Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rowing: That Is the Question!

Welcome back to New Jersey and full-speed winter training! We returned from Thanksgiving break to mid-60s, sunny, summery weather, and are now confronting chilly December mornings and the joys of winter wind. But whether the training's indoors or out, it's all focused on getting us stronger, fitter, and tougher for the racing in the months ahead!

The GMU field house!
I had a great Thanksgiving break, getting to spend an awesome few days in Washington, D.C., with my boyfriend, Kyle. I also got to hang out with the George Mason women's rowing team, and even got the chance to share a little bit of my rowing experience with them (thanks for sticking around after morning practice, y'all!) At the end of my presentation, there were several really great questions, and I realized I haven't ever put up a post where I asked my blog readers exactly what they wanted to know. So...here it is. Ask away! Just post your question at the bottom of this post or email me at esther.lofgren@gmail.com!

Some of the questions I've been asked before: How can I get faster on my 2K? How do you get ready for a 6K? What do your hands look like? How much can you squat? What do you eat the night before a race? How did you learn how to scull? What qualities do you think make a good coxswain? Where do you find tall jeans? What's a video that you watch to see good rowing? How do you keep the boat from riding down to your side?

Racing with someone I learned a ton from--thanks, Shoop!
If you ask most elite rowers--and elite athletes in general!--most will tell you that they learned much of what they know from observing and asking people they thought trained and raced well. I continue to do just that, and I'd be happy to share what I've learned with you. Please send me your questions, and I'll answer them as best I can!

Happy training!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fall Speed Order and Power and Grace Calendar Winner!

Day One Done--Fall Speed Order 2011

This weekend is the Fall Speed Order on both coasts. Not sure who originally designed this, but it's two days of going all-out into the well, and is a important check box in our selection process. For those of us on the East Coast, we get to work around boathouse availability and take a 6K on Saturday afternoon, followed by a roughly 4.3K race on the water early Sunday morning in a 2- or a 1x.

There were mixed results on today's 6K, but a lot of really strong pieces from both new and experienced rowers. I was a little aggressive in my starting speed, and ended up paying for it quite a bit. But after some quality time with the trash can, I got in a good flush-out and recovery for tomorrow's race.

The weather forecast is a strong cross-head wind tomorrow morning, which means a good long race. I'm lining up with Susan Francia in the pair at 8:00 tomorrow, and I'm really excited to get out there and do our thing. On-the-water results will be posted here.

Power and Grace Calendar Winner!

And now, what you've all been waiting for...the winner of the autographed Power and Grace Calendar!!! Thanks to everyone for the retweets and reposts. The winner of the random drawing is: Claire Wallace! Thanks all...if you didn't win, you can pick up a calendar by clicking this link. (And email me at esther.lofgren (at) gmail.com if you would like to get it signed!)

Good luck to everyone racing here on Lake Carnegie tomorrow! Our West Coast teammates are already done with their Fall Speed Order, as of yesterday...you can check out their on-the-water results here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy November Playlist!

Downtown Princeton, about an hour into the storm.  Photo: Liv Coffey
So the fall head racing season is fully underway, with the Charles over, the Schuylkill and Princeton Chase just finished this past weekend--as well as my little brother's first head race, with Newport Aquatic Center at the Head of the American! Only a few more races to go before we head indoors (on this coast, anyway). We had a big ol' snowstorm Saturday--trees down, power out, and lots of good reasons to be training indoors (or be cuddled up in a blanket in front of the fireplace and/or space heater!) So...since erg season's just around the corner, here's a playlist that will help ease the transition from long, beautiful swing rows to sweaty five-minute pieces in the hurt locker.

As always, be one of the first 25 to comment on the playlist post, share on Facebook, or retweet to win a copy of the November Playlist! AND...one lucky reader will WIN A POWER AND GRACE CALENDAR SIGNED BY THE ENTIRE WOMEN'S TEAM! These awesome calendars are going fast, so share to get yours before we sell out! (And if you just want to order calendars, go to the Power and Grace website or email me at esther.lofgren@ gmail.com to order a signed one!) Thanks for reading, and enjoy!

The Happy November/Grady Loves Dubstep Playlist
All links are to previews or YouTube clips. All previewed tracks are available on iTunes.

