November 20, 2012

USRowing Midwest Speed Order Recap

Personal Bests: Midwest Athletes Make a Splash

Local athletes from Oklahoma City and surrounding areas came together this past weekend to compete at the USRowing Midwest Speed Order. The event consisted of a 6 kilometer erg test on Saturday that determined the starting order for a 4000 meter head race down the Oklahoma River on Sunday. A mix of National Team members and college athletes produced an exciting environment with Olympians cheering on college freshman at times. 

Max Goff
The first flight of 6K erg testing kicked off at the Devon Boathouse on Saturday afternoon with a throw down of the open and lightweight men. OKC Training Center's Max Goff was the first to set his handle down, finishing in 18:59.5 ahead of teammate Ryan Shelton who pulled off a personal best time of 19:05.0. London Olympian, Tom Peszek finished third in 19:15.6.

Two time Olympian Greg Ruckman  a solid had performance last weekend at the East Coast Speed Order finishing 25 seconds ahead of the field in the lightweight men's 6 K test. This week at the Midwest Speed Order, he elected to avoid the weigh in and compete in the open event. Greg Flood finished in first place for the lightweights in 19:54.2 ahead of second place Christian Klein who achieved a personal best time of 20:14.8. With two former lightweight Olympians rumored to have pulled 6K's on their own on Friday in the 19:55 to sub 20:10 range, the future looks promising for the lightweight four going into the 2013 season.

In the open and light women's group, Jen Forbes lead the field for much of the 6 K ahead of Kate Bertko. Forbes has been on the come back trail since returning from an injury which kept her from full time training for much of the summer. She ran out out of gas with 750 to go and was passed by Bertko who finished first in 22:07.2. Forbes pulled off a second place finish in a personal best time of 22:17.4. The next finisher was Michelle Sechser with the fastest time in the lightweight division in 22:30.8. Her 2012 US Lightweight Women's Quad teammate, Chelsea Smith, finished second in 22:58.3. Sechser and Smith both improved their personal records, as did several competitors from Oklahoma City University and the University of Tulsa. Watch for U of T lightweight women to do some damage this Spring racing in an new eight named the "Michelle Sechser '08".

On Sunday morning, after a beautiful Oklahoma sunrise, athletes lined up to race the 4000 meter head race portion of the speed order. In mostly flat conditions with a moderate cross wind, Peszek and Mike Gennaro pulled off the win in the open Men's Pair in 14:35.5. Christian Klein and Under 23 National team member Dan Kirrane finished first in the Lightweight Pair in 14:51.8.

OKCNHPC's Ryan Shelton finished first in the Open Men's single in 15:43.6 ahead of Ruckman (15:52.5). 


The winner on the lightweight side was Matt Maddamma from Oklahoma City University in 15:50.8. Maddamma finished fourth in the single at the 2009 Junior World Rowing Championships and lists "making the national team" on the OCU website as his "personal goal this year, athletic or not". This weekend's result may mean he is on track to achieve that goal as he posted the second fastest time overall for both open and lightweight events. Flood finished second in the lightweight single in 16:01.5.

Kate Bertko convincingly won the open women's single event, posting a 16:56.3. Jen Forbes made a big splash in her attempt to catch Bertko - literally. The increasing cross wind may have played a role in her failure to complete the 4 kilometer course as she flipped her boat just before the halfway mark. She'll look to avenge this result in the Spring at National Selection Regatta #1. 

Sechser closed out a successful weekend with a first place finish in the lightweight women's single in 17:19.5 despite a few minor "failure to yield" obstacles in her path. Smith finished second in 17:56.5 just barely nipping 2011 U23 National Team member Kat Schiro who finished third in 17:56.8.

Full results from the USRowing Midwest Speed Order can be found HERE

November 16, 2012

USRowing Midwest Speed Order Results Info

For minute-by-minute results from the USRowing Midwest Speed Order, follow us on twitter at twitter.com/RowOKC_HP .

Full results will be available HERE .

Brunchin' Around the Christmas Tree!

OKC National High Performance Center Holiday Brunch
Featuring live holiday music from OKC High Performance athlete, Jameson Harper

Come join us to celebrate the holiday season with a delicious brunch buffet at the Devon Boathouse. Bloody Mary's and Mimosas will be available for purchase. Tickets purchased online before December 5th are $15.00, tickets will be available at the door for $20.00.

Get your tickets HERE

Check out this video of Jameson performing the song Wagon Wheel:



November 12, 2012

USRowing Midwest Speed Order Preview

Oklahoma City National High Performance athletes will have the chance to go head to head this weekend at the USRowing Midwest Speed Order. The event will consist of a 6 kilometer erg test on Saturday, November 17th at the Devon Boathouse beginning at 1:15 PM. The results of the 6K will determine the starting order for the 4000 meter head race down the Oklahoma River on Sunday November 18th with the first flight sent off at 8:00 AM. The speed order will feature several Olympians and US National Team members along with local college teams in the six events: Men's Pair, Lightweight Men's Pair, Men's Single, Women's Single, Lightweight Men's Single, and Lightweight Women's Single.
Peszek
2012 London Olympian, Tom Peszek, will team up with Olympic alternate and 2011 Pan American Games gold medalist Mike Gennaro in the Men's Pair. They'll take on training center teammates, Max Goff and Ryan Monaghan. OKC rookies, Jameson Harper and Peter Dwyer will also race the pair in their first speed order.

Two OKC entries will go head to head in the Lightweight Men's Pair with Christian Klein and Dan Kirrane taking on Frank Petrucci and Kyle Traub. Klein competed in the 2011 World Rowing Championships in the Lightweight Eight while Kirrane stroked the Lightweight Four at the 2012 Under 23 World Rowing Championships. Petrucci represented the United States in the Lightweight Four at the 2011 Pan American Games.

