Westdale Rowing Community

Information for the Westdale Rowing Community

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March Break Training! :D



Now that you’ve had a weekend to get over the adrenaline rush (and potential fangirling) of being free from school for a whole entire week, we thought it’d be super fun to post a wicked awesome list of workouts you should totally do ūüėČ

…but seriously. These workouts will help you maintain your aerobic base & general fitness required for when we come back and complete erg testing (#lolwut). Yes. Erg testing upon return.

To our credit, we’re giving you lots of workout options so that you can manage this training with your schedule/location(s). If you’ve already spoken to me about attending a rowing-specific training camp (e.g.: SCRC/BrockU March-Break Training Camp), then please just keep me posted on your progress & be sure to train smart (no injuries).

Now that we feel all warm & fuzzy inside, here’s the workout plan (including an overview for tomorrow’s supervised practice at LBC):

Monday, March 16th – 6am @LBC (Leander Boat Club)
All athletes should arrive at 6am for a 2hr practice at Leander Boat Club (6-8am). We will rotate through ergs, tank, and core, with a strong emphasis on tank-work. This will be your only supervised practice this week, so please attend. It will give us a chance to check-in and ensure you’re set for the rest of the week with the unsupervised training.

Tuesday, March 17th: *ST. PATRICKS DAY*
Option 1: warmup; 40min erg castles (Cat 6 = 6km split + 14s); 1×300 circuit; stretching (at least 10min)
Option 2: 60min steady-state run OR 90min cross-country skiing; stretching (at least 10min)
Option 3: >4hrs alpine skiing (as an alpine skier I’m sad to report that it’s just not as good of a workout as cross-country, so you need to get more hours in); stretching (10min at least)

Wednesday, March 18th:
Option 1: warmup; 3x12min ski ladders (22/24/26/28/30/32 -> should be Cat 4) with 8min rest in between; stretching (10min at least)
Option 2: 30min run + 5 stair runs (total of about 45-60min) OR 60min cross-country skiing; stretching (at least 10min)
Option 3:¬†3hrs alpine skiing PLUS home circuit (jump squat pyramid 25/50/75/50/25; 3×20 pushups; 3×20 crunches; 3×10 glute contractions each leg (this is the physio exercise we normally do)); stretching (at least 10min)

Thursday, March 19th:
Option 1: 20min run; 300 circuit (1.5m rest between sets); stretching
Option 2: 20min erg (5min castles @22/24spm, CAT 5 pace – 6km split + 8s); 300 circuit (1.5m rest between sets); stretching
Option 3: 90min cross-country ski OR 4hrs alpine skiing; stretching

Friday, March 20th:
Option 1: dynamic warmup; 2x30min erg with 3min rest in between (Cat 6 pace = 6km split +14s); stretching (at least 10min)
Option 2: 60min run (or 10-12km distance) OR 90min cross country ski; stretching
Option 3: alpine-ski your butt off for at least 5hrs

Saturday March 21st/Sunday March 22nd: OFF

…that’s it, folks!

See you all tomorrow morning @6am at Leander Boat Club,

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Chili Cookoff Parent’s Meeting, March Break Training, and Welland Tank Session

Dear Athletes & Parents,

Three quick notes in this post:

1) Parent’s Meeting – Thursday, March 26th @7pm in the WSS Library

Mark your calendars: Thursday, April 16th will be the night of Westdale Rowing’s Infamous Chili Cookoff! PREPARE YOUR CROCKPOTS. GET READY FOR A SHOWDOWN. EMPTY STOMACHS WILL BE FILLED. The winner is still to be determined…

The parent’s meeting on Thursday March 26th at 7pm in the WSS library will address the Chili Cookoff (which has been organized by the Parent Reps), as well as important outdoor rowing information (fees, waivers, regatta dates, safety requirements, practice schedule/training requirements at LBC).

2) March Break Training – Monday, March 16th from 6-8am @LBC

There will be one official “At LBC” practice held over March break this year. The team practice will run on Monday, March 16th, from 6-8am at Leander Boat Club. The rest of the week will be comprised of workouts that athletes can complete at home on their own time – these workouts will be posted to this blog. If athletes would like additional assistance with technical development on the erg or on the tank aside from Monday’s practice, then they should contact Alessandra with their availability & the name of a partner that would join in the practice (there must be at least 2 athletes for an extra practice to be held).

