It was cold this morning. There was frost on the dock when I launched and it was still there when I got back. There was a light, shifty breeze, but not much of it and the water was deliciously flat.
I started out fully outfitted for the cold. long tights, 3 layers on top, hat and pogies. I took off the pogies after the first 4K, otherwise I needed to keep all the layers on.
There is a long thread going over on Rowing Illustrated about the “Scullers Catch”. Basically, it has devolved into a somewhat pedantic argument over squaring early, versus late, and how quickly one can bury the blades. I dipped a toe into the conversation and was ultimately rewarded with a couple of interesting drills.
Row , pause every other stroke at half slide, square the blade and go take the catch at full slide . Once you have a hang of that you will have a good feel for placing the blade. Then try it at 3/4
Row half slide for a min, then 3/4 slide for a min, then full slide for a min, then go to alternating half , 3/4 and full slide. Works timing of the front end.
Work on placing the blade at zero pressure and then just accelerate to half pressure , then to 3/4 , then full. Let the speed of the boat dictate your rhythm.
I tried the first one today. I started each piece with about 20 strokes or so doing a pause/square drill. It was very challenging. I needed to finish very cleanly and get the blades off the water. Then I needed to square the blades with enough clearance to miss the water with the bottom edge of the blade, and smoothly continue to the catch. I would guess that I did it cleanly about 1/5 of the strokes. About 3/5 of the strokes, I touched water lightly on one or both side after I squared. The remaining 1/5, I would catch serious water on one side upon squaring and really screw up the catch. It certainly helped to reinforce balance and oar control.
Other than that, it was just a nice row, with good heart rate discipline, and reasonably fast pace too.