2014 - 2015 Head / Regatta season

2014 - 2015 Head / Regatta season

There are currently more than 70 active members within the Masters squad divided into four relatively floating groups (Off Peak, Recreational, Intermediate and Senior Masters).

We had 33 wins for the 2012-13 Head/Regatta season. I look forward to the new season and I hope that there will be many more victories to come!

However, I would like to point out that the Masters squad is not all about winning races although this is what people mainly see. We provide a social network where members can improve their fitness, rowing skills and general well-being. There is an unique squad training programme created to suit our squad requirements based on a 7 week training cycle that enables members to monitor their progress on a regularly basis and participate in the sessions as often as they wish to do so. The Recreational group provides fantastic opportunities to all those members who wish to enjoy rowing in a slightly less pressured environment making use of their membership and constantly learning and improving their rowing skills. The Off Peak group has proved to be a successful idea using the club equipment during the early afternoons. The group also enables members to safely learn and improve in single sculls all year round when the river conditions allow.

Kosta Kolimechkov

Below is a summary of the representatives of the Off Peak, Recreational, Intermediate and Senior Masters' groups:

Hi Kosta,

In case you find it helpful, here are some observations that come from my experience of participating in the Recreational (and Off Peak) group.

The Recreational group see themselves as rowers with a wide range of ages, abilities and experience, all working to improve their rowing, but without the available time or inclination to regularly train with a racing squad. They fear being viewed as a group who don't really care about rowing.

The record breaking floods of this winter kept us off the water and was tiresome, but the group got noticeably fitter thanks to Kosta's winter land-training program.

With more rowers joining our group following Row to Health and other schemes, there now seems to be a wider range of skills and experience this year. This has sometimes made it challenging to organise coaching sessions that satisfy everyone's needs if it is a large mixed group.

There is a great sense of mutual support within the group to help everyone achieve their varied personal goals. All are learning to becoming technically more skilful rowers. All have participated in the fitness training scheme. Some have achieved this despite disability or whilst recovering from health problems.

The first crew dinner was a success and we hope to do more.

On a personal level, although still a novice rower and in a recreational group, I have enjoyed being invited to join other groups when needed. This has included coxing and rowing in tideway head races, and participating in local regattas.

All the best



Good morning Kosta,

Sorry for late comments, life is a bit tumultuous at the moment.

To add to Graham's comments concerning the Recs+Off peak:

The weight training program that you started this winter when we had no access to water training was very valuable for the rowers of a certain age (meaning over 60s...). It enabled us to improve our fitness in a really rowing targeting goal always related to personal fitness which we could improve over a period of 7 weeks. It as well was targeted for our old muscles which are not as subtle and resilient as younger ones. It was fantastic to see our progress without any injuries and so rewarding. A good example is Henry who had a second lease at rowing and from his personal exercise plan that he has worked out with your help is now focusing for next year competitions and representing the club in an interesting rowing category. That shows that the TwR club is a fully integrating club.

This weight training complemented very well the chore exercises of Monday and Thursday mornings. I personally benefited

As well, as soon as the Recs got their act together, the enthusiasm they showed about the personal results they achieved during the training program was wonderful to witness. This has encouraged them so much that they are now motivated to improve their rowing skills and the work they are now doing on the stroke profile is very commendable. What is most remarkable is their enthusiasm about the sport and how they have gelled into one of the most representative team sport.

I joined my voice to Graham's when he comments how inclusive the Recs are.

Kosta I hope this helps and that I am on time...

Best wishes,



Hi Kosta,

The competitive masters (novice/intermediate and senior sections) trained hard over the winter season, combining coached and un-coached on-water sessions with a comprehensive land-based fitness programme based on improvement against personal benchmarks. Those who had set their sights on national competition levels (novice and open) committed to between 6 and 12+ training sessions per week following a rolling program with regular tests from which to gauge progress as well as providing a measurement of peak performance from which to calculate UT1/UT2 levels for the ongoing training sessions.

The period of bad weather from late December through to mid-March with the dangerous river conditions and widespread flooding impeded the training plans of many rowing clubs. Our group were again grateful to have been able to use the facilities at Littleton Lake for this period. The 950m maximum distance in a straight line wasn't ideal for winter training, but it was good to spend time working on both fitness and stroke profile on the water, and not just on the ergs. The occasional windy day also provided bonus 'tideway conditions' - useful for developing crew confidence through rough water.

