Jr National Team M4X
August 09, 2012 at 4:27 PM
Boys Jr National Rowing Team Trained in Seattle, Headed for Bulgaria
Seattle Rowing Center has been host to four elite junior rowers who are currently traveling to Plovdiv, Bulgaria to represent the USA at the Junior World Championships August 14-19.
Chris Wales, 17, from Seattle Rowing Center (Mercer Island, WA); Ezra Carlson, 18, from Humboldt Bay Rowing Association (Eureka, CA); Jake Coert, 17, from Lake Casitas Rowing Association (Ojai, CA); and Alex Buck, 18, from Maritime Rowing Club (Norwalk, CT) have been training in Seattle since June 15th. The boys were selected from an original group of 15 boys to row in the quadruple sculls at the Championships.
The boys lived at Seattle Pacific University while training two to three times a day six days a week under the tutelage of Conal Groom, former Olympian and National Team athlete who, together with business partner, Carol Nagy, established Seattle Rowing Center in 2010.
The boys train over 40 kilometers a day on the waters of the Shipping Canal, Lake Union and Lake Washington in addition to lifting weights and skill training on rowing perfects. They eat all of their meals at Seattle Rowing Center and are having fun building team rapport.
Carlson, who rows three seat and is headed to the University of Washington in September, says that the best part about training at SRC is “being able to train with three other focused and dedicated athletes and getting great coaching.” Seattle, he says, is a “great place to row!”
Wales, stroke seat, echoed Carlson and added that “spending so much time around the boathouse makes training more focused and allows for more intensity.”
Coert, two seat, says that it “has been great working with the other guys over the last month to improve their overall times and increase their speed.”
Buck, who sits in the bow seat and will row for the University of Pennsylvania in the fall, says that it is “motivating to have such high standards and that it is really cool to know that we are each pulling for the other while working on our personal improvement.”
All of the boys are inspired by the Olympic rowing, and Wales says that “seeing the elite Olympic athletes race helps to motivate them to row hard in their weekly 2,000 meter practice races.” They have been able to watch the rowing live from London on the Internet just before they go out on the water at 5:00 AM. Carlson stated that there is “at least one computer or television on all day” so that they can watch the Games whenever they aren’t training.
Coach Conal Groom has structured his program to “bolster the boys’ physiology” by adding altitude training. The boys use an altitude training apparatus that recreates training at 9,000 feet. The atheletes row using the apparatus to increase their red blood cell levels. Groom says that “they rarely row hard at altitude” but if they “row perfectly at altitude they can train their muscles for when they row at sea level.”
In addition to the physiological benefits of altitude training, Groom says there is a psychological advantage as well. “If the boys can manage the stress of rowing with less oxygen, then, when the racing gets difficult at sea level, they know that they will at least have more air to breathe.”
The boys trust Groom and are responding well to what Buck calls Groom’s “passion and fury.” Coert adds that Groom “doesn’t sugar coat anything. He asks that we push ourselves to meet the gold medal standard regardless of water conditions. And, he keeps us motivated so we can focus on the rowing.”
Wales adds that, “Even though he (Groom) is passionate, we respect him because he is also a collaborator who allows open dialogue.”
Carlson sums it up by stating that Groom “is intense and demands a lot more than any other coach I have had at this or any level.”
Since this is the Junior National team and only athletes under the age of 18 can compete, Groom and the boys have no idea what to expect when they get to Bulgaria. Groom is preparing the boys to make the A level final at the regatta, but says “they will be successful if they have a great race.” Groom pronounces this crew as the “cleverest, most skilled and arguably the strongest quad we have ever sent to the Junior World Regatta.”
Seattle Rowing Center is located at 1116 West Ewing Street Seattle WA 98119, and can be found on the web at www.seattlerowingcenter.com.
Contact Carol Nagy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-216-2255 if you are interested in youth rowing programs.