Didier
Blaise Dider raced in the Men's Coxed Pair at the 2012 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. This weekend he'll go solo in the Men's Single event. He'll be up against teammates Henry Cole, Greg Ansolabehere, and Ryan Shelton. This event will also feature athletes from Oklahoma City University and OKC Riversport.

In the women's single, OKC's Kate Bertko and Jen Forbes will take on entries from Oklahoma City University and the University of Tulsa. Bertko competed in the Women's Double at the 2011 World Rowing Championships and won a silver medal in the Women's Quad at the 2009 World Rowing Championships. Forbes won a bronze medal in the Women's Eight at the 2011 Under 23 World Rowing Championships and will look to close the gap on Bertko since their last race at the Head of the Oklahoma.

Smith and Sechser
The Lightweight Men's single will consist of some fresh faces mixed with experienced competitors. Greg Flood competed in the Lightweight Men's Pair at the 2012 World Rowing Championships and will represent OKC as the lone training center entry. He will have a good chance to measure he's speed against two time Olympian, Greg Ruckman from Colorado Rowing Club. Ruckman just competed at the USRowing East Coast Speed Order finishing first in the 6K test and 2nd in the head race on Carnegie Lake in Princeton, NJ. Former Junior National Team member, Matt Maddamma, will race for Oklahoma City University.

Two members of the 4th place Lightweight Women's Quad at the 2012 World Rowing Championships, Michelle Sechser and Chelsea Smith, will headline the Lightweight Women's Single event this weekend. They'll get a challenge from teammate Kat Schiro who competed in the 2011 Under 23 World Championship Lightweight Quad and recently finished first at the 2012 Head of the Hooch. They'll be join by entries from Colorado Rowing Club and the University of Tulsa.

Minute by minute results will be available on twitter: @RowOKC_HP


November 09, 2012

Talent OKC: Who is the best example of an athlete successfully transferring to rowing?

In 2008, Great Britain's Helen Glover began rowing after her mother saw an ad in a newspaper calling for tall athletes to try rowing as part of the British talent identification program. She had played sports her entire life and competed internationally in cross country. Four years later she stood on top of the medal podium with her partner, Heather Stanning, after winning gold in the Women's Pair at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Tell us your best story of an athlete transferring to the sport of rowing by commenting on this blog post! You can also tweet your answers to @RowOKC_HP using #TalentOKC .

Your answers will be a part of next week's reader poll!

November 08, 2012

Heart of an Olympian/S.R.’s Silas Stafford on Suffering, Joy


Click HERE to see a great article and video from pressdemocrat.com featuring 2012 London Olympian Silas Stafford!

Bryan Volpenhein Named Men's National Team Coach

USRowing has hired Lucas McGee and Bryan Volpenhein as men’s coaches for the United States National Team, the organization announced on Tuesday. Both men will be responsible for the men's high performance sweep squad and will work in concert to develop, select and prepare the team for international competition.

Volpenhein, a three-time Olympian and 2004 Olympic gold medalist in the men’s eight, led the lightweight men’s four to Olympic qualification and an eighth-place overall finish at the 2012 Olympic Games. He also coached the U.S. men’s pair that finished eighth in London this summer. In addition to his current role as Director of the Oklahoma City High Performance Center, he will coach the men’s four and the lightweight men’s four at the USRowing Training Center – Oklahoma City.

"I'm honored to have this opportunity and I'm looking forward to the challenges ahead,” said Volpenhein. “I have tremendous respect for Luke and I'm excited to work with him to build a strong, competitive team. With Curtis' leadership and vision, I think this new structure is a step in the right direction. It will engage more of the rowing community and provide multiple avenues for athletes to succeed. I can't wait to get started."

November 05, 2012

Gold at the Hooch for OKC's Kat Schiro

Representing USRowing Training Center - OKC, Kat Schiro competed in the Head of the Hooch this past weekend, finishing first in the Women's Lightweight Single. The Head of the Hooch Regatta in Chattanooga, TN is a 5000 meter head race on the Tennessee River.

Schiro won the event comprised of 16 competitors in a time of 20:10.7 ahead of second place Marissa Catalanotto of the University of Tulsa in 20:56.1. Full results are available HERE .

The next race for Schiro will be the USRowing Midwest Speed Order November 17 and 18 on the Oklahoma River in OKC.

Talent OKC: Shara Stafford

Stafford with Rower Jen Forbes

With the Rio 2016 Olympic Games less than 4 years away, an exciting opportunity is available for men and women to explore a new sport at the elite level. The Oklahoma City National High Performance Center has developed the Talent OKC: Olympic Athlete Identification Program with a mission to select and recruit potential medal winning athletes, and to ensure clearly defined development pathways exist for the transfer of talented athletes to the sport of rowing.

Former University of Missouri swimmer, Shara Stafford, traveled to OKC this past weekend to participate in the Talent OKC program. Stafford competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Trials for swimming. She was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year in 2012, becoming just the second Mizzou student-athlete to earn a Big 12 postseason swimming and diving award. Stafford, a transfer from the University of Florida, earned three first team All-America honors at the 2012 NCAA Championships, where she finished fifth in the 50 free, sixth in the 100 free and was part of Mizzou's seventh-place 200 free relay team. She also claimed 100 and 200 free titles at 2012 Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championships.

Stafford was invited to OKC for four days for the second stage of the program - Talent Confirmation. This stage consisted of rowing instruction on the Concept 2 ergometer, indoor rowing tank, and on the water. She also competed standardized tests used to identify potential rowing talent, including several flexibility and stability tests, and anthropological measurements. Most importantly, her strength was tested using the Concept 2 Dyno. The exercises which measure arm press, leg press, and arm pull produce an overall picture of the general body strength.

