Broken Oars Podcast
Broken Oars, Episode 14

Broken Oars, Episode 14

January 15, 2021

Doubling up after our Christmas break, Broken Oars Podcast returns ahead of biweekly schedule in this bleakest of midwinters to provide you lucky people with high quality podcast entertainment for your delectation and delight.

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Now, given that we can provide none of those things if it's just the posh Southern one and the illiterate Northern one discussing, say, the etymology of fitness (you haven't listened to Episode 13? Shame on you - go and download it now. It has spaniels in it. And French tennis players snogging horses. And Robert Strachan), Jezz Moore joins us.

 

For those in the rowing world yet to run across this incredible man, Jezz is an oarsman and coach who has worked at every level British Rowing has to offer and his insights and ideas offer practical and conceptual insights readily applicable to every rower, coach and club.

 

These include

 

- Why clubs are important, why cross-pollination in clubs perpetuates performance and a strong identity that stands them in good stead, and why we should embrace tribalism as rowers.

 

- The differences between training for elite competition and club competition, and why the buy-in from clubs into elite training methods is counter-productive. 

 

- Why eight athletes will always beat eight rowers, and what that means for current approaches to training.

 

- Why the effort lever in British Rowing has been maxed out, and why it's time to start looking at technical and mental approaches - and how adopting flexible, cross-pollinated approaches to training will stop the talent drain away from rowing. 

 

- What the future might hold for British Rowing now there is a Jurgen-shaped hole in the landscape.

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We at Broken Oars Podcast are no strangers to hyperbole (even if we don't know what it actually means), and we always say that our latest episode is the best we've ever recorded. In this case, however, it might actually be true.

 

If you don't believe us, we can only put it like this: after talking to Jezz, we both wish we were two decades younger and could row for him. A fascinating, insightful and highly-motivating chat with a wonderful individual.

 

Bowside? Strokeside? Oh, what Jezz Moore could do with you lot ...

 

Broken Oars, Episode 13

Broken Oars, Episode 13

January 9, 2021

Episode 13: Witness the Fitness!

 

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the airwaves, Broken Oars Podcast returns, following a Christmas break in which the Big Lad had his leg off at the knee and the Northern One stayed in bed with Long Covid (the less-fun relative of Long John Silver).

 

After the glory and the gleam that was Episodes 1 through whatever (we lost count. It wasn’t rate-capped), you told us you wanted more interviews with elite athletes like Jack Beaumont (Episode 11) and Andrew Triggs-Hodge (Episode 12) and more engaging guests like all the ones we’ve had (That’s right: all of them).

 

We listened carefully to what you told us, took it onboard, and then in our usual counter-intuitive fashion, decided to go back to our roots.

 

That’s right, us, talking about the first things that come into our heads.

 

Episode 13 is like Episode 1 and 2 but with editing and without the inflammatory references to lightweights, the Democratically Elected People's Republic of China, and each other.

 

By some miracle of timing, happenstance, luck, and sheer talent, however, we’ve hit on the perfect combination of topics to welcome in 2021.

 

Join us, if you will, as we discuss the following:

 

How French Tennis players use the ‘horse on cocaine’ excuse for doping pings, and why it doesn’t work.

 

Robert Strachan and his recipe for cleaning floors and fish pies.

 

Who you should trust with your wallet, your whisky and your (wo)man when in Scotland.

 

Why you never see spaniels representing their countries at the highest level as centre-backs in international football.

 

New Year’s resolutions: what is fitness, why has it become a thing; and what does it actually mean.

 

Why Boris Johnson gets a bad press and why it's completely undeserved.

 

(Ahem).

 

All in time for 2021?

 

GET SOME!

 

Strokeside? Bowside? You're all sacked.

Broken Oars, Episode 12

Broken Oars, Episode 12

December 12, 2020

Broken Oars Podcast, Episode 12.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen …

 

Hodge.

 

Bowside? Strokeside? Sit still, behave. You’re in the presence of greatness.

