Pictures from Head of the Lake

Posted in Uncategorized on November 7, 2011 by piocrew

Great weekend in Seattle, awesome racing both Saturday and Sunday.  Writeup will be on very soon but in the meantime, some great photos from Sunday’s gorgeous Head of the Lake are up-all photos thanks to Row2k.  Check it out!

Men’s Eight:

Women’s Eight:


All Together

Posted in Uncategorized on September 26, 2011 by piocrew

Monday, 6:15 AM, into the erg room for the first workout of week two.  One of the themes we’re working on with the women’s team this year is “all together”- crew is, after all, in no way an individual sport.  We succeed and fail as a team.  With that in mind, and looking to spice up our indoor training, I re-arranged the erg room with the help of a couple of the Varsity men and novices Friday.  The erg room now has three rows of three ergs on sliders, plus another row of two and a single in the corner, allowing for plenty of flexibility with different numbers.

The short video above is one of our warm-up tens; you can see the rhythm isn’t quite there yet.  The team kept at it, though, and as we went through our eight minute pieces it got more and more solid and I think we started to see the benefit of pushing together, something I’m hoping will translate directly back to the boat.

The women are back on the water Tuesday afternoon, the men are out this evening for their Monday row.  The weather seems to have shifted and it’s cool and rainy again but with that we loose the boat traffic and the river is perfect right now.  Looking forward to getting back out there.

A community of athletes.

Posted in Uncategorized on September 13, 2011 by piocrew

Here we are, Tuesday, six days out till we start the Fall 2011 season.  We’re seeing unprecedented novice interest- part of the reason for the long gap in posting is the wonderful challenge of getting all these folks ready to go for the season- and our experienced athletes are excited and seem to be training well towards day one.

Had a great moment this morning; I got up early to get my own workout done and be at the desk at a reasonable hour.  Got in to campus just after nine AM, dropped my stuff off in Zhentbauer, then went over to Pamplin to shower.  What I found there was a community of athletes.  Cross Country, Football, Swimming athletes, and also other students and faculty and bike commuters- all finishing up workouts and preparing for the day to come.  Very cool to see so many folks using their bodies, working towards their goals, and getting the work done early.

Off to California for my Bay Area recruiting trip starting this evening; can’t wait to talk up the college and see some great rowing.  In the meantime… anticipating the alarm to going off for practice number one, Monday morning, September 19th.

New look, new bridges, new coaches.

Posted in Uncategorized on August 2, 2011 by piocrew

Looking forward into the 2011-12 season on the second day of August.  I suggested to all the athletes that yesterday was the day they start preparing for the Fall 2011 season so it seems appropriate that I post an update and update the look of the blog a bit.

Lots of interesting things happening on the river right now.  Just upstream of our boathouse, visible from the dock, there are two big barges underneath the Sellwood Bridge, a part of the preparation for the building of a new bridge there.  The replacement plan is mind blowing- worth checking out.

Downstream, the new no-wake zone in the Holgate Channel has gone into effect and new buoys and signs are proliferating seemingly weekly.  This no-wake zone holds a lot of promise, especially for September and October afternoons as we try to teach folks the basics.  From my own rowing this summer it doesn’t seem to be common knowledge yet, but I’ve noticed fewer ski boats out there, so its a start.

Further downstream is the big doozy, yet another new bridge going in.  The new TriMet bicycle, pedestrian, and transit bridge is a huge project and the infrastructure involved is intimidating.  Check out the webcam; half a dozen barges, tugs going by frequently, another no-wake zone, and bunches of buoys have all popped up in this stretch of river.  By the way– like with the Sellwood– worth a few minutes of your time to look at the PDF presentation linked here to see the build process and plan.  I find these big projects fascinating.

In the midst of all these projects we bid adieu to Audrey, who is off to the brand-new women’s varsity team at University of Portland.  Audrey as a first year coach had a tremendous influence on the look and feel of our squad last year and she’ll be missed.

We’ve hired a new face and a familiar one to help out from here out.  Todd Vogt joins us from Willamette University (he’s seen the light!) and will be working with the novices, especially on the men’s side, and doing a chunk of our recruiting.  For prospects on the men’s side- you’ll likely be hearing from Todd soon!  I’m also excited that Ruthie Ditzler, a three-year rower for L&C, conference champion, WIRA champion, two-time 2nd team All-American, and general badass, has joined the coaching staff.  Ruthie will be working with the novice and 3v women and her knowledge of the program and what it takes to be successful here will be invaluable.

So that’s the August update.  We’ve got just over seven weeks till’ the fall season starts and every time I cross a task off the list I seem to add two more.  Fired up to get the team back on campus and get back to the work of going fast!