Take a look at the videos showing Shara's progress after only three days on the water:




October 29, 2012

Talent OKC: Olympic Athlete Identification


With the Rio 2016 Olympic Games less than 4 years away, an exciting opportunity is available for men and women to explore a new sport at the elite level. No experience required. The Oklahoma City National High Performance Center has developed the Talent OKC: Olympic Athlete Identification Program with a mission to select and recruit potential medal winning athletes, and to ensure clearly defined development pathways exist for the transfer of talented athletes to the sport of rowing.

Can you answer YES to the following questions?

·        Have you competed in sport at the collegiate or elite level?
·        Do you have a US Passport (or are you eligible for a US Passport)?
·        Do you have the desire, commitment and determination to win?
·        Are you up for a once in a lifetime opportunity? 

If so, OKCNHPC would like you to participate in the Talent OKC Program at the OKC National High Performance Center. The OKCNHPC is located on the Oklahoma River, a US Olympic & Paralympic Training Site.
Rowing takes strength, determination, focus and patience. Regardless of your rowing experience, if you have the physical and psychological qualities to be an elite rower, you could find yourself competing as an international athlete, representing your country. Could you have what it takes to represent your country at the next Olympic Games?  

Talent OKC: Where do I sign up?
The Talent OKC: Olympic Athlete Identification Program consists of three stages: 1) Talent Identification; 2) Talent Confirmation and 3) Talent Development. Each stage of the program allows OKCNHPC to identify those individuals who have exceptional physical and psychological potential to develop into a high-performance athlete.

Talent Identification: To apply, simply click on the link below to complete the online application.

If successful at this first stage, you will be contacted by a staff member of the OKC National High Performance Center, inviting you to attend stage two of the selection process, Talent Confirmation, at the Devon Boathouse in Oklahoma City, Okla.

The sport of rowing consists of four categories:
Open Men - Ideal candidates are 6’5” or taller
Open Women - 6’0” or taller
Lightweight Men - 5’10” or taller and in the 155lbs to 165lbs weight range
Lightweight Women - 5’5” or taller and in the 125lbs to 135lbs

Click HERE to start your Talent OKC journey.

October 16, 2012

OKC Rowers Head to Boston


Crews from all over the world will flock to the Charles River this weekend for the 48th Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston. The two day event attracts approximately 9000 competitors and 300 000 spectators each year. OKC National High Performance Center will be well represented with several athletes competing in the 3.2 mile long head race that begins at Boston University's DeWolfe Boathouse near the Charles River Basin.

London Olympian, Tom Peszek, will be racing in the Men's Alumni Eights event for the University of Michigan on Saturday morning. The next race will feature OKC's Jen Forbes with the Northeastern University Alumni entry in the Women's Alumnae Eights event at 11:34 AM.

If you're near the banks of the Charles River at 2:49 PM, don't miss our very own Head Coach, Bryan Volpenhein, racing with in the Men's Masters Eights. The Olympic gold medalist and bronze medalist will be racing for Shannon Rowing Club.

In the Championship Men's Single at 4:14 PM, OKC athletes, Ryan Shelton, Will Daly, and Greg Ansolabehere will take on the best in the world including 2012 Olympic gold medalist, Mahe Drysdale.

Kate Bertko will be competing in the Championship Women's single at 4:23 PM. The event will feature Olympic gold medalist, Mirka Knapkova, from the Czech Republic and Olympic Bronze medalist, Kim Crowe, from Australia.

The first event on Sunday morning at 8:00 AM will be the Mixed Adaptive Four. OKC will be represented by Jason Beagle, Andrew Johnson, and Natalie McCarthy, who will be joined by Aerial Gilbert and coxswain, Anthony Chacon.

The crew of Max Goff, Blaise Didier, Peter Dwyer, and Jameson Harper will take on 19 other entries in the Championship Men's Four at 2:30 PM.

Oklahoma City's Ryan Monaghan will be competing in the Men's Championship Eight at 2:55 PM. He will be joined by Thomas DetlefsRobert Munn, Ian Silvera, and 2012 Olympians Mike Gennaro, Steve Kasprzyk, Grant James, Ross James, and coxswain, Zach Vlahos.

In the Lightweight Men's Eight, London Olympians, Robin Prendes, Anthony Fahden, and Will Daly will compete with Greg Flood, Dan Kirrane, Christian Klein, Kyle Traub, Frank Petrucci, and coxswain Katelin Snyder at 4:38 PM.

October 12, 2012

5 Tips for Success in Collegiate Rowing: Open Men

Our blog feature this week is "5 Tips for Success in Collegiate Rowing" from Oklahoma City Training Center athletes. Each weekday, our athletes will give pointers on how to get the most out of your collegiate rowing experience. If you have any specific categories of interest, tweet your ideas to @RowOKC_HP !
 
Today's tips, for Open Men, are from 2012 London Olympian, Tom Peszek.

Tom Peszek is a University of Michigan graduate and a 2012 London Olympian, finishing in 8th place in the Men's Pair with Silas Stafford. While competing in the Men's Pair at the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Slovenia, Tom placed 9th, achieving Olympic qualification for in the United States in the Men's Pair. In 2010, Tom was the stroke of the Men's Eight at the World Rowing Championships in New Zealand. You can follow Tom on twitter at twitter.com/TomPeszek .


5 Tips for Success in College Rowing: Open Men

1. More Steady State

My biggest regret from college rowing was that I simply did not do
enough extra steady state rowing and I always had a relatively
lackluster erg score as a result. A massive aerobic base is what makes
the difference in the back half of the race, so even if you can only
fit in a couple of 30-minute extra sessions a week, the dividends will
be enough to put your bow ball out in front when it matters.