 

Broken Oars, Episode 11

Broken Oars, Episode 11

November 27, 2020

Returning for Episode 11 after mistakenly declaring that Episode 10 was Episode 12 (hey, we’re rowers. We can only count in stroke rates and splits), Broken Oars Podcast is pleased, proud and excited to welcome its first Olympian: Jack Beaumont!

 

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A current member of the GB National Squad, as well as the Captain of Leander, the world's oldest and most prestigious rowing club, Jack is an Olympian in his own right having made his Olympic bow in the quad at Rio 2016. Building on a sterling (and ongoing) club career with Maidenhead, Jack has progressed to become one of the UK's leading scullers, having won gold and bronze in the 2017 World Cup regattas and bronze at the European Rowing Championships before going on to take silver in the quad at the World Championships in the same year.

 

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He’s also one of the nicest and most forthcoming individuals you could hope to meet in any walk of life, so when Jack agreed to come on (to our eternal surprise and his eternal credit), we settled down for a far-reaching and very enjoyable conversation about life, sport and rowing.

 

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In this episode, which begins with us starting recording midway through a chat about his Olympian father, Peter, (Seoul '88 - Men's Eight), Jack talks about how being introduced to rowing and his early stop-start years where other pursuits were also allowed to play a role were crucial in allowing him to develop his love and feel for the sport at his own pace.

 

Framing a welcoming and supportive club structure as central to this, Jack outlined how Maidenhead provided a point of focus, release and enjoyment when he was growing up, and how he still returns there when his schedule allows.

 

Touching on the ways club and world-class start routes towards the GB Squad can respectively shape a rower's journey, Jack went on to discuss his role of Captain of Leander, exploding some of the commonly-held myths about the famed 'Pink Palace' to show it’s a welcoming club on many levels: most rowers would recognise the rowing set-up from their own clubs; and the club has evolved to accomodate many different types of members in a deliberate strategy to represent the diverse communities it is part of.

 

Jack even suggested that your hosts might get through the door if they applied.

 

(Although he was noticeably silent on how long we might stay through the door, however …).

 

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In a world where sport and its elite practitioners seem ever-more professional, process-and-goal orientated and serious, we went on to talk about how to retain a sense of fun, enjoyment and sense of personal fulfilment when in engaging in sport.

 

Discussing these as vital in maintaining a healthy perspective given the demands on elite sportsmen and women, Jack talked about how the fun and excitement of his early years in the sport have remained a key part of his journey to the elite level - and his plans to go on a tour of the UK to tick off all of the regattas and heads he’s always wanted to do and his plan to scull the length of the Thames on his retirement from the squad.

 

Returning to the importance of British Rowing maintaining good, interconnected club structures and a positive and inclusive culture to ensure the long-term future of the sport from the grassroots to elite levels, the future of rowing as an Olympic sport came up, in which racing on rivers, Olympic bumps, mixed crews and other hobby-horses familiar to regular listeners to Broken Oars Podcast were taken out of the stables and given a run out again.

 

Surprisingly, Jack agreed with some of these ideas (we and he put it down to his strong roots at Maidenhead and having grown up rowing on rivers). Jack also agreed that more community overlap is needed so that the grassroots and national squads have more contact with each other. 

 

Noting that he hoped that someone at British Rowing was listening to us (chance would be a fine thing!), an early podcast idea (that members of the national squad should have to do a certain amount of provincial heads and regattas each year) was given an airing. Jack said he'd happily turn up at an event and jump in someone else's boat for fun ...as long as displaced crew members then formed a scratch crew so they could still race.

 

Things got a bit out of control at that point, ending up with three of us agreeing to row together in a quad at Durham Regatta as soon as circumstances and Jack’s schedule allow.

 

All we need now is another rower to sign on  ... 

 

Any takers?

 

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Our conversation with Jack was something of a gear change after our recent episodes with Tristan Mayglothing and Jennifer Sey, but the same key themes emerged. Fun, engagement and awareness are all intrinsic parts of a successful sporting culture and fulfilled sporting life, and Jack is the living embodiment of someone doing what they love in life - and where that can take you.