1. Shake It Out (Benny Benassi Remix) - Florence + The Machine
2. This Ain't Water (Thirsty Pt. 2) - Starting Six ft. Mann
3. I'm A Goner - Matt & Kim ft. Soulja Boy and ANDREW W.K.
4. Pumped Up Kicks (feat. Dr. Pack) - DJ Shocker
5. Good Feeling - Flo Rida
6. Lights (Bassnectar Remix) - Ellie Goulding
7. Mr. Saxobeat (Radio Edit) - Alexandra Stan
8. Danza Kuduro - Don Omar & Lucenzo
9. We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris) - Rihanna
10. Crave You (Graz Remix) - Flight Facilities
11. After Midnight - Blink 182
12. Dignity - New Politics
13. Better With the Lights Off (feat. Chris Brown) - New Boyz
14. Rabbit Heart (SLOF MAN Remix) - Florence + The Machine
15. Turn Me On (feat. Nicki Minaj) - David Guetta & Nicki Minaj
16. The War Inside - Switchfoot
17. Countdown - Beyoncé
18. Without You (feat. Usher) - David Guetta & Usher
19. We Are Young (feat. Janelle Monáe) - Fun.
20. Feel So Close - Calvin Harris
21. Gold Guns Girls - Metric
22. Cinema (Skrillrex Radio Edit) [feat. Gary Go] - Benny Benassi
23. Faster Than My Angels Can Fly - Eric Church
24. Barefoot Blue Jean Night - Jake Owen
26. Stay Don't Go - Spoon
27. A Real Hero - College feat. Electric Youth
28. Dystopia (The Earth Is On Fire) - YACHT
29. Paradise (Fedde le Grande Remix) - Coldplay
30. Pass At Me (feat. Pitbull) - Timbaland
31. Da Mystery of Chessboxin (TF2 Remix) - Wu-Tang Clan

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Get ready for Head of the Charles...
and the 2012 Power and Grace Calendar!

The Head of the Charles Regatta is just five days away, and the women's team here in Princeton is gearing up to make the drive north to support everyone racing...and to share our amazing 2012 Power and Grace Calendar with the world!

This is our second year of making the calendar, and while last year's was beautiful, inspiring, and still hanging on my wall at home, I'm SO EXCITED for the 2012 edition! Our excellent calendar team hired two premiere New York-based photographers to shoot us on the water and in the studio, and put together little cameos that are windows into each rower--what inspires us and drives us on our journey as we train towards the 2012 Olympic Games.

Susan Francia. On your wall. Fierceness!
All images property of Jordan Matter and Jeremy Saladyga.

The calendar's not just beautiful, it's also useful to rowers and non-rowers alike: both major holidays and major regattas are printed in the calendar! Even though I see these women and train with them every day, I'm inspired every time I look at mine--it somehow manages to show both the incredible amount of training my teammates put in to this endeavor, while also showing everyone's competitive, beautiful, and resilient spirits.

So, if you would like to support our journey--100% of our net proceeds go directly to the women of the USRowing Princeton Training Center--and to hang some inspiration, motivation, determination, and just some pure joy in rowing on your wall for the next year, please buy a calendar!

All images property of Jordan Matter and Jeremy Saladyga.

You can order your calendar online by clicking here. We will be selling our calendars on Saturday and Sunday at the USRowing booth in the main tent at the Head of the Charles, and holding a special autograph session on Saturday from 2-4 at the Wintech Racing booth along the walkway by the finish line. We will be selling the calendars for $15 at the Charles--so come by and get one with autographs for the same price! You can also email me at esther.lofgren@gmail.com if you would like to order a larger quantity to sell at your club, event, or store.

Erin Cafaro can do more pushups than your boyfriend!
All images property of Jordan Matter and Jeremy Saladyga. 

If you want to see even more about the calendar, you can check out our photographer Jordan Matter's blog about our shoot, "25 Beautiful Women and 2 Frantic Photographers- How We Photographed an Olympic Calendar in One Day" here, as well as my teammate Megan Kalmoe's video about the making of the shoot here!

Thank you for supporting our journey. Go USA! (And SEE YOU AT THE CHARLES!!!)

Monday, October 10, 2011

An Apple-Pickin' Good Time!

Just some grown-ups doing some grown-up apple picking!

 This weekend we had some amazing weather in Princeton, and I decided to mix it up by going to pick some fresh produce with a couple of (non-rower!) friends. After conferring about where to go (our usual place, Terhune Orchards, was overrun by shrieking children for a Family Fun Weekend), we headed out to Lee Turkey Farm, which thankfully was not overrun by shrieking turkeys.