2. Where’s Your Head At?

One of the great things about rowing as a sport is that each crew has
its own lane and the time that it takes you to go from the start to
the finish is completely independent of what the other crew does –
there is no way to play defense in rowing. So while racing, it is
useful to be aware of where the other crew is, but you must always be
single-mindedly focused on doing what it takes to make your boat move
as fast as possible. Looking out of the boat to see what the other
crew is doing can only hurt your own speed and will never make you
faster.

3. Make Every Kilometer Count

During long training sessions it can be very easy to zone out and just
go through the motions, especially on the erg. But every kilometer
spent without a determined focus on the technical aspects of your
rowing is a wasted kilometer. Make sure that, for every kilometer
you’re on the water, you are completely dedicated to at least one
specific technical change.

4. Fake It ‘Till You Make It

Race day is only a nerve-wracking day if you let it be. On race day,
confidence is king. So even if your confidence level is low, fake it.
The mere act of pretending to be confident will make you a more
confident and stronger rower. This is especially critical in team
boats, where confidence and nervousness are always contagious – never
let your teammates see you as anything except completely confident.

5. Pull Harder

You aren’t pulling hard enough. Pull harder.

October 11, 2012

5 Tips for Success in Collegiate Rowing: Open Women

Our blog feature this week is "5 Tips for Success in Collegiate Rowing" from Oklahoma City Training Center athletes. Each weekday, our athletes will give pointers on how to get the most out of your collegiate rowing experience. If you have any specific categories of interest, tweet your ideas to @RowOKC_HP !
 
Today's tips for Open Women are from Kelly Pierce.
 
 
Kelly Pierce is a 2012 graduate of Princeton University. While competing for Princeton, she contributed to a 2010-2011 undefeated season, which was capped off with winning the 2011 NCAA Championship. She won a bronze medal in the Women's Eight at the 2011 U23 World Rowing Championships. You can follow Kelly on twitter at twitter.com/kellpossible
 
 
 
 
5 Tips for Success in Collegiate Rowing: Open Women

Now an NCAA-backed sport, the world of Openweight Women's rowing is expanding at a rapid rate, adding tremendous depth and competition to the sport. Here are some tried-and-true tips on how to dramatically improve your performance and gain that crucial edge over your competitors.
 
1.Timing Your Meals
 
Though you might not hear it said as often, the timing of your eating is almost as important as what you eat. Eating as close to practice as possible and as soon as possible afterwards will not only keep you from feeling dead-legged during practice, but will also prevent your body from cannibalizing your muscles to refill its glycogen stores. For me, the biggest difference in my training came after I started having a snack or drinking some Gatorade about 2 hours before my workout; I felt noticeably fresher during practice and far less dead-legged after practice.
 
PRO-TIP: If you are eating a light lunch (or no lunch at all) because of class schedules or a late breakfast, reconsider. Making time to eat a decent lunch will help your performance considerably, and will also make you far less likely to consume everything in sight after your evening practice.
 
2. Extra Work Pays Dividends
 
Every program operates differently, but for those programs that tend toward one-a-days, adding in extra steady-state work on the erg in low heart rate zones (140-150s) can make a world of difference in your fitness. If your team workouts are concentrated into one, higher-intensity practice per day, low heart rate steady state on the side can help tremendously to improve your aerobic base without tiring you out. The frequency and volume of extra work should depend on your team's schedule. Assuming 6 team practices a week (not counting weights) , I would recommend adding in 2-3 steady state sessions of around 60 minutes, broken up however you like but into segments no shorter than 15 minutes. Sacrificing the quality of team practices or burning yourself out is not the goal here -- ease into the extra work if your team schedule allows it. Always check with your coach first before adding anything supplemental to your training plan.
 
PRO-TIP: If your team does not provide them already, purchase and use a basic heart rate monitor. It's value as a training tool cannot be overstated! Use it to make sure your supplemental work is in the correct zone. Over time, it also provides feedback as to how your fitness is progressing.
 
3. Keeping a Fitness Log
 
If you haven't already, purchase a small notebook to keep track of the workouts you're doing, the splits you're pulling, and the volume you are racking up. You can even write a couple words about how you were feeling that day, how seat-racing went, what your technical focus was, etc. This is something that most elite rowers do, and it's invaluable if you aim to improve your consistency. What's more, it's incredibly motivating to have written proof of your improvements. Crazy as it sounds, keeping track of my workouts over my collegiate career helped me go from absolutely dreading Winter Training to genuinely enjoying it-- all because I could see my progress and know for a fact the training was helpful.
 
PRO-TIP: Find time at the end of each month to transfer your workouts from your notebook to a spreadsheet or GoogleDoc. Not only will all your workouts be backed up in the event of a notebook calamity (which is especially likely if your notebook is your phone), but you will be able to access years worth of data very easily and draw more meaningful, long-term comparisons!
 
4. Creating Routines
 
A lot of collegiate rowing is about rolling with the punches, but creating routines where you can in life will improve your recovery and consistency tremendously. Getting enough sleep is obviously an important component in training, but establishing a consistent bedtime and wake up-time is nearly as important. This also applies to many other aspects of training not restricted to a time schedule: hydration, pre- and post-workout stretching, and (as mentioned above) eating will all help your performance immensely if enforced with consistency and ingrained into routine.
 