 

A wonderful and enlightening conversation ... with a wonderful guest.

 

And it's out just in time for the weekend!?

 

GET SOME!

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Bowside? Strokeside? Both of you holding ... each other under until the bubbles stop coming up.

Broken Oars, Episode 10

Broken Oars, Episode 10

November 13, 2020

Broken Oars Podcast returns in Episode 10 with Jennifer Sey as our guest.  

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Starting as a competitive gymnast at the age of 6, Jennifer went on to become a seven-time member of the United States national team and World Championship competitor before leaving the sport. Going on to become Head of Brand at Levi Strauss & Co, one of the world’s iconic brands, her account of the abusive behaviours and pressures she suffered as an elite athlete in a high-performance environment in Chalked Up (2008) was part of a growing groundswell of former and current athletes speaking out against abusive coaching and cultures and for athlete welfare.

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As part of the production team behind Athlete A, the award-nominated documentary that followed the investigative journalists from The Indianapolis Star as they broke the story of team doctor and paedophile Larry Nasser’s repeated and sustained assaults on female gymnasts within USAG, Jennifer has been a positive force for change, acknowledgement and accountability – not least from the organisations and bodies charged with protecting athletes who signally failed to do so.

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Broken Oars Podcast was honoured that Jennifer found time in her busy schedule to talk to us about all of the above, as well as touching on current questions surrounding athlete welfare in UK Sports; the need for change and the ways forward.

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At times harrowing and difficult to listen to (but far easier to listen to than live through), Jennifer powerfully articulated the need for joy and happiness to be central to the way children participate in sport, and for that to be nurtured and maintained at all ages and at every level of participation and performance.

Broken Oars, Episode 9

Broken Oars, Episode 9

October 30, 2020

Like the little train that could, Broken Oars Podcast returns with its long-awaited, much-heralded Episode 9. Slotting neatly in after Episode 8, it features your genial hosts Lewin and Aaron and Rory Copus.

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Great and gimcrack philosophers alike have said that you can judge a man by the quality of their friends. In the world of podcasting, this translates as 'you can judge a podcast by the standard of its guests.' Broken Oars has been blessed in this regard. From Di Binley to Tristan Mayglothing, we have had guests who have been outstanding, rising above the quippage, light badinage and searingly well-researched commentary that would otherwise be our stock-in-trade. 

 

Rory continues our unbroken run of great guests. The result is another fantastic episode.

 

Coach at Abingdon School, product and shaper of the Oxford Brookes production line of talent, Henley winner and that rarest of things in the rowing world, a coxing icon thanks to THAT performance against Belmont and THAT viral video of THAT performance, Rory sat down with us for a chat about all of those things.

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Giving thoughtful and informative insights into the demands and requirements of high-performance programmes and how success sets the bar ever higher, Rory examines the factors that have contributed to Oxford-Brookes success from getting that first win to how geography can inspire rowing approaches, as well as reflecting on his own schoolboy career at Abingdon.

 

Going on to talk about the role of the coxswain in all of this, Rory offers perspectives that might come as a shock to those of us who have ever thought that a cox is just a small shouty person getting a free ride up at the pointy-end. Emphasising that a good cox knows each of the athletes they work with intimately and coordinates the complexities of each session so that the individual and the crew collective get the best possible performance outcomes as unobtrusively as possible, Rory goes on to talk about how that all came together in THAT iconic performance vs Belmont – and how winning that duel led to winning Henley Royal.

 

Balancing his honest perspectives on the demands of HP programmes, Rory talks about how those demands translates into the world of schoolboy rowing, illustrating that Abingdon’s programme is ever-mindful of the whole individual rather than just the rower. While achievement is on the menu, so too is the holistic development of Abingdon's students.

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In the meantime, we continue our subscription to the equally valid adage that you can tell the quality of a man by the quality of his enemies by winding up the great and the good; AJ suffers a failure of kidney and finds it means a completely different thing in the twenty-first century than it did in the eighteenth; and Lewin fails to tease his partner-in-pod about his epic return to the water at Ebchester.