Yasmine, apple warrior!
I see you, Karen!
The produce was a bit spotty--this summer had too high of temperatures and too much rain (thank you, New Jersey!) for many good crops. But we managed to get a big five-gallon bucket of tomatoes, eggplants, and apples. It was our first time using apple pickers, little cages at the end of PVC pipes that are ingenious for reaching up to the highest branches. We also did a bit of tree-climbing, which turned out to be against the rules...which we only saw just as we were leaving! Oh, well.

Looking for apples!  All photos: Karen Pszonka.

I'm baking my share of the apples into my favorite apple crisp today...I'll have a photo up tonight!

Training has been going well as we build back into the year. It's been great to see Tweets and blog updates from athletes from other countries also building back into training--it makes us feel less alone that the first couple of weeks feel exhausting. I think everyone has a moment or two when you wonder if you lost all the work you put in over the last year! But after a bit, you realize it's all still there, and you're right back on track.

1x the pleasure, 1x the fun!  Photo: Stesha Carle.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Care Package

   I knew when I decided to pursue training full-time that my life would be a nomadic one. We spend somewhere between three and seven months each year away from Princeton at training camps and races, and in Princeton, "home" is the (admittedly amazing) guest room of my host family. If I'm lucky, I make it to my parents' house in southern California a few scattered days each year.

   However, one of the great things about being a nomad is receiving care packages from home. This Thursday I came home to a big box waiting on the porch. In it? Nothing spectacular: a bunch of clothes I'd sent home with my parents from the World Championships, some mail, and a note. But what was so special about it was that it was from home--a little link to the parents and brother that I don't get to see often.

   It's interesting, though--talking to athletes from other countries and reading interviews, we actually are "home" quite a bit. Many rowers from Asia, Australia, and New Zealand are abroad from May to September every year, and also travel to training camps. I''ve read that Chinese rowers often leave home to train in their teens and may not get to go home until they meet with success in their rowing careers or else after they've ended. And some rowers from Sweden and Norway live and race abroad for nearly the entire year.

   So there are quite a few of us out there who've lived out of our cars, who've moved somewhere far away, who travel across the country and around the world in pursuit of our racing dreams. I have no second thoughts about living the life of a nomad: I get to go to some truly amazing places and the whole time, I have the luxury of doing something that I love and that is an incredibly rewarding journey. But man, do I love those care packages and the little glimpse of home they give!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bled WRCs 2011: In the Books and On to 2012!

  After some post-race globe-trotting, I'm finally back home. Back to work on the water — and back to my blog-compatible laptop, hooray!

20 meters to go!   Photo courtesy row2k.com.

  Our last race in Bled was everything a final should be: exciting for the fans, but internally deliberate, aggressive, and full of heart. We had a bit of a delay at the start due to swans in the lanes earlier...so there were 15 minutes of all crews sitting there patiently, with dozens of spectators milling around and Guns'N'Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle" playing on repeat.

  The buildup was effective, though: everyone came out of the blocks blazing, and there was no settle or shift in the field's pace as we all went into the middle thousand. Staying internal and focusing on our race plan, we kept pushing. For a bit, we were going stroke-for-stroke with Canada, but we dialed in and listened to Mary, and kept moving. Beep...beep! The race was over so quickly, but there we were, holding hard after the finish line, the world champions by 3/4 of a second.

6:03.65. Feeling spent and glorious.  Photo courtesy Igor Meijer.

  Music boomed through the grandstands — appropriately (?), "American Woman" by the Guess Who. Finally, as the W8+ medal ceremony was beginning, we were able to squeeze onto the dock! It was wonderful to finally get to hug my teammates after such a great race. You work with these same women all year. You know how tough they are and how much you have all worked to prepare for this race and to be the best crew you can be. So to put all that work and energy into one race and have it be what you all hoped and trained for it to be — it's a really special moment.

Elle, Moose, Taylor, me, Jamie, Caroline, Amanda, Don, Mary, and Susan!

  The medal ceremony was a wonderful blur. Receiving my medal from the inimitable Anita DeFrantz. All of us having to drop an octave while singing along with the oddly-high-pitched national anthem. Hugging a dripping Whipple after we did the cox toss. I got to run up to the stands and hug my family. And then we were rowing off — to celebrate and share the moment with each other and with the people who had helped us get there!

Photo courtesy row2k.com

  After racing, I had some great travels both in Europe and back in the U.S. My boyfriend and I went down to  Portorož (near Piran) on the coast of Slovenia, a gorgeous little Adriatic fishing village, for a few days. Then it was off to Interlaken in Switzerland, where incredibly beautiful mountains intermingle with waterfalls, lakes, alpine flowers, and cows. Moo!

Stepping off the train in Lauterbrunnen (Interlaken).

