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 .

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.
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.

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 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:

OKC National High Performance Center TV

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