Today, we seat raced for the coxed 4 to race at Loughborough regatta. Since, only 4 people turned up we all won by default! Still, we had a good session on the water. The boat started off a bit unbalanced, but we soon sorted that out. We had a brilliant cox in the form of Ella (of Regatta magazine fame!), she knew exactly what we were doing wrong so was able to give us technical shouts as well as the usual encouragement. Personally, I found everything went really well. I seem to have arrived at a stage now where I have the time to think about what I’m doing wrong on each stroke and correct it, and also to not lose myself in the moment when I’m congratulating myself on a good stroke! A couple of things clicked for me today. Firstly, raising the hands at the catch. This has the effect of getting the (already squared) blade as close to the water as possible, which then means the catch is a very small movement of the hands, which also means I can lock on and start applying pressure through the legs that much quicker. This in turn means I’m not digging into the water with the blades as much because I’m not desperately trying the find the water at the catch. Which in turn makes the extraction easier and means I can get my hands away faster, thereby giving myself that tiny bit of extra time to prepare for the next catch on the way back up the slide. Which brings me neatly to the second thing that clicked today. And that is, that I should be producing all my speed whilst the blade is in the water. It sounds obvious, but when you’re trying to stay in time with the rest of the crew it’s not easy. Because of all of the things that come from raising the hands at the catch I find I’m not rushing back up the slide, and am getting much more length which in turn makes the boat move through the water that much quicker. Which, after all, is what it’s all about in the end.
I did find myself quite comfortable rating around 36 strokes per minute, and putting some really good pressure on too. Another good thing for me, in terms of progression, was that my technique didn’t fall apart when I was getting tired. We did 5 x 4 minute pieces and I managed to keep decent technique through all 5 of them, whereas only a month ago I would have been messing up big time in the last 2 pieces. We also did a 500 metre sprint after the pieces, and I even managed to keep it together all the way until we finished.
So, all in all, a really good session today. With the 30 minute UT2 erg after the water session, I feel like I’ve had a intensive workout today.