  Then it was off to Colorado to get my butt kicked by the unintentional altitude training. My "favorites" were running hills at 8,000+ ft. and doing "The Incline" in Manitou Springs.

Nothing says fun like gaining 1200 ft of elevation in one mile, AFAP.

  We're back in Princeton now, settling right back into the rhythm of training. Besides training, our big focus at the moment is promoting our 2012 USA Women's Rowing Team Calendar, the proceeds of which go directly to the amateur athletes working here towards the goal of London 2012. If you saw these last year, they were amazing, and this year's are even better! Click here to order — you'll receive a pre-sale discount if you order by Oct. 1!

  Thank you for another year of support and sharing the journey with me. This coming year promises to be both the toughest and the most rewarding one yet. And I can't wait!

  Go USA!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bled 2011: Ready for the Final!

Out of the blocks in our heat.   Photo courtesy of Igor Meijer.

Tomorrow is the big day for us: lining up against Canada, Great Britain, Romania, the Netherlands, and China for the World Championships final. We go off the line at 1:24pm here in Bled (that's 7:24am Eastern and 4:24am Pacific); you can watch the racing live on TV (Eurosport) if you're on this side of the pond, and live on Universal Sports here. There is also a live race tracker with audio commentary here.

It's always a bit funny to me to have a year of work boiled down to a single race, but I am nothing but excited for tomorrow's final. We have done a lot of solid work, have prepared for this, and have really come together as a crew. We are ready to test ourselves, and I can't wait for our race tomorrow.

Today's racing by USA crews both buoyed and inspired us to go to a new level in our final tomorrow. The women's quad had an incredible final, never letting up the pressure on Germany even when both crews had miles of open water on the field, and took silver, notching the first medal of the regatta for USA crews.

Megan Kalmoe, Adrienne Martelli, Natalie Dell, and Stesha Carlé: 
the USA W4x killing it!  Photo: Allison Frederick 

The men's eight never quite hit their stride in the B-final. In spite of having a solid piece, the guys finished a few seats down to Ukraine, yielding the final Olympic qualification spot. It is really tough to see your friends and teammates come that close to the mark, but the guys already have their heads in the game as to getting back on track for qualification next year, and I know they'll make it happen.

USA M8+ at the starting line.  Photo: Allison Frederick.

And in action earlier today, our teammates in the women's pair held off a late-charging Canada to qualify the hull for the Olympics by 0.06 seconds. Way to make it exciting for the folks watching back home, Kady and Caryn!

USA W2- out of the blocks.  Photo: Allison Frederick.

For now, it's an early bedtime and getting ready for our race. So much training, tapering, and now...racing is here! I can't wait to sit on the starting line with my boatmates tomorrow and feel all this energy ready to unleash. So ready to race!

We've had an incredible outpouring of support here in Bled and from messages coming in from overseas. It means so much to me and to all of us to know that you are cheering us on from the grandstands, from your living rooms, from in front of your computer! Thanks for all of your support, and Go USA!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

One Down, One to Go in Bled!

USA W8+ out of the blocks!   Photo courtesy Allison Frederick, USRowing

Yesterday, we had our first race, and it was both a solid piece and a good starting point for us to build on. We lined up against Great Britain (who we raced a month or two ago at Henley, and who a few of the women in the boat had raced against in Lucerne), Germany, and Ukraine. It's funny that racing at Henley was on my mind, because the starting area here is also packed with spectators--something very rare at a World Championships (usually the coaching bike peloton are the only spectators!) But just like at Henley, it doesn't matter what's happening around you as soon as you're locked into the blocks and ready to race.

The racing switched to eight-minute centers yesterday to try to alleviate some of the launch wakes, but there was still a lot to do back in bow pair as we went through some bumps in the first 500 meters. However, we were all focused in on our race plan, and executed it from start to finish. It's great to be dialed in to one another, and I think we're all looking forward to building off of this race and finding another gear.

We also had a lot of fun yesterday on the bus playing with stickers. (Yes, we were a bit loopy when we came down for our second row!) My mom brought some obnoxiously American stickers--sparkly, patriotic, and purchased at Walmart--and we decided to see if we could "tag" other rowers on the overcrowded bus without them noticing. At first, it was just our fellow teammates, but then we got bold and moved on to the Greek lightweights sitting next to us. They really got into it--one of the women gave her (male) teammate sitting in front of her a big hug, surprising him enough to sneakily stick one on the back of his shirt. Susan did well too, putting a "Happy 4th of July" sticker on a cheerfully oblivious Danish lightweight guy. I also tagged a Chinese rower from the men's eight, who tried to tag me back for the rest of the bus ride. It's great how silliness doesn't have any language barriers!