3) Welland Tank Session – Sunday, March 29th from 12-3pm @WIFC

We will be holding a mandatory tank session for ALL outdoor rowers on the Men’s & Women’s Teams. The tank session is booked for Sunday, March 29th, and will run from 12-3pm at the Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC). Plan to be there for the entire session, as we will be rotating athletes through the tank & the gym (for information on the facilities available, click here). Directions can be found here, but will also be posted closer to the session date.

See you all tomorrow for the coach-swap,

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Training (Monday-Friday)

Dear Westdale Rowers,

Big congratulations for your solid efforts this weekend ūüôā You all pushed yourselves to your limits as a team, and we’ve had a lot of crew successes as a result. New records were also set by numerous teams, and trophies for first-place crew finishes were acquired by the Jr. LWT Women, Jr. Women, Sr. LWT Women, Sr. Women, and Sr. Men.¬†WAY TO GO WESTDALE!

This week we’ll be moving into on-water preparation as the indoor season winds down for its final week before the outdoor training begins (though yes, the first few weeks of “outdoor” will likely be “indoor” due to weather). Here’s the schedule:


Men –¬†Team meeting; 10min warmup run + dynamic stretching; ergs (it’s a surprise); cooldown & debrief
Women – 10min warmup run; 60min weights; cooldown & debrief

ALL – Crew Selection Discussion (whole team)
Men – 10min warmup run; 40min weights; cooldown & debrief
Women – 5min warmup; 3x20min ergs/core/run; cooldown & debrief

Men – 10min warmup (suicides & core) + dynamic stretching; LDR Erg + 300 circuit; cooldown & debrief (March Break & tank review)
Women – 10min warmup run; 60min weights; cooldown & debrief

Thursday *coach swap*
Men – 10min warmup run; weights; cooldown & debrief
Women – Team challenge exercise (it’s a surprise!); erg challenge (swap in partners); cooldown & debrief

ALL – Team relay + surprise + March Break training overview

…sorry for posting this so late. Shockingly, your coaches have lives outside of volunteer coaching and we get a bit behind too… I know… weird, right?

See you all in the morning ūüôā

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Training (March 3rd-6th) + Mac 2×4 Event Info

Dear Westdale Rowers,

Thank you for arriving early this morning in your team colours to set up the ergs and prepare for the Mac 2×4 training session with the guest coaches and Cable 14. We’ll be posting a link to the video clip/interviews and news footage on here once we’ve got a copy, so stay tuned.

Please ensure you submit your consent form tomorrow if you haven’t already. Due to the requirements of the HWDSB, we are unable to accept verbal consent alone (we need something signed). Thank you!

Two important things in this post:
-Training this week
-Mac 2×4 Event information

1) Training this Week:
Tuesday, March 3rd: *please bring in your Cable 14 consent forms if you haven’t already
Men – 10min suicides & core switchups in lower gym followed by dynamic warmup; 60min weights (regular); stretching *RAFFLE OF JL SHIRT*
Women –¬†Check-in/roster update; 10min warmup run in gym; Erg; House of Pain; Squat Circuit; Nutrition discussion; Cooldown & Debrief

Wednesday, March 4th:
Men – 15 laps of gym; dynamic stretches; LDR Erg (lactic acid flush); Squat Pyramid; Cooldown/Debrief
Women – 10min warmup; 60min weights (regular); stretching

Thursday, March 5th: 
Men – 20min Fartlek run (3rd floor); 50min weights (regular); stretching & cooldown + debrief
Women 10m warmup; Erg: transition training in teams (10min), + 20min erg @22spm & 20min core

Friday, March 6th:
Men – 10min warmup; Transition training in teams (10min), 25min erg castles; 20min core; debrief
Women – 10min warmup; 60min aerobic weights (light weight with 20reps); stretching

Saturday, March 7th: Mac 2×4 – see below

1) Mac 2×4 Information:

All athletes racing at the Mac 2×4 Event this Saturday, March 7th, are expected to arrive in the main atrium (first floor) of the McMaster University Student Centre (MUSC) by 7:30am. No exceptions.¬†You must be wearing your unisuit. Race shirts will then be distributed at the event, to be worn over top of your unisuit.