 

It was a return to the water …

 

… and it was epic.

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Our constipated British attitude to good manners, not showing away and self-aggrandisement means that we couldn’t possibly say that this is required listening for anyone with an interest in rowing, rowers, boats, water, smacking it down a river with your friends, coaching and performance …

 

… but it is

 

… and it’s out in time for the weekend?

 

Wonderful.

 

Meatwagon? Rowing on. Stern and bow pair? Watch and learn.

Broken Oars, Episode 8

Broken Oars, Episode 8

October 16, 2020

After the wild surmise that was Episode 7, where we made Matthew Pinsent seat-race Conan the Barbarian for a seat in our Fantasy Eight (what? You’ve not listened to it yet? Go and download it now and we’ll say no more about it), Broken Oars Podcast returns!

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Here at Broken Oars, we’ve developed an outstanding reputation for breaking vital and important stories at the moment when they’re most needed. Some have wondered if we have inside sources. Some have suggested we use superb and incredibly well-honed journalistic skills to craft carefully investigated and nuanced episodes that discuss everything from doping in rowing to why lightweights should pick another sport.

 

Others have suggested we’re just lucky, and that what we do is basically chat about stuff.

 

(Hint. The answer is: we’re just lucky and we chat about stuff).

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Episode Eight is no exception.

 

That's right.

 

It's us, chatting about stuff, but doing so yet again in an incredibly timely and pertinent way.

 

As the decade-long questions about athlete welfare in British Olympic Sports continue to be asked, with almost daily revelations about British Gymnastics coming to light and British Cycling continuing to be caught in a horrifying slow-motion car-crash, we are joined by the coach, rower and researcher Tristan Mayglothing.

 

A scion of the Mayglothing rowing dynasty (yes, we admit that the fantasy language of Episode Seven is lingering a little bit …), Tristan has dedicated his life to creating positive and productive coaching cultures and is now taking that expertise into researching the vital topic of athlete welfare, sporting environments, toxic relationships and expectations in coaching and sport.

 

In doing so, Tristan is shining a light on the corrosive ethos that has underpinned some British Olympic Sports programmes since the inception of lottery funding (more medals = less oversight); how toxic cultures develop and are perpetuate (like hires like); and how to develop cultures that still deliver medals, but which looks at and builds the whole human rather than their medal-winning capacities.  

 

We at Broken Oars Podcast are no stranger to hyperbolic language. However, this is a must-listen for anyone with a genuine interest in sport, coaching, and creating an inclusive, positive environments that redefine success in broader and more impactful terms while still delivering podium finishes.

 

Bowside holding … strokeside’s heads under.

Broken Oars, Episode 7

Broken Oars, Episode 7

October 2, 2020

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, Broken Oars Podcast returns with Episode 7 – a Fosbury Flop of an effort to match the impossibly high bar set by our recent guests Sir Terence of Chipchase and Sir Peter of Brewer.

 

(You haven’t listened to Episodes Five and Six yet? Shame on you! Download them now! You know it makes sense. After all, those 3 x 6k’s will go far easier with some quality listening material in your headphones).

 

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After the wonderful ramble through the highways and byways of rowing undertaken by Terence and the ‘guys, here’s how a grown adult talks: in complete, well-thought through paragraphs’ common-sense, inclusive vision of rowing as a sport for all offered by the inimitable Pete, we’ve reverted to type: your genial hosts, Lewin (posh, well-educated, southern) and Aaron (northern, dragged up, barely literate) saying stuff about the wonderful sport about rowing that might be considered libellous if anyone actually listened to us.

 

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It starts well. For the first time in the podcast’s history, Lewin rather than Aaron suffers the now-traditional biweekly injury and in a controversial move the Broken Oars Podcast begins the campaign to rehabilitate Lance Armstrong back into polite society.