The best, though, was our ride back, when we were on a much emptier bus. We tried to tag the Australian men's eight, but they were not amused. So instead, Susan and I launched a sticker attack against the guy sitting behind us--Matthew Pinsent! Unbeknownst to us, he put all of those stickers on my back, which we didn't realize until we were off the bus and headed back to the hotel! However, we did run into him in the mini-mart a few minutes later, and luckily had a few stickers left...although he was very careful to get in a different check-out line, we managed to make the last tag of the day a good one.

This morning, we got to sleep in, and get to cheer on our teammates racing today in reps. On the adaptive side, we're pulling for ASW1x Tricia Downing, ASM1x Ron Harvey, TAMix2x Anthony Davis and Jacqui Kapinowski, and LTAMix4+ Alex Stein, Eleni Englert, Emma Preuschl, Andrew Johnson and Eric McDaniel. After that, it's M2x Tom and Pete Graves, LM4- Will Daly, Ryan Fox, Robin Prendes and Anthony Fahden, W4x Megan Kalmoe, Adrienne Martelli, Natalie Dell and Stesha Carle, M2- Tom Peszek and Justin Stangel, and W2x Kate Bertko and Sarah Trowbridge.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

It's Time for Bled!

Racing is finally underway this morning here in Bled! The whole city is literally abuzz with the regatta. The announcer's booming voice can be heard over the whole lake. The starting line is just feet away from our hotel window. And the racing is on every TV and computer screen! It feels a bit like waiting to start your race at C.R.A.S.H.-B.'s...you're ready to race, but you're also never able to stop thinking about the fact that you're going to be racing!

We've seen nearly the full spectrum of weather since we've been here--the week started out HOT and sunny, then warm and windy, and then a huge thunderstorm yesterday, perhaps trying to give us a small dose of Hurricane Irene? It's calmed down a lot, but more weather will be rolling in by the end of the day--more challenges for all the small boats starting racing today!
The view from my office...
The course, town, and buses have all filled up in the last two days. This morning, we were joking that our odd-fitting USA team jerseys were the reason we were almost run over by crews at both ends of the course--they must have wanted to see them up close for themselves! We finally escaped the ITA LM8+ that seemed intent on clashing oars. The bus ride back had a bit more breathing room than this morning's: we were so jammed in that the doors wouldn't close, when the UKR W4x decided that that was the sign to also get on!
On the bus, everyone gets a bit of the your elbow-to-my head move...
We haven't had too many adventures here--we're in racing mode, so it's mostly just lounging around our hotel rooms...or around the hotel lobby...or eating...or sleeping. We're sharing a hotel with the Kiwis and Aussies, and even though the seating in the dining room is separated by country, we at least have the "DMZ" of the lobby to catch up with each other. The lobby has also been the source of nightly entertainment--from the "A Minute to Win It"-style show shooting a nail-driving contest to Slovenian folk dancers performing--which makes up for the consistently terrible lounge music playing on repeat. (I love Whitney Houston, but I don't know how many more times I can listen to "I Will Always Love You"!)
Slovenian folk dancers invading the lobby!

I'm rooming with Elle Logan, whom I've had the pleasure of rooming with since 2007. One of our favorite things to do is to watch bizarre Euro MTV music videos; this year's top find has been the slightly scandalous "Love Banana". We may have also watched a bit of the "William and Kate" movie, which was on TV *in English* last night!

Today, it's just watching racing, and our last practice before we start racing tomorrow! We are on tomorrow (Monday) at 11:06am (that's 5:06am Eastern); you can listen to live race audio and follow the live race tracker at http://www.worldrowing.com/live-results, or check results for all races here.

Keep cheering for the USA crews--great racing so far today from everyone, with props to our LM1x, W2-, M8+, and M4x, who all qualified for their respective A/B semifinals!

I also put together a slideshow of our trip from Munich to Slovenia and the goings-on so far in Bled:

That's all from Bled for now. Go USA!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Allo! Wir sind in München!

We arrived this morning bright and early in Munich, greeted by cool temperatures, much-needed coffee, and perhaps the best "Welcome" sign I've ever seen!

yes, those are real pretzels!
 So maybe that sign wasn't for us, but we were greeted enthusiastically by team boatman Andreas (sadly, sans German-style Bieber-lookalike assistant Marcel.) After a quick stop by our hotel, we were off to the racecourse to rig our boats and go for a quick paddle.

