It was really cool this weekend seeing some old faces who I must say inspired me as a young athlete. These faces were of the men from the 1996 Dutch eight. Many of them legends and it was funny to be chatting to Nico Rienks stroke of that crew and to be honest all I could think was this how amazing he was when I recall seeing them in 1995 for the first time and through the 96 year as they made the eight event their own. Why I like what they did had so much to do with the way the rowed and the flow. So standing there some 16 years on I was enjoying our casual chat about rowing. As I said over the weekend I spotted many of his crew mate from the period and must say I enjoyed seeing them all looking like they are playing a role in the Dutch rowing now.
In 1996 I recall the Dutch eight doing work on the course while we trained in the four. We did a lot of paddling on speed and each lap they were doing sets of 20 plus strokes on rate 40 and making it look easy. they looked like they had so much time. The relaxation was amazing. The call would get made as they came up behind us and sitting in the bow of the four I could see the whole crew swinging together so smoothly but with a loose speed which was exciting. All great memories. Should add here to the best argument I have had with the crew I am in happened in 96 with the four. It had to do with if fish feel the cold. I will leave the rest as it become quiet absurd but in retrospect bloody funny.
After this I started thinking about the times I had raced on the Bosbaan. Then a funny thing happened. The team manager Wayne Diplock and I were under the tent near the finish line when I guy came up and introduced him self. He made mention of an eights race in 1998 which we put together the two Australian fours. The Sydney based four was winning selection races in Australia and our Melbourne based four had raced them over the year since the guys returned to the sport post 1996 Olympic break. So this guy started talking about this Australian eight that went close to breaking the World record and asked if I was Drew, from the crew. I said yes and he said the cox who assisted us during the event who was Dutch was at the event today. Wilem was his name and this guy brought him over to meet up after all these year. So there we were talking about that day. He was really a club cox who was available to help us out. From start to finish he just kept saying this is very good, very F&%k’n good. The when he asked by our stroke James Stewart to call us up to the line the little English he knew at the time was used. I recall F Off being used for each step and we went within .2sec of the WBT. It was heaps of fun and I remember thinking those are the experience in rowing which stay with you. So today I got to relive it all over again.
Then I thought about going to Amsterdam in 2000 after the Vienna World Cup when I had made it back after my serious back injury that year. I must admit going to the Bosbaan on this occasion was short sighted and with miserable conditions my back started playing up again and we pulled out of the racing if I recall currently. Two weeks later I was out of Lucern and thought my rowing career was over.
You could say I have had some great experiences on the Bosbaan and mixed also. Over the last two days it was great to fly in and watch Kim Crow our Australian WX1. So new memories now are seeing her take on a classy International field with the current Olympic and the former Olympic champions in the Women’s single scull. Kim made a simple statement of intent and has set her International season up well. After the racing she said we need to get apple pie and so our small group headed up to the cafe and enjoyed the best bloody apple pie with ice cream and cream I think I have ever had. Another great memory.