October 29, 2010

Preparing for the Podium: 2010 World Rowing Championships

Assistant OKCNHPC Coach Bryan Volpenhein Analyzes Team USA

With the arrival of more crews at Lake Karapiro, the relaxed, rowing camp-like atmosphere athletes have enjoyed will cease to exist. There’s only one day to go before the start of the 2010 World Rowing Championship, and the tension will ramp up as more than 800 athletes gather to compete.

It’s a scene Bryan Vopenhein is very familiar with. Just two years ago he was sitting stroke seat in the men’s eight. Today he’s leading athletes from the coaching launch. And to his highly trained eye, Team USA is looking pretty good.

“I think we’ll definitely improve from last year, as the team looks pretty solid across the board. But how crews look in practice is not always how they look when racing,” said Volpenhein. “For us, performing well in the heats will be critical – the better we do early the more confidence it will give us throughout the regatta.”

Volpenhein was named to Team USA’s coaching staff for the lightweight men’s pair, lightweight men’s straight four and lightweight men’s eight for this year’s event, which takes place later in the year than it normally would to take advantage of spring weather in the southern hemisphere.

“Our season has been longer than it usually is due to the date change for Worlds. We haven’t raced in awhile, but the team is doing well – they all seem in good spirits and are excited to race,” said Volpenhein.

Pre-race excitement is still fresh in Volpenhein’s mind, though this is his second appearance as part of the coaching staff for Worlds.

“Last year was harder on me for sure, seeing people race and being only one year out of it myself. This year I feel more like a coach. I guess there will always be part of me that wants to get out there. I would be worried if there wasn’t.

Embracing his role as coach, Volpenhein is focusing on his athletes and what he wants them to take from their experience at Worlds.

“I want them to get medals. But, I also want them to learn about themselves and push themselves to places they haven’t been before. They should come away from the racing with a better sense of what they need to improve to make the podium in London. That is the real goal.”

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