PRO-TIP: If you know the start time of an important race or erg piece in advance, practice waking up for that piece several days before the actual day. For example, if you have a 6k at 9:00 am on Saturday morning, practice waking up at 6:00 am on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
 
5. Find Something That Fires You Up
 
When it comes to the daily grind, finding something in the sport of rowing to pursue outside of winning a particular season-ending race can be incredibly motivating. It can be something as large as "I want to do well at the U-23 ID camp and get invited to U-23 National Team Selection", or as small as "I found a bunch of awesome songs, I can't wait to steady state to them." Finding larger, personal goals (U23s) will give you some extra 'oomph' during your hard workouts or when cumulative fatigue builds up. Smaller, day-to-day things (new music) will keep your routine fresh, fun, and make it that much easier to wake up every day and put in the hard work. 
 
PRO-TIP: Find that music-lover on your team and get them to scour music blogs for new music. Nothing energizes that last leg of a piece or long steady state workout like a new favorite song.

October 10, 2012

5 Tips for Success in Collegiate Rowing: Lightweight Men

Our blog feature this week is "5 Tips for Success in Collegiate Rowing" from Oklahoma City Training Center athletes. Each weekday, our athletes will give pointers on how to get the most out of your collegiate rowing experience. If you have any specific categories of interest, tweet your ideas to @RowOKC_HP !
 
Today's tips for Lightweight Men are from 2012 London Olympian, Robin Prendes.
 
Robin Prendes is a 2011 graduate of Princeton University. He competed in the Lightweight Men's Four at the London Olympic Games. Prendes raced in the Lightweight Men's Four at the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia and won a bronze medal at the 2010 U23 World Rowing Championships in the Lightweight Men's Four in Brest, Belarus. He is a two time IRA Champion in the Lightweight Men's Eight (2009, 2010). Robin is the founder of Ivy Tutors Okc . You can follow Robin on twitter at twitter.com/RobinPrendes
 
 
 
5 Tips For Success in Collegiate Rowing: Lightweight Men
 
Most of these are general tips for all college rowers but I think they are of particular importance to lightweights. Due to the obvious weight and power limitations, lightweight racing is extremely competitive at every stage of the game. That being said, even though some of the tips outlined below may seem trivial, from experience, I can tell you that little things like these are what ultimately make the difference between good and great college rowers.
 
1. Be ready to race, always.

Whether its during a hard workout, racing between teammates or lining up against another school, making a habit out of racing and being competitive will help you get in the right mindset when it’s time to excel.
 
2. Rest is Best. 

This is coach Volp’s favorite line and even though I often poke fun at it, he’s absolutely right. Sleeping at least 8 hours a night and taking it easy on the days that you have off will pay dividends in the long run. In college, rowers have a very hectic schedule and the stress from academics and even your social life will often pile up so much so that sleep is seen as secondary or not important. From a healthy immune system to faster recovery and injury prevention, rest is always best.
 
3. Stay on top of academics. 

You can train as hard as you want, be as fast and together as a crew as you’ve ever been and have the best coach in the country but all that means nothing if you miss a week of sleep cramming for an exam or writing a paper before your big championship. Also, I hope you don’t need this blog to tell you this but you’re no good to your team or your life after rowing if you can’t pass your classes and stay eligible. That’s why you’re a student/athlete and not the other way around.
 
4. Watch your weight.

This is always important for lightweights at any stage and of any gender. You don’t have to be at target weight year round but starving and dehydrating yourself excessively when racing season comes will not only destroy the sexy muscles you’ve worked so hard to get but also cause dietary problems and cravings that will make it extremely difficult to stay on target week after week.
 
5. Have fun.

Having fun is not only the most important thing at the end of the day but it is also critical to staying motivated and improving through-out your rowing career. This one should be the easiest to accomplish because of the company and support of your teammates. While at school my closest and most fun friends were by far my teammates. College rowing can be one of the most fun experiences of your life, enjoying what your doing will make the work seem like fun and the long winters bearable.

October 09, 2012

5 Tips for Success in Collegiate Rowing: Lightweight Women

Our blog feature this week is "5 Tips for Success in Collegiate Rowing" from Oklahoma City Training Center athletes. Each weekday, our athletes will give pointers on how to get the most out of your collegiate rowing experience. If you have any specific categories of interest, tweet your ideas to @RowOKC_HP !

Today's tips, for Lightweight Women, are from Michelle Sechser.


Michelle is a graduate of the University of Tulsa. She competed in the Lightweight Women's Double and Women's Open Quad at the 2011 Pan American Games, winning a bronze medal in each event. In 2012, she finished fourth in the Lightweight Women's Quad at the World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. You can follow Michelle on twitter at @MichelleSechser

 
 
5 Tips for Success in Collegiate Rowing: Lightweight Women

1. Think BIG: If you want to run with the big dogs, don’t play with the pups

Destroy the mentality that you are somehow at a disadvantage when competing against openweight teammates. Forget physics. Allowing yourself to make excuses for not beating someone can become a slippery slope that will prevent you from becoming a great racer. On the water or even on the erg, challenge yourself to compete against a teammate who is bigger or stronger than you; this challenge requires the same fearlessness and confidence needed to take down last year’s IRA Ltw 8+ Champion. To be a successful rower, whether lightweight or openweight, teach yourself to stop thinking, ‘She is supposed to be beating me.’

2. Fun Times in the 1x: All the Single Ladies

As a lightweight woman, being a proficient 1x sculler has two amazing benefits. 1. The 1x is an effective method for learning to efficiently move a boat. It will teach you to contribute to boat speed by calling upon clean technique, boat feel and mechanics rather than relying on brute force (as I learned the hard way).  Since you are racing as a lightweight the playing field is leveled with the same size of athletes in each crew; learn to out-row your competition with a more efficient use of your limited body weight.  2.  If you have any dreams of competing for the US National Team, sculling is the only opportunity available. This can be a difficult transition for many women trying to be selected for the U23 or Senior Team after college who are talented athletes and skillful 8’s movers, but have simply never spent time in a small sculling boat. Summer Rowing programs such as Vesper, Penn AC, or OKC are a great place to start.

