Few, if any other, students get up as early as the Women’s Rowing Crew. During the Spring and Fall rowing seasons they will be up at the crack of dawn and on the water or the training room. Early in the Spring they will have rowed miles even before daylight. By the time most other students are heading to class, they will too because they are students after all. See what a practice is like Sunrise on the Water with the WVU Women’s Crew
MRA invites the Morgantown community to join us for the annual Learn To Row day. Discover what rowing is all about, see our boats (shells) and try your hand at rowing. Find out if this is a sport for you with hands on.
When: Saturday June 6 from 10am to 3pm
Where: Boathouse, 40 Donley Street, Morgantown
once again posted the best time during the heats finishing in 6:03.19. The finals will be held on Sunday September 1st at 15:48 local time or 2:48am EDT. We wish them all the best.
It may be old news by now, but these things tend to stay put for a while:
5:54.16 is the world best time ever by a women’s 8+. That was the result achieved on July 14, 2013 at the 2013 Samsung World Rowing Cup held in Lucerne Switzerland.
The U.S. women’s eight set the stage in Saturday’s race for lanes, winning by 7.2 seconds over the field. Then in the final, coxswain Katelin Snyder (Detroit, Mich.), Heidi Robbins (Hanover, N.H.), Vicky Opitz (Middleton, Wis.), Caroline Lind (Greensboro, N.C.), Grace Luczak (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Lauren Schmetterling (Moorestown, N.J.), Emily Regan (Buffalo, N.Y.), Kerry Simmonds (San Diego, Calif.) and Amanda Polk (Pittsburgh, Pa.) took the lead off the start, and continued to take seats through the 500-mark before gaining open water on Canada and Romania at the halfway point.
“I knew that we were 2:55 or so at the thousand, and that was on pace, so we just tried to shift the focus internally and it worked,” said Snyder, who coxed the U.S. to a gold medal in 2009.
The United States had a clear lead coming into the finish area, and won the race by 6.2 seconds, beating the previous world best time of 5:54.17, set by the U.S. in Lucerne last year, by one-hundredth of a second. Romania took silver in 6:00.42, with Canada bronze in 6:01.61.
“This feels absolutely incredible,” said Robbins, stroke seat and 2013 Princeton University graduate. “It’s so neat to be racing here in Switzerland; it’s a dream come true. To do this is just phenomenal.
“It was very much internal from the beginning. I didn’t even see the crews next to me. Then Katelin made a call at the thousand with our time, and I just thought ‘it’s go time, just do it and see what you can do.’”
Lind is the only rower to return from the London crew that won gold at the 2012 Olympic Games. The rest of the lineup includes a mix of under 23 champions and recent training center athletes.
“For two girls, it’s their first international experience and there is just a lot of really positive energy,” said Snyder. “It’s fun to practice, and it’s even more fun to race. The dynamic on the team is really great, and I’m just excited to be part of it again.” [Source:US Rowing]
For many years various members of MRA and the WVU Women’s and Men’s crew have participated in HOTO. HOTO stands for “Head of the Ohio” and it will mark its 27th anniversary this year. HOTO is a race that takes place in Pittsburgh along the Allegheny River. For many years the race started up river and finished at the point where the Allegheny and the Monongahela rivers meet and the Ohio river starts. Hence the name Head of the Ohio. In the last couple years, due to increasing build up near the stadiums, the race has reversed its course and now starts where it used to end and finishes up stream at the Washington Landing.
The course is 2.6 miles long and attracts people from all over the country. The variety of racing classes is one of the attractions of this event. There are Collegiate Athletic crews, College Clubs, High School competitions, Open Club classes, Mixed Gender crews, and Adaptive classes (handicapped individuals); people of all ages participate. Current MRA President David Rosen, has participated for the past several years and is looking towards competing once again. The WVU Women’s Crew and Men’s Crew will certainly be at the event and MRA keeps alive the dream of fielding an MRA Youth Crew. No matter what the event is one not to be lost.
John M. Duarte, 2013
I have yet to find a conclusive response to the question often asked as to: ”what is the top speed of a rowing shell?”
A few years ago I saw a video post of an 8 men crew pulling up a water skier for some distance.
The average speed of current world best Rowing Times recognized by FISA is 22.5 Km/Hour or about 14 MPH for the Men’s 8+; 5:19:35 over the 2000m course.
There were supposedly burst of over 24KM/Hour on that race. The men’s 8+ is the overall fastest Rowing craft.
Because environmental conditions affect the rowing speed, FISA Rowing governing body recognizes Best Times and not world records.
Below are the current recognized best Rowing Times as posted in Wikipedia.
|Open Men||5:36.6||1:24.1||New Zealand||2008||Rob Waddell|
|Lightweight Men||5:56.7||1:29.175||Denmark||2013||Henrik Stephansen|
|Open Women||6:28.4||1:37.1||France||2005||Sophie Balmary|
|Lightweight Women||6:54.7||1:43.7||United States||2010||Ursula Grobler|
- Lwt Men: 75 kg (170 lb) maximum weight
- Lwt Women: 61.5 kg (136 lb) maximum weight 
John M. Duarte
[Published Fall-winter 2009]
I moved to Morgantown in July 2008 and spent a lot of time on my road bike through the end of the fall. On one of my trips up the bike path, heading to the Decker’s Creek trail, I noticed a flyer for Mon Rowing but made no effort to contact the club until early this year. I had rowed for TC Williams High School in Alexandria, VA my junior year, one summer with the Occoquan Boat Club while I was in college and two summers with Boulder Community Rowing about 5 years ago. I was really excited about the prospect of rowing again.