Look out, Susan! I think that's a shark...
Most of our men's team has been here for a few days already, and the non-camp boats will be joining us soon. One of the really fun things about Worlds is getting to catch up with teammates and coaches who've been training across the country. By the time racing starts, the USA will have over 100 athletes, coaches, and staff in town...the evening "training table" with everyone is always filled with great conversation and antics.

Poster from the '72 Olympic Games...no women rowing yet!
Our first rows over here have been pretty solid--we've made a few minor tweaks to the equipment and the lineup, and practices have been going well. The course here (the Rowing venue from the 1972 Munich Olympics) is very blocky and utilitarian, but the water is also crystal clear, and the weather has been sunny and calm. We even got to cool off a bit after practice--a little dip is the anti-jet lag!

ice baths can be fun!
We'll keep settling into the rhythm here and getting adjusted to everything. Yesterday we also enjoyed watching the live video of the Pan American Games trials-congrats to Margot, Meg, Ken, and everyone else on their wins yesterday! That's all from Munich for now...off to dinner!

Oh, and you can see a slideshow from our first few days in Germany here:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Edge of Glory Playlist

  The past two weeks have been all over the place, with coming back to Princeton, jumping right into selection, some weather delays (oh, New Jersey! It wouldn't be selection without 100°+ weather and thunderstorms...at the same time!), and then some interesting trials still coming next week.

  I've been changing gears quite a bit this spring, and last week got a chance to try for the eight, which ended up going well. I'm excited to have the opportunity to race again with my boatmates from last year's eight--including our entire four from 2009, now three years in a row together!--and I think Susan and Caroline coming in have brought some great talent and experience to the crew.

Racing with Susan, Meghan, Amanda, and Jamie
(all in this year's 8+) in Lucerne last year!

  This playlist has been in the works for a while, but it's all about racing. The excitement and deadly calm just before the race starts. The energy of surging off the line. The focus of base pace. That incredible feeling of knowing that in two strokes you are going to unleash an unstoppable move--what the line "I'm on the edge of glory" reminds me of. And, of course, the sprint--being deep in the pain cave but finding it in yourself to will more speed out of your legs, out of the hull.

  So, enjoy this musical tribute to the best part of our sport! Good luck to everyone racing at Canley--the most fun week ever--and trials! (**Except for the Wugazi song, which is available for free on the linked website, all links go to previews of the tracks. All songs are available on iTunes, or for free if you are one of the first 20 to retweet this or share it on Facebook!)

1. Slow Like That -- Wugazi
2. Drop -- Ying Yang Twins
3. Give Me Everything -- Ne-Yo ft. Pitbull, Nayer, Nadia
4. Liv Tonight -- Nelly & Keri Hilson
5. The Edge of Glory -- Lady Gaga
6. Call Your Girlfriend -- Robyn (**The official video is here, but the more awesomer video made by my teammates Mara Allen and Adrienne Martelli is here!)
7. Party Rock Anthem (feat. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock) -- LMFAO
8. Hello -- Martin Solveig & Dragonette
9. BodyBounce (feat. Akon) -- Kardinal Offishal
10. Temperature -- Sean Paul
11. I Wanna Go -- Britney Spears
12. Get Up (Extended Mix) -- Stanton Warriors, Ruby Goe & Hollywood Holt
13. S.C.O.M. (feat. Ryu, Juelz Santana & Mike Shinoda) -- Celph Titled
14. Blind Faith -- Chase & Status
15. Fortune Days -- The Glitch Mob
16. Make Some Noise -- Beastie Boys
17. Off That (feat. Drake) -- Jay-Z
18. Otis (feat. Otis Redding) -- Jay-Z & Kanye West
19. Dance With Me Remix (feat. Beanie Sigel) -- 112
20. Dancing With the DJ (Chiddy Bang Remix) -- The Knocks
21. Feel It In My Bones (feat. Tegan and Sara) -- Tiësto
22. Houdini -- Foster the People
23. Shine a Light -- Wolf Parade
24. Girl Is On My Mind -- The Black Keys
25. The Magic -- Joan As Police Woman
26. Furr -- Blitzen Trapper
27. Worn Me Down -- Rachael Yamagata
28. Drive It Like You Stole It -- The Glitch Mob
29. Sweet Disposition (Yes Giant Remix Radio Edit) -- The Temper Trap

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Finals: Sunday in Lucerne

Final strokes of the rep!  Photo courtesy row2k.com
After a good solid race in our rep yesterday, we are feeling confident and excited coming into this afternoon's final. Reps aren't always a good way of gauging your speed, because you never know what other countries' race strategies are to qualify for the final, but we had a solid and aggressive piece that we are ready to build off of for today's final.