3. Injury Prevention: Get hardcore!

Intercostal injuries are common among lightweight women.  Having an all-inclusive core routine in place is very helpful in preventing an injury that could keep you off the water for weeks or even an entire season.  If your coach does not already assign one in your training program, (first, reprimand your coach) work with your athletic trainer or weights coach to develop a program that will strengthen your upper and lower abdomen, lower back and hip muscles. Do not wait until you feel soreness or pain in these regions to take care of this. Your core is a link in the transmission of power between the upper and lower body. It needs to be strong enough to transfer all of your force without wreaking havoc on your musculoskeletal system. 

4. Proper Fuel: Don’t put regular gasoline in a Ferrari

If you’re training on a restricted number of calories, it is crucial to be fueling your body with foods that will give you the most bang for your buck.  Though it does require more time and planning, try to stick to unprocessed foods and plan your meals in advance. If you’re going to spend 20+ hours each week training your body to perform well in a race, then you need to put in the time to have meals that will fuel you through practice and help you recover as quickly as possible. Consider your diet to be as crucial to your boat’s speed as weights training, technical rows, and video review session.  I highly recommend the book Paleo Diet for Athletes by Loren Cordain. I have seen huge improvements in my fitness and recovery speed since I learned to avoid heavily processed foods and began replacing them with huge volumes of ‘real’ food.  This will also leave you a lot less hangry, which I’m sure many people in your life will appreciate. In the spirit of Fall season experiment with Pumpkin (such as a can of puree, not the pie filling).  It’s high in potassium to help you restore electrolytes after a hard workout and also high in fiber.  Get creative by adding cinnamon and your vanilla or chocolate protein powder!

5. The Art of the Weigh In: What to do once you’re off the scale

Though most collegiate regattas do not mimic the FISA 1 hour weigh-in window, the way you fuel your body between your weigh-in and your race is fundamental to your performance. Use your hard practices that involve race pieces to experiment with what works best for you.  Race day is never the time to try a whole new method of preparation. Experiment with a range of foods that will keep you well-fueled and easy to digest.  Avoid large amounts of foods before your race warm up because you will need that blood in your muscles not digesting food in your stomach as you are coming down the race course.

October 08, 2012

5 Tips for Success in Collegiate Rowing: Coxswains

Our blog feature this week is "5 Tips for Success in Collegiate Rowing" from Oklahoma City Training Center athletes. Each weekday, our athletes will give pointers on how to get the most out of your collegiate rowing experience. If you have any specific categories of interest, tweet your ideas to @RowOKC_HP !

Today's tips, for coxswains, are from Stephen Young. Stephen is a coxswain for the Oklahoma City National High Performance Center.

Stephen is a two time Senior National Team member and 2009 graduate of MIT. In 2010, he was the coxswain for the Lightweight Men's Eight and Men's Coxed Pair at the World Rowing Championships in Lake Karapiro, New Zealand. He was also a member of the Men's Coxed Pair at the 2012 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. You can follow Stephen on twitter at @stephen_f_young
 

 
5 Tips for Success in Collegiate Rowing: Coxswains
 
1. Don't talk over the coach
As coxswains, the majority of our job consists of talking and communicating to our crew. When the coach is talking, that is our cue to be quiet and listen. It is difficult sometimes to be completely silent in the boat but we can use silence as a tool to improve rhythm, focus on steering, and observe what is happening in the boat.
 
2. Record/take notes regularly
If you don't have an audio recorder, get one. Some coxswains only record races or not at all and are wasting a valuable resource. Recording a practice at least once a month enables us to pick apart what we are saying in the boat on a regular basis and eliminate unnecessary or ineffective calls. Another side of this is to take notes regularly. In a program with multiple coxswains, you should expect to ride in the launch every once and a while. This is your most valuable learning opportunity because it enables you to get a better vantage on what is happening in the boat and to hear exactly what the coach sees and is trying to improve.
 
3. Know your lineup by name
I cannot stress this one enough because not knowing your lineup by name is ultimately a sign of laziness or apathy. On a very basic level, you will be a more effective coxswain just by calling someone by name before giving them a command. You will also begin to remember individuals' habits by linking their name to technical calls that you find yourself making regularly. As lineups change day to day, especially in the fall or during selection, an easy way to remember who is sitting where is to write your lineup on a piece of athletic tape and stick it somewhere visible so you can refer to it during practice.
 
4. Be at weight/in shape
One of my biggest pet peeves as both a coxswain and a coach is hearing coxswains say "It's OK if I'm a little overweight, I always race at weight." There is no excuse for being overweight (more than 5 lbs over min) anytime you are boated and nobody wants to haul around a fat, lazy coxswain. The closer you are to race weight throughout the year, the more your crew will respect you for showing commitment and dedication to your position and the better they will be prepared to race with you at the same weight. Something that tends to go hand in hand with weight is being in shape. This doesn't mean you have to run marathons or pull a big erg, just that you should be able to exercise with the group and maintain good overall fitness. Exercising regularly will keep you mentally sharp and help you earn the respect of your coach and crew.
 
5. Work and communicate well with other coxswains
This is especially true for coxswains in large programs with multiple boats on the water at the same time. The majority of success as a collegiate coxswain comes from making the coach's life as easy as possible. Cooperating with other coxswains is a much better way to earn the top boat than pitting yourself against the other coxswains in a constant battle for the top seat. If you can lead by example and work with the other coxswains to keep the crews together during steady state rows and to get lined up accurately, quickly, and promptly for pieces, the rowers and coaches will definitely take notice.

