RCW: Sport Spotlight 4.31 (Rowing)
A post shared by Kansas Rowing (@kansasrowing) on Apr 7, 2018 at 12:23pm PDT
— Kansas Rowing (@KU_Rowing) April 14, 2018
In rowing, whether it’s the coxswain, the stroke and bow seat, or everyone in between, there is strategy and skill that comes with every seat and position within the boat. From the leaders out on the water to the strength and power behind the boat, every position is crucial in its success.
While out on the water, coaches need someone to be the eyes and ears of the boat to allow the student-athletes to compete at the highest level they possibly can. The coxswain’s responsibility, first and foremost, is safety. To begin each race day, the coxswains of every boat come together to hold a coxswain meeting to talk about the racecourse. Coxswains must know the river like the back of their hands to ensure that they guide the boat across the finish line safely.
“Coxswains are the middle man between the coaches and the student-athletes on the water,” said interim head coach Carrie Cook-Callen. “They are the extension of the coaching staff in terms of strategy and technical guidance.”
Seeing the competition throughout the race, coxswains are the boat’s motivators and know how to get the most out of the student-athletes. A key attribute in a coxswain is knowing when and how to push their boat to the extreme in order to cross the finish line as fast as they possibly can.
While the coxswain is the voice of the boat, the stroke seat is the visual leadership of the boat. The stroke, sitting closest to the stern, helps set the pace of the boat from the very beginning of the race to the finish line. The stroke seat has to be consistent and easy to follow throughout the entire race to establish the rhythm.
At the other end of the boat, the bow seat is probably where the most skilled athlete sits. The student-athlete in the bow seat is someone who has the greatest technical and blade skill set.
“Being so close to the bow they have a greater effect on the balance of the boat and sometimes a smaller or lighter student-athlete is better for that position,” said Cook-Callen.
Between the stroke and bow seat sits the powerhouse of the boat. The middle of the boat consists of the student-athletes who may not necessarily have the technical aspect of the bow seat, but have the raw power to add speed to the boat.
Kansas will be back in action this weekend for the George Mason Invitational on April 22 at the Occoquan Reservoir in Fairfax Station, Virginia.