This morning started even earlier; we arrived at the boathouse just shy of 5am to prep for a 5:52AM weigh-in. The weigh-in was the easiest o...

National Selection Regatta 1: Day Three

This morning started even earlier; we arrived at the boathouse just shy of 5am to prep for a 5:52AM weigh-in. The weigh-in was the easiest of the week—perfect timing!

Conditions were also near perfect; a few gusts of wind skittered around the course, but it was otherwise flat. Although I was definitely tired from a hard few days of racing, my legs felt pretty good (especially compared to the semi-final!).

I launched right on time, and had a fantastic warm-up. Usually, my warm-ups consist of around 15 minutes of medium pressure rowing, followed by a few sets of 10-20 harder strokes and a few practice race starts.

At this course, there's a relatively large warm-up circle and I had previously had trouble timing my laps so I arrived at the starting platform as they called us into the lanes. I ended up spending too much of my warm-up time sitting and waiting. So last night, when I had a little bit of leeway, I timed a large warm-up lap and a shorter warm-up lap around the area so I could plan accordingly.

It wasn't perfect, but it helped a lot.

They actually called us into our lanes a minute early, and were counting down time to the start a full minute early as well. Since you have to be locked into the starting blocks two minutes before your race, I didn't get to practice quite a full start in my lane. Other than that, the race went off without a hitch.

As usual, I was down off the start. This coming month, I plan to practice the first 500m a lot. Although I was disappointed, I still had contact with the whole field—an improvement for me. I remembered my plan to focus internally as much as possible and focused on finding my race rhythm.

My rating was a bit higher than I'm used to, sitting at 33-35 strokes per minute for the first 1000m. Coming into the second half, I let the rate fall to 32 strokes per minute, which seems to be my sweet spot at the moment. As the rate drop, my speed increased and I moved into 5th place in contact with 4th place (in my neighboring lane).

From there, I worked off of the boat next to me, trying to maintain contact on her rather than focusing on the whole field of boats. Although it's tempting to look at your competitors, it's also really disruptive.  By focusing on just one boat, I kept my rhythm and had good racing to keep me fast and honest.

By the 1500m mark, I had pretty much lost contact with lane 5 to my right, but out of the corner of my eye could see lane 3 dropping back. My goal was to finish in the top 10—the same as the time trial—and I knew I had to beat two other singles to manage that. With that in mind, I started my sprint earlier than planned, starting to increase the stroke rate with 400m to go.

Each glance over indicated that I was moving up into the fourth place position, but perhaps not quickly enough. And so, each glance, I was convinced to push a little harder, toeing the line between fast and frantic. Ultimately, I edged out lane 3 by a full second, placing fourth in the B final and 10th overall.

I was very happy with the result, the race and the overall experience. I've learned a lot and will be headed back to California with some new things to work on!

First things first, though, a stop at my alma mater: Princeton. I will be spending the next day and a half on campus visiting old teammates and enjoying campus without homework. I'm headed west early Monday, and looking forward to spending more than two weeks in the same place!

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