“In looking into personal data, how hard we are having to work to produce those speeds as an individual and as a boat are incredibly important. An eight needs to work well as a team and be more than the sum of its parts.”
Britain’s “bankers” for gold – the women’s pair and men’s four – came home with the goods from the European Championships in Brandenburg an der Havel, Germany, today and there was an exciting bonus win from the new-look women’s eight in the Olympic classes as well as superb win for the lightweight men’s pair.
Every crew from every nation had to dig deep in the strong cross-winds which meant winning came ugly rather than with finesse.
Helen Glover and Heather Stanning won the women’s pair to defend successfully their European title by some margin while the new-look 2016 men’s four of Alex Gregory, Mohamed Sbihi, George Nash and Constantine Louloudis controlled the conditions better than the opposition as well as having the power to take victory by just over a length.
Sbihi said: “I didn’t need to call for a big push at the end. We had the length at the end. They were tough conditions. Every time we got some boat-speed the wind hit us but you have to deal with the conditions on the day”.
Gregory said: “It was very hard to do what we normally try to in training but it was a real test of our boatmanship. I am really pleased with the start we have made and I am excited to find out what we can do from here”.
Glover said: “There were waves coming over my back at the start but racing here has up-skilled us. We may have cross-wind conditions in Rio so it was good to race in them”.
Stanning added: “We may be an experienced crew but we’re not experienced in these conditions. So we had to concentrate”.
The GB’s women’s eight added a fabulous third gold when they smashed through the Dutch leaders with about 10m to go.
“The speed with which we were able to come through at the end was the special bit. We have a lot of speed in this boat”, said OlympianKatie Greves who is clearly excited about this crew.
“Everyone did their job and stayed calm even though we were a length down’, said Zoe Lee, the stroke of boat. “It’s a privilege to row with these women”.
Sir David Tanner, GB Rowing Team Performance Director, said: “It’s been a day of mixed fortunes for the team with some exceptional performances especially our four golds.
“Conditions have bordered on the extreme and have bene a tough challenge for all nations but we are an outdoor sport and have to accept that. It’s now onto Lucerne for the World Cup in late May where we will hope for calmer water”.
Alan Sinclair and Stewart Innes added silver to the GB tally of four golds, two silvers and a bronze, in the men’s pair. They beat the Dutch who should have been their main opposition only to lose out on gold to Hungary who surged through at the end. “I’m disappointed’, said Innes afterwards. “We came here to win”.
Sinclair added: “Those were tough conditions. I still think we have our best rowing to come”.
Chris Bartley, Mark Aldred, Jono Clegg and Peter Chambers were beaten to gold only by the reigning World Champions Switzerland in the light men’s four. Their silver came in a time of 6:47.73 and was a big step on from their ninth place at last year’s World Championships.
Bartley said: “After last year we are pretty pleased with that start”. Aldred added: “We have worked hard and made a lot of improvements over the winter”.
The men’s eight, a new line-up in 2016, took bronze in the last race of the day in a race won by Germany with Russia taking silver.
“That was an exciting race. In terms of eights racing that’s about as exciting as it can get with several crews having had the lead at various times”, said World Champion Paul Bennett afterwards.
In the opening race of the day GB’s Sam Scrimgeour and Joel Cassells were emphatic winners of lightweight men’s pair gold, in one of the sport’s International Class events. They got out to an early lead and went on to seal victory with style. The victory meant a European title to add to Scrimgeour’s 2015 World gold and a successful title defence for Casseslls.
GB had 13 crews in today’s finals and took four golds, two silvers and a bronze. The next big event for the GB Rowing Team will be the world cup in Lucerne from May 27-29.
How much faster can the boat go? That was the question on everyone’s minds when SAS, the Official Analytics Partner of British Rowing and the GB Rowing Team, welcomed past and present members of the GB Rowing Team to a special event at the historic London Rowing Club, Putney. The event looked at how the sport has evolved, and the role of data in making the boat go faster still.
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Over the past 100 years of Olympic rowing, between 1912 (when the race length was standardised at 2,000m) and London 2012, the winning men’s eight boat has become nearly 27 seconds faster – a 7.2 per cent improvement.
To help identify how the sport has developed over the past century, Michael Lapage, an Olympic rower who was part of the silver-medal-winning eight crew from the 1948 London ‘Austerity’ Games, spoke about the changes he’s seen in his lifetime. Speaking at the SAS event, the 92-year-old, who was also part of the winning 1948 Cambridge Boat Race crew, said: “The biggest change is to the equipment. We had a wooden boat and hollow wooden oars, whereas now the equipment is largely made from carbon fibre, which is very much lighter.”
While there have been significant enhancements made to the materials used, research by sports scientist Stephen Seiler PhD reveals improvements to athlete training and physiology are responsible for more than 40 per cent of the gains made.
Four-time Boat Race winner, and Olympic bronze medallist, Constantine Louloudis is an advocate of the use of data analytics and science to continue making the boat faster. The double world champion said: “Now that materials have improved and we’ve made a lot of positive steps in the past few decades, the new way to get better is to be more scientific, being more intelligent with our training and that means monitoring and using data.