I hope everyone finds these tips useful and best of luck!

October 03, 2012

Congratulations to 2012 Jack Kelly Award Winner, Mike Knopp

OKC National High Performance Center would like to congratulate Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation Executive Director, Mike Knopp - recipient of the 2012 Jack Kelly Award!

The award recognizes superior achievements in rowing, service to amateur athletics, success in a chosen profession, and is given to a person who serves as an inspiration to American rowers and represents the ideals Jack Kelly exemplified.
Click HERE for complete info from USRowing.

Next week's feature: 5 Tips for Success in Collegiate Rowing

Check back each day next week for our feature, "5 Tips for Success in Collegiate Rowing" from Oklahoma City Training Center athletes. Each weekday, our athletes will give pointers on how to get the most out of your collegiate rowing experience. If you have any specific categories of interest, tweet your ideas to @RowOKC_HP !

MONDAY: Coxswains

OKC's Stephen Young will provide tips specific to coxswains. Stephen is a two time Senior National Team member and a 2009 graduate of MIT. In 2010, he was the coxswain for the Lightweight Men's 8+ and Men's Coxed Pair at the World Rowing Championships in New Zealand. He was also a member of the Men's Coxed Pair at the 2012 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv Bulgaria. You can follow Stephen on twitter at @stephen_f_young

TUESDAY: Lightweight Women

Michelle Sechser will give 5 tips for college lightweight women. Michelle is a two time Pan American Games bronze medallist. She competed in the Lightweight Women's double and Women's Open Quad at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Mexico. In 2012, she finished fourth in the Lightweight Women's Quad at the World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. You can follow Michelle on twitter at @MichelleSechser

WEDNESDAY: Lightweight Men

Princeton graduate, Robin Prendes, will have tips for lightweight men. Robin competed in the Lightweight Men's Four at the London Olympics. He raced in the same event at the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Slovenia and won a bronze medal at the 2010 U23 World Rowing Championships in the Lightweight Men's Four in Belarus. You can follow Robin on twitter at @RobinPrendes

THURSDAY: Open Women

Princeton graduate, Kelly Pierce will give tips to college open women. Kelly won a bronze medal in the Women's Eight at the 2011 U23 World Rowing Championships. Kelly is on twitter at @kellpossible

FRIDAY: Open Men

Tom Peszek, University of Michigan graduate, will give tips to open weight men. Tom raced in the Men's Pair at the 2012 London Olympics. He qualified the pair for the Olympics while competing in the event at the 2011 World Rowing Championships. He was the stroke of the Men's Eight at the 2010 World Rowing Championships. You can follow Tom on twitter at @TomPeszek

October 02, 2012

Follow us on Twitter!

For the lastest news, results, events, and developments with the Oklahoma City National High Performance Center athletes, follow us on Twitter @RowOKC_HP !

October 01, 2012

Mercy Hospital Provides Meals for OKC's High Performance Athletes

Mercy Hospital of Oklahoma City will be delivering meals to assist with the nutritional needs of resident athletes at the Oklahoma City National High Performance Center beginning October 1. Mercy is very enthusiastic in helping some of the best athletes in the nation purse their Olympic dreams.

 
Head Coach Bryan Volpenhein explains, "support like this goes a very long way for our athletes who spend as many as 30 hours per week training and require about 4000 - 6000 calories per day. With the commitment of two practices per day and work, along with the financial strain, it's sometimes difficult for the rowers to find time to prepare nutritious meals. It is also extremely beneficial for the athletes to be able to eat at the boathouse immediately after training to maximize their recovery time. The support from Mercy Hospital will have a great impact on the development of our athletes".

 
The coaches and athletes of the OKC High Performance Center would like to thank Mercy Hospital for their generous contribution - welcome to our team!

Fun Times and Fast Racing for OKC Athletes at the Head of the Oklahoma

Oklahoma City National High Performance athletes enjoyed the opportunity to compete on their home course this past weekend at the OCU Head of the Oklahoma. The event consisted of a 4 kilometer head race and with a top six finish, an opportunity to compete in the famous 500 meter OG&E Night Sprints.
Grace Luczak and Kelly Pierce

The USRowing Training Center - OKC entries performed well across a variety of boat classes. The head race portion of the weekend was highlighted by first place finishes in the Women's Single, Lightweight Women's Single, Men's Double, Lightweight Men's Double, Men's Single, Women's Double, and Men's Elite Eight. Kate Bertko won the Women's Single event in a time of 17:54.04 while Michelle Sechser won the Lightweight Women's Single in 18:08.053. The two joined forces in the Women's Double to win gold in a time of 15:51.585. Ryan Shelton finished first in the Men's Single in 16:06.957 and along with teammate Greg Ansolabehere, won the Men's Double in 15:05.186. Olympians Robin Prendes and Will Daly won the Lightweight Men's Double in 15:04.857. The crew of coxswain Stephen Young, Ryan Monaghan, Olympian Tom Peszek, Max Goff, Blaise Didier, Peter Dwyer, Jameson Harper, Justin Stangel, and Henry Cole finished first in the Men's Elite Eight in a time of 12:50.558.

Later that evening, crews hit the water to compete under the lights in the OG&E Night Sprints. USRowing Training Center - OKC's Grace Luczak finished first in the Women's Single in a time of 1:43.99. Prendes and Daly won the Men's Double in 1:25.300 while Bertko and Sechser won the Women's Double in 1:37.523.

The next competition for OKC High Performance athletes will be the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, October 20-21.