Following an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, I was contacted by John Duarte who informed me there would be a membership meeting in early March. I attended the meeting, met some of the members, and began rowing the Alden Horizon within the next few days with the help of Eric Hopkins. After a few trips out in the Alden I managed to sprain a leg trying to gorilla that big plastic boat around. Three weeks later I was back at it, rowing the double “SeaShell” and then the new Edon with its pontoons installed. In early June I scheduled a lesson with Meg Ayers (volunteer coach for WVU Women’s Crew) who suggested I take the Peinert out; I was reluctant because I had never rowed a scull prior to the Alden and Edon, but agreed to give it a try.
I never went back to the beginner boats and began to accumulate much water time in the Peinert #23. In fact, I have logged more miles on the river this summer than I have on the bike this year. As I write this I have been out for about 100 sessions. Most of these trips have been solo, however Andrew White has accompanied me on a handful of runs and more recently Jenna LaPointe (WVU Men’s club coach) has joined me in the old Vespoli.
But I digress; this article is supposed to be about the 2009 Head of the Ohio. In preparation for the race, Dr. David Rosen offered to let me try out his ECHO Ace on CheatLake. In the event that I couldn’t find insurance for one of the club boats I wanted a backup plan. As the Ace is a modern high tech design it definitely rowed faster than the Peinert but I didn’t quite attain proficiency keeping it on keel in the few trials I made. Right around this time, just for laughs, I “built a boat” on the Vespoli website. The next day I received a call from John Sekulich (“JP”) from Vespoli. We talked for a while before he asked me if I would be going to HOTO. He said he would be there with boats to look at; I asked if it was possible for me to race one. That possibility turned to reality.
I made the run up to Pittsburgh on Friday afternoon with hopes of getting a chance to try the Matrix 27 before race day. My timing was off; JP had left the Three Rivers Rowing Association facility for the parking lot between PNC and Heinz field where all the boat trailers would assemble in the following hours. After taking a look around the TRRA boathouse I made my way down to the finish line and parking lot. I had already made arrangements to meet JP in the morning so I grabbed a bite to eat, my registration packet and wandered around the waterfront. While eating I met some folks from TRRA and told them about my hopes of rowing that evening. Fortunately they had boats that needed to be rowed down to the start line; the rules of the race dictated that all boats must originate from the finish line docking area the following morning. So I took a launch ride up to the TRAA boathouse and helped row an 8 down to the start.
I was up by 5 am the following morning, out of the hotel and on the road by 5:30. I arrived early enough to park right next to Heinz, within 100 feet of the Vespoli trailer. I met up with JP and watched him set up the Matrix before I went down to watch the WVU women come down the course, for 3rd and 6th places in the 14 boat women’s open 8+ race. Shortly after, I hustled to get my clothes on and get the boat down to the water.
My first few strokes were nothing short of embarrassing but I was quickly across the river and out of site of immediate scrutiny. Moments later I heard a very tiny voice say “I think you should weigh enough”; a high school 4+ was right off my bow! I dug the blades in for a sketchy stop and an almost swim. After recovering physically and emotionally I made my way up to the start area for a longish wait for the singles races to begin.
Less than a couple minutes before the men’s singles were called to the starting area I noticed the brace and oarlock hardware for the starboard rigger were levitating. I was bummed! The nut that secures everything was still there but a few washers had gone missing. I hand-tightened all and asked a couple boats near me if any had tools. No-one had tools but moments after raising my hand a launch was by my side handing me a wrench. I got all tight and made my way just in time to start in order. Another minute and I would have had to start at the end of all the singles and out of my age-class. Not how I wanted to do my first race in over 28 years.
The start worked out, I had two boats pass, but then I went off course. I thought missing a buoy was a 30 second penalty, so I spent at least that long pivoting the boat back inside the buoy with only a few hundred meters left to race. At the finish I heard cheers for “Fishback!” I recognized Meg’s voice joined by many others, who I assume were WVU women, though I guess it could have been other well meaning spectators too.
After docking, getting the boat back up to the trailer, and thanking JP profusely, I went back down to the water to watch some more races. Eric had called while I was on the water and we met up a few minutes later. After running into David Rosen and his daughter and chatting (and admiring David’s gold medal) Eric and I walked up the racecourse to watch the boats come down from additional vantage points.
The weather and water were a little ugly that day and got worse as the afternoon wore on. We ended up on a lookout area near the start when the last race went down the course. It was the last race of the day because of the misfortune we were about to witness. First, one men’s 8+ came down looking like it was just being rowed poorly and then we noticed it was taking on water in the bow, and moments later it was fully submerged. While launches arrived to pluck the passengers from the swamped boat another 8+ came down the course. A coach from this boat was also on the lookout and was dismayed to see the Bowman had lost his seat and couldn’t manage to get it back. Soon this boat was completely swamped too. In total three boats went down before the rest of the events were cancelled; all were contesting the same race.
I had a fantastic time at the HOTO and can’t wait to get out there and race again. It’s been great to get back on the water and like living alone for the first time I am really enjoying the freedom of sculling. If our club can muster enough folks for a crew I would like to re-experience that too. I am so grateful that MRA is here in Morgantown and that I was able to connect with them. I would like to acknowledge Meg Ayers for the lessons she gave me and WVU women’s crew for sharing their boathouse with us. Also, thanks to Jimmy King for taking the Peinert up to HOTO for me, in the event I couldn’t row the Matrix I wanted a backup. This weekend I am driving 500 miles to Dexter, NY to look at a “previously owned” Vespoli Matrix 27 – I am that into this sport. Anybody interested in a nice road bike??
[This article was initially published during the winter 2009-2010]