Arriving¬†by 7:30am is crucial as we need to check all athletes in & have you complete a warmup before the first race at 8am. 30 minutes is not a lot of time, so make sure you arrive at 7:30am sharp. Last year some athletes missed their¬†races – please do NOT let this happen to you. Make sure you’re all ready to go by 7:30am in the McMaster Student Centre atrium.¬†Injured athletes are also welcome to attend to cheer on their teammates, and should plan to arrive at the same time as the rest of the team. All highschool races and awards will be over by 11am.

Schedule of Events:¬†Mac 2×4 Event Information – 2015 Schedule

*CREW LUNCH TO FOLLOW* РVote on a location РThe Mandarin or Boston Pizza??? Both have all-you-can-eat buffets. YUM. VOTE HERE. http://doodle.com/wstu5fvupw47xi32


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Training Feb. 17th-21st

Dear Westdale Rowers:

First and foremost, if you plan to race at the Ontario Indoor Rowing Champs (the biggest indoor race that we participate in), then:

Men’s Teamcontact Alessandra Gage¬†to confirm. She will be sending in the full list of athletes for the Men’s Team.
Women’s Team contact Mike Roche, as per his request in his most recent blog post here.

Training Schedule (Locations & Practices):

Tuesday (6:30am @WSS)
Men – Fartlek Run (20min for warmup); Weights (60min); stretching & debrief (Ontario Indoors + Mac 2×4 Relay Sign Up)
Women – 20min erg ladders at 6km pace + 6seconds (4min @22spm, 4min @24spm, 4min @26spm, 4min @24spm, 4min @22spm – 5min rest); 2omin Gadjanski Stair Circuit; 20min core

Wednesday (6:30am @WSS)
Men – Warmup; 3x12min @28/30/32spm (6km pace + 2seconds) + 8min active rest; Cooldown & Stretching
Women – Fartlek Run (20min for warmup); Weights (60min); stretching & debrief with Mike

Thursday (6:30am @WSS)
Men – Gadjanski Stair Circuit Warmup (x1); Weights (60min); Stretching & Debrief
Women – Warmup; 3x12min @28/30/32spm (6km pace + 2 seconds) + 8min active rest; Cooldown & Stretching (if more people, circulate with core & run)

Friday (6:30am @WSS)
Men – Warmup; 2x20min Erg Ladders @6km pace + 6seconds (4min shifts at 22/24/26/24/22spm) + 5min rest; Cooldown & stretching
Women – Gadjanski Stair Circuit Warmup (x1); Weights (60min); Stretching & Debrief

Saturday (10am-12noon @LBC (Leander Boat Club))
Whole Team – Erg/Tank/Core/Weights

Men’s Team: Your weight-adjusted 6km and 2km racing scores will be posted to this blog tomorrow. I will also hand out the 2km weight adjusted rankings. These scores will be based on your most recent 2km times (i.e.: the last 2km you pulled). For most of you this will be your LBC Indoors score, or the score you pulled last week on Friday at practice.

See you all in the morning,

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Training (Feb. 10th-13th)

Hello Westdale,

We have three weeks until the Ontario Indoor Rowing Championships – our biggest indoor competition. Each week leading up to the competition will have a different training focus.

Week 1 = Long Distance (RADAR testing, Cat 4/5/6, Technique)
Week 2 = Rate & Power Work (Cat 3/4/5, Split Training/Rate Training)
Week 3 = Competition Specific Training (Cat 2/3/4/6, Race Preparation)

Athletes completing RADAR who would like to use their LBC Indoor times are advised to complete their Peak Power & 6km testing at practices this week.

