Westdale Secondary School Rowing

Information for the Westdale Secondary School Rowing Community

Dressing for the Weather, Clothing “Swag” Orders, and a Note from Coach Tom!

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Dear Rowers,

Three things (and I’ll save the best for last):

1) Please dress appropriately for the weather and bring an extra change of workout clothes every day. This will help ensure that you are ready for both on-water AND off-water practices (you need those runners & those layers!), and will ensure that you’ve got something to change into if your boat capsizes. This is very important as we want you all to be healthy and safe. Hypothermia (or even generally being cold) isn’t fun – let’s do everything we can to avoid the cold weather risks.

2) Clothing “Swag” Order deadlines have been extended until tomorrow (Tuesday, April 21st) morning’s practice. I will also collect final forms tomorrow afternoon at the PM practice. We’re lucky to have been given the one-day extension, so if you didn’t have a chance to place your order today, then please ensure you’re ready with your order form & payment by tomorrow. If you need to print off an order form, you can find one here: Westdale Rowing Apparel 2015 (Order Forms)

3) Coach Tom has a message for everyone, so please see below for his post 🙂 
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The other day in my introduction, I shared with you the quote that means the most to me in rowing:  “What the mind believes, the body will deliver”. There are a couple of stories that I’d like to share with you.

In 2007 while I was coaching at Christchurch Girls High School in New Zealand, a 14-year old girl showed up to training.  I knew Grace because I coached her sister and I had Grace pencilled in as a potential coxswain.  At the time, she was under 5 feet tall and weighed 49kg (108 pounds).  Grace insisted that she wanted to row, and as was our policy, she was not denied the opportunity to try.  At a December erg test, Grace pulled 7:59 on her 2K test.  That is not a misprint.  Adjusted, that is an erg score of about 6:35.  Not bad for a 14-year old!!!!  I’ve posted a picture of Grace below at our January 2008 training camp at Lake Rotoiti.  It’s one of my favourite pictures.  She rowed 14km that day and had the biggest grin I’ve ever seen after it!

Picture

Grace went on that season to stroke the U15 4+ of girls not much bigger than she was, to a bronze medal in the biggest event of the program at the NZ Secondary Schools Championships of 64 crews.  She then put on a growth spurt and represented her country at the 2011 Junior World Champs, winning a bronze medal.  She is currently a junior in the University of Washington Women Huskies Varsity 8+.  To this day, that erg test, and what this kid accomplished in that season, is the most amazing thing in rowing that I’ve ever seen.

A close second, and a great example of “What the mind believes, the body will deliver” is again, a Kiwi-themed story.  Below is a picture of the gold medal winning double from New Zealand at the 2012 Olympics in London.  Joe Sullivan and Nathan Cohen overcame a significant size difference, not to mention a deficit in the final 500 metres, to make a stunning run home to the finish and take the gold medal.

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What do these stories tell us?  I think they tell us that heart and an absolute will to get the job done, are tools that are as essential as anything else…maybe even the MOST important tools you can have.  We never want to limit our potential based on what we THINK is a limitation.  The common belief in our sport is that “Tall will Beat Small”, and that does happen too.  But no matter who you are: tall, small, novice or experienced, I encourage you to open up your mind to the possibilities of what you can achieve and GO FOR IT LIKE NEVER BEFORE!  It’s a great attitude to have in a boat….and one that will allow you and your crew to aim for new heights every time out.

One final thought.  I encourage and challenge all of you to do something to make your crew better.  Improving YOUR erg scores gives you a faster boat.  Improving YOUR flexibility gives you a longer stroke.  Making technical improvements to YOUR stroke pattern limits the drag on boat speed.  YOU are responsible for YOUR speed on the water.

Tom
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Cheers,
Alessandra

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