Team Culture

Posted in Uncategorized on June 9, 2011 by piocrew

Our team culture means rigging the boats you're not racing in.

I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days about the team culture: what I think it is, and where we want it to go.  As I have conversations with prospective student-athletes especially this comes up a lot.  Who are we?  What kind of community do we have?  And what are we striving to become?

In no particular order, here are some of the thoughts I’ve had.

We should be a team built on the idea that anyone can start rowing here, but only those who are passionate, engaged, and committed to the daily practice of great rowing will stay.

Results should never get in the way of improvement, and improvement should be a collaboration between the coaches and the athletes.  Neither results, or improvement, should ever interfere with a love of the sport, but if we love the sport we’ll be striving for both daily.

There is no room for superstars on this team.  I’m interested in teammates who are smiling and enthusiastic at 5:30 AM, I’m interested in teammates who are fired up for seat racing, win or loose, I’m interested in teammates who are willing to push to a higher effort in order to make those around them better.

Servant leadership is one of my favorite concepts; lead by working to help those around you.

Fun is integral.  This sport is such a wonderful privilege.  My favorite days have been the days we’ve been performing the best with big smiles on our faces- days in high-pressure races, with lots on the line, when those around us were stressed and dour, and our athletes were laughing and joking and still racing well.  Focused, relaxed, determined, and fun can all exist in the same space.  Those are the best days.

We do things the right way.  I love being part of the team that has the first trailer loaded, I love being part of the team that can get a boat from the trailer to the water in ten minutes when another program needs to borrow it on short notice.

The sport is hard.  Rowing at Lewis & Clark great, but it’s important to recognize we’ve got some challenges with our place.  Challenges, daily, make you better.  We don’t do this because it’s the easy path- we do it because it makes us better people.  And at the end of the day, at the end of the season, it’s immensely satisfying to look back on the challenges overcome and the journey you’ve taken.

Anatomy of 25 seconds.

Posted in Uncategorized on May 9, 2011 by piocrew

Just like that- all wrapped up.  WIRA was a whirlwind of preparation, with a last minute change of plans putting me in the trailer for a solo drive to and from California.  It’s a good chance to reflect on the season but by the time I was back I was ready for a little distance and left the blog alone; now here we are a week later, the seniors have graduated (huge congrats to Andrew, Sarah, Ruthie, and Helen!) and everyone else has gone home.

You can read about the results from WIRA here, but I wanted to focus on one statistic- twenty five seconds, to be exact.

One of the best parts about the Lake Natoma racecourse is that it’s one of the few we go to that’s precise.  The course is professionally maintained, has been in use for decades, and is run by a true team of experts.  We can rely on the fact that if the crews race in good conditions, the times will stand up pretty well from year to year.

Last year (2010) our women’s varsity eight went 7:13.8 in the heat.  The finals were windy, so that time was pretty off, but the heats were run in calm weather and water.  The crew went on to finish fifth in the grand final, equaling our 2008 crew.  With six freshman in the crew we felt really good about that race.

This spring our women’s eight finished the grand final in a time of 6:48.8, exactly twenty five seconds faster then last year.  The conditions were near ideal, with maybe a little bit of current flowing, but still- an excellent time that shows the improvement we’ve seen throughout the year.  And… we finished fifth.  The same placing as 2008 and 2010.  The racing was incredibly tight and competitive, but in the end the final result was the same.

A week later and I’m philosophical about it.  The crew, and the team, improved tremendously this year.  We had two, and often three, eights on the water daily.  We got a tremendous amount better and continued to improve all the way to the end of the season.  However, so did everyone else- the NCRC women’s field was stacked this year, and showed it by going 1st to 5th at WIRA, with a spread of 4 seconds from 2nd through 5th place.

So now it’s time for some relaxation, some reflection, some time away, and the summer work of repairs, refurbishments, and recruiting.  School kicks off August 29th.

Next year striving for a few seconds more.

PS-> I’m continuing to expand our presence into the digital age.  Pioneer Crew is now live on Facebook.  “Like” us to see the updates- much of it will be content from this blog as I post updates, or we’ll  post photos/updates directly on facebook as well.

More from Champs.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 24, 2011 by piocrew

As you may have surmised with the picture last night, the men repeated their victory of last year to earn Lewis & Clark’s third Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference Championships.  They also took the Men’s eight and Men’s four for the first time ever- great wins, great day.

Women’s team also had a great day and tied Willamette in points; the finish of the varsity eight breaks the tie and we pulled that one out to finish 5th as a team; one place better then last year but in a much more competitive field.  The Women’s eight race was amazing- Western out front and then only four second separating 2nd-5th.

Read more, or just check out some more pictures below from team manager Sarah Lomas!