 

Our position on doping and doping remains unchanged. We covered this in our bonus Jurgengate, the Trolls and the Two Billy Goats Gruff episode – a broadcast that UKADA, WADA and other acronyms have declared required listening for anyone involved in sport’s ongoing battle against doping and dopers. (Essentially, dopers and doping coaches are cheats; they invariably do it again; Jurgen might be the exception - but it's a narrative that deserves nuanced engagement).

 

On the subject of Lance, though, we just feel that in a world gone mad (der), his complete and utter unrepentance and blunt acknowledgement that he would do it all again if given the chance offers a refreshing change to the cant, hypocrisy and fudging offered by most cheats and bullshit artists when they get caught.

 

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Controversy nimbly provoked, we declare our keywords for the now-traditional Thames Tradesmen’s Broken Oars Podcast Drinking Game. Anyone with the words Frodo, Anduin, and Slaine the Avenger is in for a heavy night. Lock up the cat. Cancel all calls.

 

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And then, housekeeping done, we get stuck into the main topic of discussion: who would make it into our fantasy rowing eight.

 

Now, if you know us, and you’ve listened to us before you know that we take this sort of thing incredibly seriously. Broken Oars Podcast’s Episode Four discussed Britain’s Coxless Fours triumphs through the ages in such forensic detail that British Rowing actually asked for a copy of the tape; and our comments on the relative merits of genuine giants of the sport split opinion to the point where oarsmen who won their Olympic gold medals in the same boat no longer speak to each other.

 

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But being us, our calm, measured approach to a question deserving both rapidly descends into a welter of claims, counter-claims, questionable humour, a discussion of the cars in the Henley Royal Regatta carpark; why dyslexics rarely hang out together (we both are: we never see each other); rowing as a quest narrative; and what really, when you get right down to it, constitutes a fantasy rowing eight.

 

In the process, Aaron make claims for the necessity of opposable thumbs in a five-man; Lewin makes a case for why Anna Watkins should be in the boat with such passion that he calls her Anna Williams; we both ask whether singing ability is an accurate measure of rhythm and timing when it comes to rowing (hint: no); and ask the serious and pertinent central question: if James Cracknell makes the boat, will his seat have to be able to accommodate the camera crew and production company that will film the inevitable accompanying miniseries?

 

And does his hair deserve its own seat?

 

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All of this?

 

And it’s out in time for the weekend?

 

Get some!

 

Front six rowing on, bow pair, out – of the boat, the crew and our lives. Swim home.

Broken Oars, Episode 6

Broken Oars, Episode 6

September 18, 2020

Broken Oars Podcast returns! 

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Breaking a long-standing tradition (that we invented a few weeks ago) and in a radical break from our usual programming style, we haven't followed up Episode Five's stellar interview with Terence Chipchase (What? You haven't listened to it yet? Shame on you! Go and download it now) with an episode of us talking about rowing. 

 

Instead, we've brought you another interview - and yet again, it's an absolute howitzer of one. Episode 6 features the incredible, the inimitable and the unforgettable Pete Brewer, former Head Coach of Putney School for Girls (and still coaching there), rower, deep thinker and all 'round positive force for good in a world gone mad, bad and dangerous to know.

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Some elements remain. It wouldn't be a Broken Oars podcast without some light badinage and back-and-forth quippery between your hosts. The usual, familiar references to the North are in place to make you feel right at home. Showing our usual appreciation for doing our research, we even manage completely forget which episode we're up to (Hey! It's hard. We're running out of fingers) and then identify your key words for the now-traditional Thames Tradesmen’s Broken Oars Drinking Game.

 

(This evening, they include: Pete, Putney, Inclusion, Fun, Squirrels and Panthers alongside the usual suspects).

 

Essentially on this occasion, however, we just shut up and let Pete talk. The reasons for this will become clear when you listen to it. 'Why?' we hear you say.  

 

Well, as the kids on the street would put it, drop the needle on this anywhere and it's all good. This is an episode of Broken Oars podcast you should simply listen to as our guest drops knowledge bombs and truth throughout (apparently these are the terms the kids also use to describe insights and ideas nowadays) left, right and centre. Putting it bluntly, this is something that every rower, coach, parent and child involved in a sporting programme of any description should listen to.

