Rowing at (and beyond) the limit

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Grobi
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Rowing at (and beyond) the limit

Post by Grobi » Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:46 am

Hi everyone,

as I'm also interested in otw rowing I watched the so called "Kanalcup" last weekend. It's a race for eights only on the Kiel canal, a waterway linking the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. With a distance of 12.7km it's the world's longest boat race (the Oxford Cambridge race is "only" 6.8km long).

This year the national teams of Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands and the United States (last year's winner) were competing, one week after the world championships in Linz (Austria).

This year's race was special as two rowers (one german and one dutch) collapsed during the race. I'd like to show you a video summarizing what happened (sorry, german commentary only, but I think the pictures speak for themselves):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMjeOSue-PY

When I watched it it sent shivers down my spine. Thank god both rowers were fine again two hours later, they had been both suffering from physical overload.

What I learned from this incident is that to be a top rower not only does it take excellent technique and a strong body, it also takes total determination.
Athletes row, others just play games

Peter

52y, 1,89m, 84kg

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Re: Rowing at (and beyond) the limit

Post by Shmoo » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:45 am

OMG 😱. I clearly suffer from a lack of commitment!

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Jill
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Re: Rowing at (and beyond) the limit

Post by Jill » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:20 pm

Peter, thank you for posting the video - I watched all of the race and you could certainly see at about 18 minutes in, that the German rower was showing signs of fatigue.

I am glad that physically, both men made a good recovery, although perhaps the effect on them mentally might prove harder to cope with.

Of the few comments written in English underneath the video, the opinion was that the umpire should have stopped the race.

In order to follow the race, did you cycle along the canal towpath?

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Grobi
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Re: Rowing at (and beyond) the limit

Post by Grobi » Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:31 am

Hi Jill, I watched the race on TV, that canal is about 800km/500miles away from home. And I even didn't watch it live but later on the internet as I was rowing at the time (at a much more pedestrian pace of course :shock: ).

Some of the German comments also suggested the race should have been stopped, but the majority and that German rower later in a TV interview said that keeping the race going was the right decision.
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Peter

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Re: Rowing at (and beyond) the limit

Post by gregsmith01748 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:36 am

I watched the video as well, and, well, I seem to have a lot of thoughts.
1. I was taught that the cox has overall responsibility for the boat and the crew. I feel like it was reckless and stupid for both the german and Dutch coxes to continue racing with an athlete in their boats either unconscious or Delirious.
2. I don't think race cancellation is the right decision either. There were four boats in the race, two of them managed to pace themselves so that no athletes passed out. Why punish them?
3. Given what I think about the coxes, I also think that the race officials had the right and duty to disqualify those boats for dangerous conduct. It's a boat race. It is far less important than the lives of the participants.

Sure, it is most likely that the problems would have worked out the way they did. That these athletes just massively overexerted themselves, but the symptoms could also be consistent with a much more serious condition where getting help promptly could mean a life or death difference. I appears to me that the german cox valued a victory over the lives of his crew.
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Re: Rowing at (and beyond) the limit

Post by MaxMacLaren1 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:28 pm

Hi Peter, Wow that really is an amazing video. When I watched the highlights I had mixed feelings. On one hand I was impressed that the German boat held together and won. And I was also surprised by the gap between the first 2 and last 2 boats. But on the other hand I was unsettled that the boats that had problems didn't retire immediately. Overall, I think Greg has summed it up brilliantly.
Max

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Re: Rowing at (and beyond) the limit

Post by plummy » Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:34 pm

Pfff...tough race and shows just how tough this sport is.
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