Men's Great Eight coaches gold medalists of the future
October 16, 2009 Judy Samuelson, HOCR volunteer
Marcel Hacker and Mahe Drysdale spent Thursday night holding footboards for newbie rowers
On the threshold of the 45th Head Of The Charles Regatta, the Men's Great Eight arrived yesterday afternoon at Community Rowing Inc's 'Harry Parker Boathouse' in Brighton MA--straight from Logan Airport--to lead a few outreach rowing clinics for area students and adaptive athletes.
More than 20 Boston Public School students were in capable hands, receiving extraordinary instruction from the likes of Alan Campbell, Iztok Cop, and Mahe Drysdale. Upstairs at CRI's large ergometer room, the crowd of eager students--who had never rowed before--were listening to Gold Medalist rowers giving "hands-on" coaching to quickly teach the group the basics of how to row.
The students were then put into action, erging at fast pitch. Heard repeatedly at this clinic by the guest coaches was "push, pull, send; push, pull, send," as students attempted to figure out correct rowing posture and get the rhythm of rowing.
Community Rowing, the Head Of The Charles Regatta and Concept2 are all sponsors for this event. The ergometer (an indoor rowing machine) is harder than it looks. Without instruction, it's easy to use it incorrectly---especially by overburdening shoulders and arms. With the Great Eight gurus by their side, the students gave it their "all," as they progressed to race at the clinic.
At the front of the erg room was a high-fidelity video screen, with each Concept2 ergometer connected and programmed to simulate onscreen a single sculler, racing on a river. With whoops and hollers echoing in the room, students cheered each other on. And the winner? Well, he was ecstatic!
Yet that was only half of what the Men's Great Eights did at CRI's clinics yesterday.
While the erg races were happening on inside, on the docks outside were about 12 adaptive rowers who received one-on-one instruction from Olympians. With CRI's new boathouse, adaptive rowing is now a regular program on the Charles River. Yesterday, in brisk 50-degree weather, rowers from these same programs learned from international rowing legends. Athletes were visibly proud as they came off the water and returned to the docks, after their on-the-water coaching sessions.
Because of these remarkable Great Eight rowing clinics, many came away feeling like "winners" as they tried their hand at rowing for the first time--or improved their rowing skills from Olympians. This truly GREAT eight has upped the ante, by inciting new talent to begin and advance their budding rowing careers--and perhaps be future gold medalists at the Head Of The Charles Regatta.