Wednesday, July 09, 2008


I am an ex-rower.

In fact, i was telling a Kiwi friend about it the other day as we are having tea.  Compared to here, rowing in Kiwiland is a big thing, with Olympic champions and Worlds medallist in Wadell, Twaddle and Bridgewater and the Evers Swindell twins. A lot people are involved, from the schools up to the Uni's with numerous regattas.

Here, we can only see Uni teams. We use to have the National Championships, but I do think the competition nowadays are more in the uni scene. Our Uni crew became the National M8+ champions in 1999, beating all the states. I just started rowing by that time, when I was discovered by chance by the Uni coach, aaj (who happens to be a national coach too) when I wore a USA Rowing t-shirt during orientation.

It marks the start of my relationship with rowing. Coach's post yesterday reminds me of our preparation for SEA 2001. He was preparing the four of us, in the LM4-, constantly tinkering with setup, rigging and working us up physically. I was a sub 6:40 on the erg, while Amir was the strongest on water. Upon much thinking, he set our boat as the Italians do, using tandem rigging. Like magic, we are rewarded with sub seven performances in training, almost a minute improvement.

The preparation of LM4- for 2001 Merlion will always be a bittersweet memory in my short career as a rower. Unfortunately, at Merlion, we are barred from using the tandem rigging by the very people who are the supposed to champion the cause of rowing. On water, we ended up fighting each other and the boat nearly ran aground. I know and Coach know how tandem rigging could harness all the crews strength and minimise our weakness. Sigh!

I was heartbroken after that, and not long after that, I lost interest. I hurt my knee and lower back. I was disillusioned. I might not be thinking long enough about my decision to quit. If I had talked to Coach it could be different. The rest they say, is history. It could have a different outcome if we are allowed to row with tandem rigging at Merlion 2001.

I am an ex-rower. Even if, I am 'afraid' of water (and can't really swim)

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