Training for Week 1 (this week) is as follows:

Tuesday, Feb. 10th:
Men – Warmup, Day 3 Weights (Cat 2/3), Team Circuit (Cat 4) [or: PEAK POWER RADAR TESTING FOR RADAR ATHLETES]
Women – Warmup, 6km testing (rate 28 *RADAR ATHLETES*) or 25min erg with castles (22/24 every 5min), core, run

Wednesday, Feb. 11th: 
Men – Warmup, 6km testing (rate 28 *ALL ATHLETES*), core/cardio, nutrition for competition session (guidelines “the extra percent”)
Women – Warmup, Day 3 Weights (Cat 2/3), Team Circuit (Cat 4) [or: PEAK POWER RADAR TESTING FOR RADAR ATHLETES]

Thursday, Feb. 12th:
Men – 20min fartlek run (yes, that’s the correct name for it; laugh if you really feel you must), Tech Stretch Challenge¬†& Core Exercises, Weighted Lunge Circuit
Women – Warmup, 30min erg (R22), 30min core, 30min run

Friday, Feb. 13th: <—- oooooooo¬†
Men – Ergs: 2km testing for anyone that was away (20min warmup + 2km test) for LBC Indoors OR 2x19min erg pyramid (R=3min), LDRun, Core/Stretching
Women – 40min run, 30min Relay Circuit with Ergs, Core/Stretching
...PLUS A SURPRISE!!! (No. It’s not a candygram.)

Saturday, Feb. 14th:
OFF… because your coaches also have lives & you probably have friends/family/people you’d rather spend your day with anyway ūüėČ

See you all in the morning,

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Training (Dec. 16th-19th) & Winter Holidays

Ola, Westdale!

Hopefully you all had a good practice this morning. This week’s training plan will run as follows:

***Final Week Before Holidays***

Tuesday, Dec. 16th:
Men – 5min run, 5min dynamic warmup, “Super Squats” Circuit, 50min weights, cooldown & stretch
Women – 25min erg (castles @22/24SPM 5min each); 25min house of pain; 25min core circuit

Wednesday, Dec. 17th: *Holly to take unisuit sizes for anyone that was away on Monday*
Men – 5min run, 5min dynamic warmup, 20min erg (castles @22/24spm 5min each), 20min core, 250/400/800/400/250 power tower
Women – 10min warmup run, “Super Squats” Circuit, 50min weights, cooldown & stretch

Thursday, Dec. 18th: *Guest Coach from Queens U*
Men – 5min run, 5min dynamic warmup, “Lactic Leg Lunge” Circuit, 15min core, 40min weights, cooldown & stretch
Women – 20min erg (ladders @18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 26, 24, 22, 20 – change every 2min)

Friday, Dec. 19th: *Guest Coaches from UBC + Medals*
Morning: ALL @WSS¬†–¬†5min warmup run, 5min dynamic stretching; “Super Squats” Circuit; Relay Races (10,000m set distance); cooldown & stretching; winter holiday training
Afternoon: 4pm @LBC РBrock University Recruitment Invite to HS Athletes (info on university, rowing, and opportunities at Brock University)

***Winter Holiday Training Plan***

Please note: this holiday schedule may change slightly depending on coach availability. Changes will be indicated on the blog. Maximum 15 athletes per session (1:15 ratio of coach:athletes), unless an additional coach is available.

Away for the holidays? Try some cross-training. My favourite is alpine skiing, though cross-country skiing is more beneficial for rowing. Skating intensely is also good. Try to get at least 4 session of cross-training in per week (8 sessions over the holidays) if you’re away.

Monday, Dec. 22nd: 8-10am @LBC with Alessandra (tank, ergs, weights – Day 1, core)
Tuesday, Dec. 23rd: 8-10am @LBC with Alessandra (tank, ergs, weights – Day 2, core) *crew breakfast to follow*

December 24th/25th = OFF
Friday, Dec. 26th: OFF for Westdale Rowers. LBC Club Members Only (2km testing at 10am) РCheck with Coach Steffan for details.
Saturday, Dec. 27th: OFF for Westdale Rowers. LBC Club Members Only (erging marathon) – Check with Coach Steffan for details.

Sunday, Dec. 28th: 10am-12pm @LBC with Alessandra (tank, erg, core) *team skate on harbourfront skate rink to follow*
Monday, Dec. 29th: 10am-12pm @LBC with Alessandra (tank, erg, weights – Day 1)
Tuesday, Dec. 30th: 10am-12pm @LBC with Alessandra (tank, erg, weights – Day 2)

Dec. 31st/Jan 1st: OFF

Friday, Jan. 2nd: 8-10am @LBC with Alessandra (tank, erg, core)
Saturday, Jan. 3rd: 10am-12pm @LBC with Alessandra (run & stairs)

Sunday, Jan. 4th: OFF

*End of Winter Holiday Training Plan*


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Did You Know?: WOAH, Rowing Science.


