USC at the CRASH-B World Indoor Rowing Championship in Boston

CRASH-B World Indoor Rowing ChampionshipComing from Southern California, there is a certain magic to touching down in a city lightly dusted by the winter snow. Not only does the scenery elicit feelings of wonderment and joy in the whimsical white settings, but wearing enough clothing to make the 20 º weather feel like a beautiful Southern California day is indescribably amazing.

The adventure began when Ryan Hasvold, Trent Oliver, Kellen Proctor, Michaels Hintlian and Hill, and the coaching staff were transplanted from their training grounds in Los Angeles to Boston. Their purpose: compete at the C.R.A.S.H.-B. World Indoor Championships. The event draws its attendance from premier athletes the world over. Delegations from Germany, Estonia, Denmark, Italy, and many more came out to compete against each other and America’s best. Everyone converged in Boston to see who can row 2,000 meters the fastest. The winner of every event wins a hammer, denoting the legs of steel one must have to punch out such a mentally and physically demanding piece.

The crew appeared in all three of the men’s heats, four of our oarsmen rowing personal bests on the ergometer. To give you an idea of how challenging this is, read on:

The erg (lovingly called a medieval torture machine by true rowing aficionados) is a resistance-training tool meant to re-create the sensation of rowing, but on land. Each stroke, the rower must pull a chain that spins a fan to create the resistance. After the very first stroke, the rower is already in oxygen debt, meaning that the entire race the rower’s body is unable to provide him/her the oxygen necessary to produce the energy needed by their muscles to function. Despite this, the rower pushes on, rowing 220 more strokes to finish the 2,000 meters as fast as possible. As an analogy, imagine doing a power clean (or squat) with 135 pounds every two seconds for 6 minutes straight. Needless to say, your body would be hurting after the first minute, and then you have to go another five minutes.

With this in mind, the races were all incredibly exciting to watch. Senior Captain Ryan Hasvold competed in the second heat of the Men’s Open with Trent Oliver. Hasvold, an expert at pacing himself during the race, started slower than the rest of the pack moving to 15th place after the first 500 meters. Soon, demonstrating the tenacity and determination of a Trojan Oarsmen, Hasvold kept his pace, as other competitors began to fade. One by one he began to overtake people, cruising past the rest of the field. With 500 meters to go, Hasvold shifted gears, moving from his 1:35 split to a blazing 1:32 split. In one of the most exciting finishes of the day, Hasvold finished fourth behind the top three by one tenth of a second. In an interview on the flight home, Hasvold said of the day “It was really cool racing such high caliber international rowers. It felt like the training was kicking in as I went into the final 500. I went out a little faster than my split at Long Beach and nailed it. It felt good.”

Following the interview, Hasvold resumed writing a highly influential piece for his intensive Business class before starting his third book of the weekend, Assault on Lake Casitas, which chronicles Brad Allen Lewis’s drive for the Olympic Gold at the 1984 games, demonstrating the intense work ethic each oarsmen has on and off the water. One can only imagine that this is a positive omen for the futures of both the Men’s Crew and Hasvold.

Trent Oliver said of the event “It was great, an erg experience of a lifetime. I rowed hard out there.” The short answer attributed to Oliver’s physical exhaustion following his completion of a personal best on the erg. Attempts to interview the novices on the flight home were unsuccessful. It is the opinion of the writer that wearing sunglasses on a night flight while reclining in the airplane sight means “I had a good time.” Let the reader be assured, the oarsmen were all excited to return next year, stronger, faster, and with the mental tenacity of a lion intent on killing its prey. Each of the above oarsmen rowed a personal best 2k at the event. Junior Kellen Proctor competed in the third and final heat of the men’s open. Sitting on erg A1 in the front row, Proctor had the opportunity to row with 2 members of the Estonian National Team (who placed third in the doubles at last years world championships), a member of the German National Team, and twelve of the fastest oarsmen from schools such as Yale, Boston, Harvard, and Cambridge.

Our coaching staff had an incredible time as well. Chelsea Eckelkamp, Novice coach and team manager, added jovially during the long flight home, “I would love to make a sarcastic comment about the whole trip, but I can’t thing straight right now. The trip was a wonderful.” The interview shows how although the coaches didn’t get to partake in the fun of the actual 2k, they were just as mentally exhausted as the oarsmen. Head Coach Danny Johnson was last seen aboard the plane reviewing photos of the oarsmen during their pieces, assessing the technical aspects each individual can work on in future competitions both on and off the water. One can only assume his incessant work ethic and dedication to the program is going to pay huge dividends not only this spring, but also for the future of the team.

For full scores, please visit:

The crew races next on March 6th at the University of California Davis Invitational.

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