We are lining between Great Britain, the defending World Champs, and Australia, with Germany (World Cup leaders this year), New Zealand, and Ukraine filling out the rest of the starting blocks. Our race goes off the line at 1:29pm (7:29am Eastern/4:29am Pacific), and there will be live video streaming through the World Rowing website at http://www.worldrowing.com/video. You can also see the splits and results via live race tracker at http://www.worldrowing.com/live-results.

The weather has been interesting here--alternating lovely sunny skies with rain and occasional thunderstorms. There will be variable weather this afternoon, but whether 70, sunny and tailwind or 60, bumpy and pouring, we're excited to get to the line and drive down the race course with everything we've got.

Some USA crews have already raced this morning in the B finals, and we will have crews racing throughout the morning in the A finals, so be sure to tune in to the live streaming video starting at 10:15am to see the racing! Thanks for the support, and GO USA!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Lucerne 2011: Day One Done!

Off the line in our heat!    Photo courtesy row2k.com
We had our first race together today, and while we definitely have places to go, it was a solid starting point. We lined up against Germany (World Cup 1 and 2 winners), Australia (who I raced last weekend at Henley), China, and Russia. We ended up a second and a half off of Germany, and will be racing in the rep tomorrow with a solid field, including Ukraine (World Cup and Worlds medalists from the last few years). We’re racing at 3:12pm (9:12am Eastern, 6:12am Pacific) and you can see live results at http://www.worldrowing.com/live-results.
Kristin Hedstrom and Julie Nichols dominating the LW2x
USA overall did very well for Day 1, with some extremely strong performances to boot. The lightweight women’s double of Julie Nichols and Kristin Hedstrom won both their heat and quarterfinal races, making it look easy in the heat by nearly a length of open). The women’s pair of Taylor Ritzel and Caroline Lind also moved out to open water in winning their heat, and the women’s eight won their heat by a length after a fighting back through the field. Our men’s eight also had a great race today. Our guys went for it against defending World Champions Germany, were within a second of them the entire race, and nearly caught them in the sprint. The other heat of the men’s eight featured a 0.01 second win by the Netherlands over Worlds silver-medalists Great Britain—a big sprint that produced one bowball’s lead and avoided a trip to the reps for the Dutch.
M1x Ken Jurkowski
Another exciting performance of the day was from men’s single Ken Jurkowski, who took second in his heat before winning his quarterfinal (Mahe Drysdale took third) to advance to the A/B semi tomorrow.

The women’s double of Sarah Trowbridge and Kate Bertko finished a tight second in their rep this afternoon after finishing a tight second in their heat this morning, and advanced to the A/B semi tomorrow. Our men’s double of Will Miller and Glenn Ochal put on a good sprint to win their rep and also advanced to tomorrow’s A/B semi. Our other pair, Meghan Musnicki and Susan Francia, finished second in their heat to advance to the A/B semi, where they will face off against USA1.
Banks, Stitt, Monaghan, and Stafford in the M4-
There was also exciting racing by our men’s fours. Both took a trip through the reps after tough draws this morning, and both won their reps, including a win by Silas Stafford, Ryan Monaghan, Sam Stitt and David Banks over defending World Champions France. The two fours will face off tomorrow in the A/B semifinal. The second women’s lightweight double of Ursula Grobler and Abby Broughton also made it through to the semifinals after a trip through the reps, and will race alongside USA1 in the A/B semi tomorrow.

Our men’s pair, Justin Stangel and Tom Peczek, will race in the C final tomorrow, as will our lightweight men’s four and men’s quad. After an extremely close rep, women’s single Gevvie Stone will also be racing in the C final tomorrow.

That’s all from Lucerne—bedtime here! Check back tomorrow for more updates and photos. Go USA!

***All photos courtesy USRowing.***

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ready to Race: Lucerne World Cup 2011!

After a whirlwind of racing last weekend and traveling on Monday, we have gotten in a good few days of training and are all gearing up to race tomorrow. The last few days have been pretty uneventful, but this afternoon we had a freak rain/thunder/hailstorm at the course! We just managed to get our boat racked and tied down before the deluge started...our lightweight men's four, however, wasn't so lucky, and had to row through the craziness just to get in.