Our section however are pleased to report successes in many events, from the head season right through to the summer season regattas. All of the master women who competed at the National Championships as novices were medallists and are now setting their sights on next year's national open events as the next stage in their development. We also entered Henley Masters - no wins this year, but creditable performances from all, especially the newcomers to this level of competition.

Hoping that this helps too.


I asked everyone I have coached to comment on three points of their stroke profile that they are happy with and on three further points that they would like to improve. This forum is something that I've always wonted to do, so we can all share our experience.

Kosta Kolimechkov


Anne wrote:

"Kosta, my three things to improve are: Quicker hands away; and I really don't tap down enough so I want to focus on that. If I did that, my hands could then follow an upward path to the catch. Knees down for longer; I was rushing Emma up the slide. Visualising a small and big wheel that you talked about today will be helpful. Also trying to be softer at the catch; I've been saying to myself 'reach and scoop' (or similar). The video was helpful to see the difference between us hitting the water at the catch (like chopping into it) and a softer connection.

I was just reading about rowing at a higher rate. The author was suggesting it may be helpful to imagine all the pressure is concentrated on one little patch of water behind the blade and the importance of keeping everything except the leg drive still, relaxed, smooth etc. My arms are straight at the catch. I think I'm getting better at connecting then driving, and not bring my back in too early. Thank you for your help too Robert and Peter. Anne"


Peter wrote:

"There are three ways in which I need to improve:

1. The length of the stroke should be longer, so as to finish when Robert finishes. it seemed to me from the videos that it was better in the video of just our boat than in the next video of both boats.

2. I should try and come a little further forward at the start of the stroke, though the limiting factor is the poor knee bend, the factor Steven mentioned.

3 I should maintain a straight back without the occasional tendency to hunch the shoulders forward.

Not sure what I am happy with, or ought to feel happy with! except that it was great to be watched and to be with you all.

The videos are very helpful!

Steven, many thanks for your help and observations, and Kosta for taking the videos. Peter."

WMas.C.2x & Mas.H.2x


Justine Lee (stroke) wrote:

"Well, thanks for the video.

Good points - Actually going in at the catch, legs staying down, face matches colour of my top !

Bad points - Over reaching !! no wonder my back hurt, Handle heights not consistent, finishes could be cleaner !

lots to work on."

Janette Bradnick (3) wrote:

"Positive: Timing, control, better extraction, not gripping so much

Areas for improvement: Lots, but for this week focus on: Connect and push everytime; hands drawn to chest every time; hand heights equal both directions with a clear raising of the hands to catch"

Nicola Ansell (2) wrote:


- timing looks good - we're all taking the catch together

- not (generally) opening my back too soon - which I have been in every video I've seen for a while

- keeping my knees down until I've rocked forward


- Rocking over quickly, but not far enough - even though I was trying to focus on getting more length at the catch (at Doug's prompting!)

- skying the blades before the catch

- hands not level - we all have left hand higher than right both through the water and on the recovery - which presumably is explained by and (more importantly) explains why we were constantly down on stroke side

- I'm digging the blade too deep in the water

- bending wrists too much"


Paul Wood-Robinson (bow) & David Shalders (3)

James Skeels (2) wrote:

"Good: Body rock all in sync, good separation.

Bad: Short strokes in crew, slow catches, missed catches."

David Lion (stroke) wrote:

"Rocking over at back stops Strong position at catch consistent hand height coming forward to work on:

Earlier square Draw up more Cleaner extraction"

Mixed Mas.8+

Clive Collier wrote:

"Hi Kosta

This video shows the rhythm was good and the blade was flowing through the water and out mostly at the same time with other blade from rower number eight. Though on 7 strokes from the video it shows the blade hit the water because in "Release" action I did not push down the oar enough. My hand need to be more smoother and my arms need to be straighter in the "Release" Action so the blade can follow through the water better.

Need to move my body position at 11 O'clock in "The Finish Position". Need to look ahead a bit more so I can be able to follow the movement of the rowers in front of me which it will get the blade to go through and out in the water at the same time with other blades from rowers in front of me. It will also improve my neck and body posture.

When I go into "The finish" the action from my body isn't smooth because it could be ;-

Am not relaxed from my shoulders, arms and neck.

My Right side is tight and my body have not move at 11 o'clock position.

Hope my feedback is better than last time. "