Many rowers feel the desire to “push until it hurts”, where an “effective” or “good” practice is determined by how much pain you feel and how sweaty you get. You’re probably thinking something like:

No Pain No Gain

Well, we’ve got news for you:

This isn’t true. And no, it’s not your coaches being crazy – it’s SCIENCE!


Here’s a great article about elite junior rowers (plus some other sports) and how they train to succeed:¬†Training to Succeed – The Value of Long UT2 Workouts

We all tend to crave quick-results and rewards, and we’ve probably all held unrealistic expectations like this at some point or another:

Workout Expectations

Wishing that it could be as easy as this:

Look, Abs

…but the reality is that getting results takes time, and the best results usually aren’t achieved through short intensity training. You still need to do AT/Cat 1 training (basically, your sprint work), but it shouldn’t be the bread & butter of what you do.

So, the main point of this post? A friendly reminder that the MOST beneficial thing for you to work on at this point in the season (particularly if you want personal success at your races in Jan/Feb & outdoor) is long-distance cardio & tech work, lots of technical work. Focus on getting the exercise perfect – NOT on doing it until it hurts or until you’re core strength has disappeared (which causes most technical failure). Because, let’s face it, you know you wanna be fast – but you definitely don’t wanna be like the guy in the picture below…

Don't let this be you!

Don’t let this be you!

Sometimes the best workout you can possibly do is the one that feels like no work, but leaves you sore the day after.

now you know - bill nye

See you tomorrow,

…Oh, and don’t be afraid of those long distance runs or rows ūüėČ

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Training, Team Dinner, Guest Coach & Game

Hey Westdale,

Despite tonight’s bad news, here are a few exciting things this week (and next):

Guest Coach:
We have a guest coach joining us on Wednesday, Dec. 3rd. Please be on-time & ready to start at 6:30am so that Zach can begin the program.¬†Zach Plug is the core strength coach for the Brock University Varsity Rowing Team, so we are VERY lucky to have him coming in to coach you this Wednesday. He’ll be teaching you all the basics of a core strength program called “Rowga” to improve your rowing – this is the same program that the Brock University Varsity Rowing Team uses.

Team Dinner:
We’re having a team dinner, yay! Please mark the date in your calendars: Friday, December 12th, at 6pm at Boston Pizza on Main Street West (near McMaster University). They have all-you-can-eat/drink pizza & pop, among other things. If you plan to attend, please add your name to this poll¬†so that I can book the reservation for the correct number of people:¬†http://doodle.com/scrq6v334yayz42y

Training Plans (Dec. 1st Р 6th):
Women – Ergs & Core & Run (20 min switches); stretching
Men – Weights (10min run, 60min weights, 5min cooldown run, 10min stretching & debrief)

Women – Weights (warmup, weights, cooldown & stretch)
Men – Ergs & Core (low-back injury-prevention focus) (10min switchups)

Wednesday: *Guest Coach Zach Plug from Brock University Varsity Rowing Team*
Full Team – ROWGA

Women – 10min warmup, 60min Circuit Training (distributed at practice), 10min cooldown & stretching
Men РErgs & Weights/Cardio Circuit (in gym, distributed at practice)

Full Team – RELAY

Full Team – Stair Run @Chedoke Golf-Course Stairs (7:30am)

Based on the wonderful facts you all submitted last week, we have a Guess-the-Rower¬†game with a prize at the end: First person to¬†determine the names associated with each fact on the sheet (two facts submitted per person) before Wednesday, Dec. 17th, will win the prize. Bonus points if you can identify the coaches’ facts. Here’s the sheet you need:¬†Guess the Rower Game

How to do it: print off a sheet (3 pages total), record the name of the rower associated with the fact on the sheet, and submit your sheet when you’ve got as many names as you can. You don’t need to complete the sheet, but the person with the most names recorded on their sheet will win the prize (it’s a good prize).