“It’s so helpful having the partnership with SAS because they can analyse the data in the data in different ways than either the coaches or the athletes. Their feedback can be communicated to our coaches who ultimately ensure we implement the necessary changes.”
Rowing has been part of the Olympic programme since the modern Games were introduced by Pierre de Coubertin in 1896 and the GB Rowing Team has established itself as a force to be reckoned with, picking up 63 medals – 28 gold, 22 silver and 13 bronze, putting them second overall for Olympic rowing medals won.
SAS is helping the GB Rowing Team maintain its tradition of first-class Olympic performances by analysing data from all aspects of the squad’s preparations for Rio. This can identify where marginal gains might be made to help make the boats faster and give the team a competitive advantage.
Hugo D’Ulisse, Head of Analytical Platform, SAS UK & Ireland, added: “British Rowing has been very successful in a competitive world of very fine margins. And we know significant improvement is possible through the aggregation of marginal gains. Firstly, by using detailed data analysis it’s possible to make decisions that aren’t purely based on gut feel. Then there’s the possibility to fine-tune what’s already being done to make small improvements. And finally, there’s the possibility of finding unexpected correlations – those relationships between things you would not have otherwise discovered.
“This is the journey we’re now on with British Rowing and the GB Rowing Team and we’re excited by what this also means for an up-and-coming generation of rowers and beyond. We believe we can help in a number of ways, including better identification of future champions among junior rowers on the way up.”
Featured Image Source: http://www.britishrowing.org/athlete/constantine-louloudis/
Ahead of the Cancer Research UK Boat Races on Sunday, 27 March, one of the men’s race’s most successful participants and four-time winner Constantine Louloudis, now part of the GB Rowing Team, has revealed what a contrast the preparation is compared to chasing Olympic gold in Rio.
Speaking at an event hosted by SAS, the Official Analytics Partner of British Rowing and the GB Rowing Team, the former Oxford Blue and London 2012 bronze medallist commented on the vastly different physiological requirements.
Having rowed in both events, Louloudis is under no illusions as to how the two vary. ‘‘The Boat Race is about three times longer than the 2000m Olympic course and that means the emphasis is much more on aerobic development, being able to go the distance and last for a race that takes between 17 and 20 minutes, whereas at the Olympics or World Championships it will all be over after about six minutes if you are in an eight-man boat.”
“In the national team we spend a lot of time weight training and building the explosive power you need for a shorter 2000m race, where you need to be explosive out of the start compared to the Boat Race which is all about sustaining a pace for as much as 20 minutes. When training for the Boat Race with Oxford it was all about extended aerobic work on rowing machines or on the water for as much as 90 minutes, twice a day.”
He continued, “I think the one-on-one nature of the rivalry is pretty important but, when you are first in the Boat Race and if you aren’t quite used to that rivalry, it’s the profile that is the biggest thing. The reality is that in a sport like rowing, getting an event that so many people are in to, and gets such exposure, makes a big difference and is really exhilarating.”
First held in 1829, the race is one of the oldest annual sporting events in the world. Over 250,000 spectators are set to line the banks of the Thames on Sunday and millions more will tune in from around the world.
Image – Constantine Louloudis at London Rowing Club at an event organised by SAS, the official analytics partner of British Rowing and the GB Rowing Team
PHOTO CREDIT: SAS / Victoria Middleton
Around 300 young rowers from across the country will have the first chance of 2016 to stake their claim for a coveted GB Rowing Team vest when the February Junior Assessment takes place this weekend.
The two-day event in Boston, Lincolnshire will see the rowers compete in singles, pairs and doubles on Saturday before racing in crew boats on Sunday as the GB coaches start to piece together the Junior Team for the season ahead.
Robin Dowell, Lead Coach for the GBRT Junior Team, said: “We staged an early ID assessment in November but now it is important that the rowers show they are ready to step up to a championship level of performance.
“I am looking to see who can do that and this weekend will really help me formulate a team and strategy for the coming months.
“The next trials [the Spring Assessment in Nottingham from March 22-25] are by invitation only, so we want to see people earn their invitation.”
There are 55 boys’ pairs, 20 boys’ doubles and 70 girls’ singles entered in the J18 age group this weekend, as well as an impressive turnout of 40 boys and 40 girls in the J16 singles.
Britain’s juniors have a busy summer of international competition ahead, starting with the Munich International Regatta from May 7-8.
The annual J16 match between GB and France will take place on July 10, while this year’s Coupe de la Jeunesse is being staged in Poznan, Poland from July 29-31.
The World Junior Championships will then place alongside the Senior and U23 competitions in Rotterdam, the Netherlands from August 21-28. GB will be looking to build on last year’s fine performances in Rio where they won three medals, including a historic gold for the men’s quadruple scull.
A host of rowers in the current senior squad represented GB as juniors, including Olympic medallists Chris Bartley, Kat Copeland,James Foad, Frances Houghton, Matt Langridge, Constantine Louloudis, George Nash and Moe Sbihi.