BY MARLENE ROYLE | PHOTO BY ED MORAN
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Improving the distance between your puddles represents boat speed and better boat run. Single-stroke work helps you train boat run to develop stroke power, and then you can build the stroke pattern gradually to higher rates.
For a single sculler, a head race is about 600 strokes. This season, if you increase your distance per stroke by five centimeters (or about two inches), that would take you 30 meters farther at the same stroke rate—or about 3.5 boat lengths.
In an eight, aim to push all the puddles well beyond the stern pair. Practice single-stroke rowing with a pause at one-quarter slide to focus on improving boat run. Drive firmly, then release the blade cleanly from the water. Come out of the bow fluidly but not rushed. Carry the momentum you’ve built during the drive as you swing out of bow. Accelerate to the perpendicular point of the handle on the recovery when your knees rise slightly.
Pause for sets of 10 strokes and focus on increasing your meters per stroke. Hold the pause until the shell slows down significantly and maintain your balance with blades off the water. Be dynamic about drawing the hull under you, yet without rushing. Encourage the hull to keep running and focus on precise entry timing.
When your knees reach their peak, the blade should enter the water. Advance the drill by pausing at half-slide for sets of 10 strokes, then row sets of 10 strokes focusing on the distance per stroke with varied ratings to compare improvements at set ratings over time.