See you in the morning,

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Training Calendar for May & June; LBC Rowing Ban (Fees); Chili Cookoff Update

Hello Westdale Athletes & Parents,

Lots of important information can be found in this post, which will provide an overview of the following:
-Daily training schedules & workouts (both on-water and dryland-backup)
-Regatta dates (available in the May/June Training Calendar)
-Rowing fees update & LBC rowing ban (if unpaid)
-Chili Cookoff Update (cheques & funds raised)
I have also included some technical tips (with a video) for those of you interested in some pointers.

Training Calendar: Daily Workouts & Regatta Dates
To begin, here is the link to the daily training schedule: WSS Rowing 2014 Training Schedule (A. Gage – MAY & JUNE). This link includes regatta dates – just click to enlarge the calendar & you’ll be able to locate all of the information in one place.

LBC Rowing Ban: Fees Owing & Consequences
Leander Boat Club will prevent Westdale Rowing from continuing if we do not submit all of our rowing fees this week. In order for us to submit the cheque to Leander, we require ALL athletes to complete their fee payments by tomorrow (Thursday, May 1st), or you will no longer be able to row on the team. If you have ANY concerns about making the payment, please speak directly with me or Mike and we can arrange something that works for everyone. Please make cheques payable to “Westdale Secondary School” and include “[ROWERS FULL NAME] – Rowing Fees” in the memo. Please submit your cheques to me (Alessandra Gage) tomorrow (Friday, May 2nd) or you/your crews will be unable to go on-water.

Questions Regarding Secondary Boats – Men’s Team & Sr. Women’s 4x
All primary boats (SM1x, SM4x (A), SM4x (B), SW4x, SLM4+, and JFM4+) will be racing at Mother’s Day. In addition to your primary boats, the following secondary boatshave been entered for the Mother’s Day Regatta:

SLM1x – Hudson H.
JM2x – Max M. & Erik H.
SW2x – Haley H. & Kiija G.
SM8+ – Kiri D. (cox), JJ S., Nimeash D., Lucas A., Philippe B-R., Bogdan C., Toby M., Evan W., David L.
Brenna L. & Breanne H. – your secondary boat for Mother’s Day will be in the SW8+ (coordinated by Mike), but for all other regattas your secondary boat will be a SW2x.
Luke G. – your secondary boat will be stroking the SM4x (Hudson/Erik/Max) for Mother’s Day, but for all other regattas your secondary boat will be a SM2x with Carmichael.

Not all athletes will have secondary boats. Secondary boats will depend on experience, level of competition, and athlete/boat availability. Many of you are wondering when we will be training in secondary boats. This will occur during some of the morning & afternoon practices of next week. If the weather is good, I will take secondary boats for a practice in the afternoon with the PM-primary boats, but only if you’ve arranged it with me in advance.

Questions RE: Chili-Cookoff Update
The head of the Parent’s Committee, Lori Prevec, has been organizing and taking care of all things related to the Chili-Cookoff. She is currently tallying the cheques to determine the full amount of funds raised and should be able to provide an update soon. Once I’ve received the update, I’ll post it to the blog so everyone is aware of how much we managed to raise. Once Lori’s tallied the cheques, my understanding is that they will then be cashed ASAP by our teacher rep, Ms. Carolyn Craven. I will keep you all posted on any updates that I recieve.

Technical Tips: Advice for Rowers
As promised, here are a few quick-tips to keep in mind when training:

  • Warmup with a half-boat pick progression (full boat if experienced)
  • Try to incorporate a few higher-rate pieces (28, 30, 32) & a few lower-rate slide-control pieces (16, 18, 20) during your warmup
  • Practice position-3 pause to focus on body swing out from the bow & to feel the weight shift from bow to stern (e.g.: feel the weight move from the back wheels of your seat to the front wheels of your seat)
  • Once the blade is placed in the water (just beneath the water), push STRAIGHT to the finish by keeping hands level (like opening a drawer)
  • On the drive: squeeze the core and think of drawing the belly-button back to the finish (this will ensure BOTH hips and shoulders move equally towards the finish BEFORE the body swing)

Try watching this video for more pointers on how to pull through to the finish, as explained by former US World Champion Charlotte Hollings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpXP6l6QZGI

Wishing the wind would go away,