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Covering Pete’s introduction to rowing and positioning rowing as a place to foster inclusion and belonging, Pete moves seamlessly into what a rowing club is actually for (hint: it isn’t not what you think) and illustrates why one-size does not fit all in sport.

 

Going on to explore the reality that fun in sport is as viable and important an outcome (if not more so) than high-performance ambitions, we also learn the difference between panthers and squirrels; why memories matter as much as medals; and what rowing could change to accommodate itself to the people who want to do it rather persisting with a model that forces individuals to accommodate themselves to the sport - and why this is important for the sport's future.

 

We at Broken Oars are no strangers to inflationary rhetoric and repetitive hyperbole - we do after all live in the UK, which has suffered a ever-escalating explosion of both recently. However, it's reassuring to know that despite our interesting journey in recent months, there are still people in this country who are calm, well-qualified, community-minded and pragmatic; and who don't have to reduce complex issues down to a three-word slogan in order to get their points across.

 

Not only will you hear the rare sound of us listening (for once), but we'll learn why that the slightly nerdy kid on the chess team or the weedy kid waiting for his growth spurt could be just what you're looking for (and looking for just what rowing at its best provides). 

 

In short, this is the perfect episode to listen to as the UK and rowing moves into whatever it will be post-Covid and into the uncertain times ahead.  

 

And it's out in time for the weekend.- GET SOME!

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Bow Four, holding. Stern Four, backing. GO! Not you, five, you know it muddles you up. 

Broken Oars, Episode 5

Broken Oars, Episode 5

September 4, 2020

Broken Oars Podcast returns with its third episode in three weeks!

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After the glory that was Episode Four and the fireworks that was our 'Jurgengate, Trolls and the Two Billy Goats Gruff Episode', we have returned to our roots with an engaging, informative and insightful interview with Terence Chipchase - member of City of Sheffield RC, Leander Club, and Ardingly RC, he is a rower, coach, umpire, member of the Stewards Enclosure, long time volunteer and all round good egg.

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After some light badinage from your genial hosts, in which the Southern one clarifies some of the effects of Turinabol pertinent to the Jurgengate episode (What? You haven't listened to it yet? Go and download it - it's a cracker) and the Northern one clarifies that those playing Thames Tradesman's infamous (and now traditional) Broken Oars Drinking Game should watch out for the words: Peterborough, pitch, pin, set and Fisa - we let Terence take over.

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Starting with his introduction to rowing, and discussing why good sculling is like flying (although your hosts can't really lay claim to knowing much about either), we chat about fingerrolls, the mild obsession that characterises early rowing careers when the bug bites hard, the importance of strong role models in the sport, and why women tend to respond to coaching better in the early days (hint: women don't think they know it all already and aren't obsessed with showing off their muscles).

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We talk about the transition to other aspects of the sport, and find out that sometimes even international coaches don't actually know if their boats are set up correctly or not, and why every rower and every coach should learn about about and take responsibility for their seat, their set-up and their boat.

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We learn about some of the intricacies involved in keeping Henley Royal Regatta - rowing's showpiece event and one of the iconic landmarks of the global sporting calendar - going every year, including: how the timing system works; what the people in the launches actually do; what you should do if a herd of rampaging buffalo makes it past Remenham and invades the enclosures; why even the best A-line short hem just won't make it past the skirt police; why you should wear your blazer hard and with pride; and the wonders that are the army that keeps the Henley machine running smooth - and that's before we get to the Oxbridge porters.

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We learn why umpires should never shout; and the things that all good rowers, coaches and clubs should take ownership of to keep this sport that we know and love safe, enjoyable and inclusive for everyone.

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It's an entertaining ramble through some of the less-explored highways, byways and curios of a landscape known by us all - this wonderful world of rowing that we all love. 

 

Perfect for the weekend?

 

We couldn't possibly say.

 

(But yes, it is).

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Bow Four? Come back in. The Meatwagon need your help. Stern pair? Drop out, and shut up.

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GET SOME!

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