September 24, 2012

2012 Olympians to Compete in OCU Head of the Oklahoma

Prendes, LaCava, Newell, and Fahden at the London Olympics
The Oklahoma City University Head of the Oklahoma returns to the Boathouse District at the Oklahoma River, Sept. 29-30, 2012, with all the excitement you’ve come to expect from Oklahoma’s premier regatta. The race is held as part of the Oklahoma Regatta Festival, a four-day event running September 27-30.

Oklahoma City National High Performance Center athletes and 2012 Olympians, Tom Peszek, Robin Prendes, and Will Newell are scheduled to compete in Saturday's racing. Peszek represented the United States in London in the Men's Pair with Silas Stafford while Prendes and Newell competed in the Lightweight Men's Four with Anthony Fahden and Nick LaCava.

The event will also feature members of the 2012 World Championship team that competed in Plovdiv, Bulgaria in August. Will Daly and Greg Flood from the Lightweight Men's Pair, Michelle Sechser from the Lightweight Women's Quad, Blaise Didier, Stephen Young and Justin Stangel from the Men's Pair with Coxswain are entered in events to take place on Saturday.

Other notable competitors include 3 time US National Team member Kate Bertko and four time US National Team Member and World Record Holder in the Under 23 Women's Pair, Grace Luczak. Past National Team members Ryan Monaghan, Christian Klein, Daniel Kiranne, Max Goff, Jen Forbes, Kelly Pierce, Henry Cole, Kat Schiro, Frank Petrucci will also represent USRowing Training Center - OKC at the event.

The OCU Head of the Oklahoma includes 2.5 mile head racing during the day with key races acting as qualifiers for the 500m OGE Night Sprints Saturday evening. Events include collegiate, masters, and junior rowing as well as kayak and dragon boat racing.

The Oklahoma Regatta Festival kicks off Thursday and Friday evenings, 6-10 pm, with the OG&E Night Sprints featuring Corporate Rowing and Dragon Boat League racing. Racing continues throughout the day on Saturday with festival activities including live music, great food, the Olympic Experience, a children’s area and inflatable zone. Each evening will end with athletes and spectators enjoying fireworks over the river.

Cheer for local favorites – Oklahoma City University, University of Oklahoma, University of Central Oklahoma, University of Tulsa plus OKC RIVERSPORT masters and juniors – as well as some of the top teams from across the country.

OKC National High Performance Center to Host USRowing Fall Midwest Speed Order

 
With Fall season training underway, athletes at the Oklahoma City National High Performance Center look ahead to the 2012-2013 rowing season. The opportunity to compete against the countries best rowers will be available when the training center plays to host for the 2012 USRowing Fall Speed Order on November 17 to 18.

The speed order will consist of a 6k erg test on Concept 2 fixed ergometers at the Devon Boathouse. Results from the 6k test will determine the start order for Sunday's on-water 4000 meter head race on the Oklahoma River. Lightweight athletes will only be required to weigh in one time during the event, before the erg test on Saturday. No weigh-in will be required for Sunday's racing.

Sunday's racing will include the following events: Men's Pair, Lightweight Men's Pair, Lightweight Men's Single, Lightweight Women's Single, Men's Single, Women's Single.

See below for more information:

2012 USRowing Fall Midwest Speed Order
November 17-18, 2012
Devon Boathouse


725 S Lincoln Blvd

Oklahoma City, OK 73129
Events: M2-, LM2-, M1X, W1X, LM1X, LW1X

Saturday: 6k erg test on Concept 2 (Fixed) *Please note: Everyone is expected to participate in the 6k erg test in order to compete Sunday on the water. Times from the 6k will determine the start order for Sunday's racing. Lightweight athletes will only be required to weigh in one time during the event, before the erg test on Saturday. No weigh-in will be required for Sunday's racing.
Sunday: M2-, LM2-, LM1x, LW1x, M1x, W1x (On Water Distance: Approximately 4,000 meters)

Boat Storage/Launching
Boat Storage/Launching: Racks located outside of the Devon Boathouse, landing and retrieving from the Devon Boathouse docks.

Practice
Practice: NOON - 5pm Friday; 9 am - NOON and 3 pm - 5 pm Saturday

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Noon: Athlete Meeting (a representative from each boat must be present or the entry will be scratched) will be held on the 2nd floor of the Devon Boathouse. There will be signs to direct you.

6k Ergometer will also be held at the Devon Boathouse.

******Tentative depending on entries
6k Erg Tests (Start order for on-water racing will come from 6k results)
1:15 pm: Flight #1
2:15 pm: Flight #2
3:15 pm: Flight #3
4:15 pm: Flight #4
TBA: Flight #5 (if necessary)

3:00-5:00 pm: Course open for practice.

Sunday, November 18, 2011


******Tentative depending on entries

8:00 am: Flight #1

9:15 am: Flight #2

***Timing will be provided by OKC High Performance Center Coaching Staff. This is an informal racing opportunity for athletes. Results from both the 6K ergometer and on water racing will have no impact on selection for 2013.

Weigh-ins
Weigh-ins will be conducted on Saturday Nov. 17 for the ergometer piece only at the Devon Boathouse. Lightweights will need to weigh-in 1 - 2 hours before their scheduled ergometer piece.

FISA Max Rules: Light Men - 72.5 kg; Light Women - 59kg. If an athlete fails to make weight, they will be allowed to race in the heavyweight event.

Registration Information
Register online through Regatta Central at www.regattacentral.com
Entry Fee: $30 per person
Registration deadline: Friday, November 9, 2012, MIDNIGHT (PST)
USRowing membership is required: visit www.usrowing.org to renew or join.

Contact information:
Please contact Stephen Young with any questions.
syoung@okcbf.org
(813)833-0246

OKC National High Performance Center TV

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