We haven't had much of a chance to explore, but I have managed to take a few photos around the city and at the course. I put together a little slideshow here:

I am racing tomorrow in the women's quadruple sculls at 12:30pm Lucerne time (that's 6:30am Eastern, 3:30am Pacific, in case you're still up!) My boatmates Natalie Dell, Megan Kalmoe, and Stesha Carle and I are all excited for our first race together and to get out there and go! You can follow along at http://www.worldrowing.com/live-results to see both the live race results and a list of race results from the day.

First glimpse of us in action--this afternoon's race against the thunderstorm!

Thanks for all of the support and cheering during last week's racing...it means a lot to me and all of the other rowers here. This is our first official race of the season, and we can't wait to get to the starting line tomorrow. Boom. Go USA!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Henley Sunday: Double the Fun!

Sorry it’s taken me so long to post—Saturday and Sunday of this week were a bit crazy, and I’ve finally just started to feel like we’re settled in here in Lucerne.
The USA ladies of the 8+ and the 4x with the Remenham Challenge Cup (8+) and Princess Grace Challenge Cup (4x)!
Sunday was another adventure at Henley. It started off with a bit of a bang-up during our paddle in the “Tall Quad” (rhymes with “awkward”) in the morning. I didn’t realize that motorboats were allowed to double-park inside the booms, and took off half my rigger during our trip down. Thankfully, aside from my rigger, the rest of the equipment was fine, and everyone was fine as well. After we got in from the row, I found out that unfortunately my teammate Erin Cafaro wasn’t going to be able to race that day. Thankfully, she’s doing much better, and is back in the 8+ for our racing this week in Lucerne.
The aftermath.
I headed down to the course ready for a day of racing and resting. We launched the eight and had a solid warm-up down to the start. After making sure we were aligned and both sitting ready, the official in the launch started us, and we were off! Our race was solid, if not quite as fast out of the blocks as the boat’s race Friday. We pushed towards the end, including a big move where we all pulled for Cafaro. We ended up tying the course record that the eight had set on Friday, which was really exciting to find out afterwards. The British national team definitely pushed us, and I’m sure there will be some good hard US-GB racing here in Lucerne.
Last strokes of the Remenham Cup final!
After our race, I felt like a crappy boatmate, but I was told to go recover and rest while the rest of the boat derigged and prepped the eight for travel to Lucerne. Luckily, the showers at Henley are freezing, and I had packed plenty of snacks, recovery drinks, and water, so I was good to go. About 40 minutes after I finished my cooldown from the 8+ race, my 4x teammates arrived to start warming up for our Princess Grace final! So, it was back to work.

We launched and had a much less eventful row up to the start than our paddle that morning (thankfully!) We were early to the start, and were hanging out waiting to pull into the starting blocks when we started being heckled by some tipsy teenagers on the bank. “Where are you from?” I pulled on my uni so they could see the “USA” down the side. “Oh, USA, huh? Well…row this one for Sarah Palin! I mean, for KFC!” Luckily, before they got to Walmart, it was time to row it up to the start.

Final strokes of the Princess Grace Challenge Cup. Photo courtesy row2k.com.
We had a really solid start, and as we lengthened down, we discovered we were in the middle of the best piece we’d had together as a boat. We executed our race plan and were able to push out, bit by bit, to a little bit of open water. It was really exciting to have our best piece be the final—it’s great to have awesome teammates who thrive under pressure, too!

Me and J.P. Newport/Harvard pride!
We only had a few minutes after the race to meet and be excited about the great race we’d had, because then it was off to get dressed in twenty minutes to get to the Steward’s Enclosure for the awards ceremony! We managed to get in a shower, throw on our dresses and hats, and powerwalk over just in time (there is no running at Henley!) Being in the medal stands were a great experience. I got to catch up briefly with J.P. Hogan, who won in the Harvard 4+, and with whom I’ve trained over breaks at the Newport Aquatic Center for the past few years.
Sir Matthew Pinsent was also our trophy-tender (you don’t leave with the Cup, you leave with a picture of the Cup!) and it was such an honor to meet him. After teasing our quad when we asked for a boat picture with him—“Ah, yes, the women’s quadruple sculls, the event for which I am best known”—he congratulated me and our team on our successes.

Pimms Cups with two of my favorite ladies, Meghan Musnicki and Elle Logan!
After all of the hoopla, I finally got to sit with a few teammates, friends, and parents, and have the obligatory Henley drink, a Pimms cup. Well, I didn’t entirely make it through the Pimms…turns out my stomach wasn’t up much for celebrating after all that racing. But I enjoyed the half a Pimms, and all of Sunday’s racing and Henley adventures, quite a bit. And I’m so proud of Team USA for our success throughout the racing. What a great first trip to Henley!