No prior experience is needed.  There are no try-outs.  There are no cuts.  If you’ve got the drive and enthusiasm to keep up with us, we’ll help you become a competitive athlete.  If you practice with us, you’ll race with us. We have a full year’s training planned (calendar is here).

Need convincing? Look at how well the new athletes did last year (posted below). Perhaps some past highlights will motivate you. Want more info? Start your reading here. There’s lots more info here. Want to ask questions? Come see us at freshmen orientation. If you’re worried this is a water sport, don’t be.

Want to improve your endurance? We do plenty of that. Want to lift? We do that too. Want to win races? We’ve done that at the Regional and State level. Want to learn while you train? Scroll down the posts below as far as 13Mar2020 to appreciate our emphasis on teaching and learning. Want a college athletic scholarship? Women have a better shot than almost all other sports; sorry men, it’s very rare for you.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are priorities for our team. I think we do an ok job on the last two, but we’ve never been as diverse as our school. It’s a failure I’d like to correct; thus, we’ll keep working on DEI. I’m not sure this addition will help recruiting, but it’s still worth saying.

Novices take two silver medals at VSRC1

Virginia Scholastic Rowing Championships is always a tough place to medal, and our novices met that challenge once again; very impressive (especially for the women, since three of their athletes only tried crew for the first time in February).  For those unfamiliar with rowing filmed from this angle, the action gets exciting around 3:30.  Of course if you’re in the boat, it’s exciting the whole 6-7min.

They looked good in heats too.  Hopefully this performance helps us recruit a big group of novices for next year.  We want many more student athletes to have this opportunity.


Team priority #2 is safesport (#1 is safety).  The video below enables that priority.  Safesport is about treating each other with respect and kindness.  And how we interact often starts with how we speak.  It’s worth taking some notes, and really thinking about the points being made, because this isn’t just about safesport.  Quality speech is a key skill for coxswains, captains, teammates, etc.  Want to do well in future job interviews?  Speech is vital.  Enjoy talking with friends?  Improve the conversations you have.  Oh… one more thing… notice how the video ends with speaking AND listening.  If you want people to listen to you, start by listening to them.  That’s safesport too.


Sitting is bad for you.  Do less sitting.  Can you stand while in class, or while doing homework?  Maybe you’ll discover that’s better for your learning… and your health.

Why we train so much

Our training calendar is intended to build readiness for racing.  Speed/skill in our sport demands many, many hours.  Believe it or not, the fastest crews invest even more time.  You can extra work, as long as it’s green/blue.  Build your cardio base, train healthy movement patterns, and strengthen key muscles.  For motivation, consider the following:

Practice and learn the little things now

The video below states:  “once a skill becomes automatic, thinking about its precise mechanics interferes with your ability to do it”.  Rowing well comes from being a good rower.  Being a good rower starts with being a good athlete.  Being a good athlete comes from the work done to get there.  That work includes learning ‘the little things’ correctly so they become automatically correct.  Right now we can be putting in so many quality reps to create good athletic and/or rowing skill.  Then when the pressure is on, you have all the nuanced work done and you can use external focus on the ultimate goal… boat speed.  I am not endorsing the Audible advertisement, but I do highly endorse The Boys in the Boat.  It’s a wonderful read.

Quality Practice

To sustain our daily workload, we need strong mental focus.  Watch the video below, then come back here to finish reading.  Did you catch this quote: “mastery isn’t simply about the amount of practice.  It’s also the quality and effectiveness of that practice”?  Was your run today the kind of quality practice that would truly make you better?  This TED-Ed video, just like the ones on running form, is incredibly information-dense.  I’ve watched it a bunch of times, finding improved understanding each viewing.  How many times did you watch today’s running video?  Once is enough for today, but not enough for your lifetime as a good runner.  This practice video will come up multiple times.  Maybe watch it again.

Training Opportunity

Athletes, we have the chance to follow a much better athletic training regime, one that gets closer to the plans being used by the best endurance athletes in the world.  For now, we need to start with the most important part… with WHY.  Watch the video below.  Consider reasons why your past training is flawed based on this research.  Consider why your typical school day is not ideal to optimal training.