Hi everyone, we are the junior Dutch men's eight that is rowing at the Coupe de la Jeunesse in Cork, Ireland. Allmarkone discovered us on Instagram, and we hope you will too and give us a follow. Just slide to @scoupe8 and click on that attractive little blue button. If you did, you will see our nicknames in our bio. We will introduce ourselves there and explain them. Enjoy!
The @scoupe8 crew
Our bow seat is seated by Max Röell from Willem III, Amsterdam. We call him captain Max because he is our captain in dangerous times. After we were almost too late for a race because of bad preparation, our coaches angrily decided to make us elect a team captain. So Max makes sure we, and our boat, are ready to before every race. Furthermore, in the Netherlands, there goes a saying “Goede Boeg, goede ploeg” which means a good bow makes a great crew. Max has mastered this ability, so that makes our crew even greater.
Jaap Noordman is the newest member of our crew; he rows for Die Leythe, Leiden. That, however, doesn’t affect his technical capabilities. It does affect his flexibility, therefore we call him the "Stijve zeehond"; which means Stiff Seal. Jaap has never stretched before joining the crew so he had some stretching to make up, but he is showing great progress.
The big boy Sjoerd Scheper from Willem III, Amsterdam, is our 100-kilo capsizing king. He is the strongest rower in the crew, but unfortunately, he doesn't really know how to effectively utilize his strength. We call him the "big friendly giant". He is always happy to see you and has great enthusiasm, but can be a little clumsy.
Our 4 seat is occupied by Jan-Huib Veninga. He’s a very experienced single sculler, so he always knows how to focus well. He is our King of the North, coming all the way from the North of the Netherlands and is rowing for Neptunus, Delfzijl. He doesn’t talk much, but expresses himself through his rowing - that's fine by the rest of us.
Just like every crew we need have a crew clown. Our 5 seat, is coming from the south of the Netherlands and rows for TOR, Tilburg, where they like to party and celebrate carnival. Sjoerd celebrates live as if there is a carnival every day, and has no shame for anything at all. Because we already had a Sjoerd in our crew, we had to find a new name for Sjoerd van Loon. Therefore we called him Marco, a popular Italian name, which ended up in Remco, because as Dutchies, we have a hard time pronouncing Italian names.
Some say our 6 isn’t even Dutch at all - he isn’t. But at least he tries. Paolo Pantano is rowing for RIC, Amsterdam and is not only able to row really composed, but quickly as well. How would something else even be possible with muscles that are made for 90% out of the strong fibres found in pure Italian pasta.
David van Velden is also rowing for Willem III, Amsterdam; our coaches call him Daantje, and he is probably the most energetic person you’ll ever meet. He is in the 7 seat to support the stroke, so that the strokeman can fully focus on knocking himself out. Outside of the boat he is always positive and if most of us are down after a long and horrible training, he always cracks us up again. Therefore we call him auntie Danielle, because he really never stops talking.
Our stroke is named Abel Westland and rowing for De Amstel, Amsterdam. something we can all learn from him is his ability to dig for energy in a race. When the man with the hammer comes in the last 500 he digs, and digs until he hears the buzzer from the finish tower. His nickname is Mr KO, given to him after he went knock out for the second time in the boat at the end of a 2k race.
Last but not least is our lovely coxswain Charlotte Russel Willem III, Amsterdam. She is a lovable person outside the boat, But the moment her butt touches the seat she is very direct, strict but mostly a very good cox. We call her Lara Croft, because she almost looks the same.
We already covered the coaches on our instagram @scoupe_8 but we’re so happy with them we’ll just mention them again.
Willem is the head coach. He is there for us at any given moment. He has a lot of experience and great ability to organise everything perfectly. Sometimes however his enthusiasm gets the best of him and he starts rattling on for ages.
The Third Sjoerd of our crew is a coach. He has a rower's posture, and he was one back in the days. Strong posture, tall build and acting tough. But if it starts getting real, he is the sweetest man we know. We love him.
Last up is Paul. He is the coach with the most experience. He is quick with a joke, and unlike remco's jokes, his acctually make us laugh. Unfortunatly his moutch zips shut when we enter the boat. We can bearly hear him when we're rowing. But everything he says is well thought trough and very effective for the boat speed.
Mr. KO went full bonkers at the khb again, but we don't mind. We were still Shining in our 7+. After a short visit to the intensive care he was released because of being too beast. We might not have won the race, but we won our race and we only got stronger. Tomorrow will be our last national race. #roadtocork #komeisterbackatitagainwiththeO2shortage
The selection is really simple, there is one international regatta called “the Holland Beker”. The crew that finishes first behind the junior world championships crew is allowed to go to the Coupe de la Jeunesse. Selection for world's is a lot more complicated, organised by the federation's head coach and more spread out across the season. Although for the Coupe, you also need to perform during the whole year to be discovered as a potential crewmate. This is necessary because most of the Coupe crews are not formed within one club, but they are more often a combination between rowers from different clubs because most clubs do not have enough rowers on the same level. After you performed consistently on the national scene, some coaches can be interested in you and might ask you to row for their boat. In this way, some potentially fast crews are formed that can challenge for a spot at the Coupe.
Our crew was formed by our head Coach Willem Stohr, who had already started his selection early in the season by forming different crews to explore different rowers. He stated doing this for the "Novembervieren" races om the Amstel River in November 2017, and later at the coolest race of the Netherlands: Heineken Roeivierkamp. In the end, the selection was made of some good single scullers who were not asked for world's selection but raced good at the national championships and a few experienced sweep rowers who already have been to the Coupe.
September last year we individually started off our seasons in single sculls mostly and some other boats. Fun fact is that the rowing races in the Netherlands are all on a national level; there are no districts so everyone knows everyone very well. We mainly started single sculls races in the Netherlands and almost all of us raced the 'Novembervieren', in which we rowed in coxed fours so that coaches could discover our qualities.
In December we had our national indoor rowing championships. During the winter we had a few other long distance single scull races. After the boring Netherlands christmas we created a project that contained 32 rowers who were seen as some of the best juniors, forming four eights that would row “ The Heineken Roeivierkamp” and “The Head of the River Amstel. After these head-style races the 2K season started.
First we had the National Championships in small boats, mainly the single sculls (60 entries). Based on the results the National Rowing Federation started with it’s selection for the World Championship eight. That was also the time we started training together. A few of our crew members were also competing for a seat in the dutch men's eight, ultimately resulting in one of us, Felix Mebius, making the selection. After this, Jaap Noordman, who rowed a good season in the single, came in the boat. We had a few more races left, of which we won one with a very big margin to the second place finisher, almost 30 seconds.
Then the national rowing season and school were finished and we started to grind in the eight for three weeks. We had daily sessions together at the Bosbaan in Amsterdam, a 2k course where the national training center is based. In between training session we had lunch together at a nice little cafe at he Bosbaan, called the Boshalte, where the staff feels as family to us. There were some days that we couldn't row there due to canoe and other regattas. For those days we had a boat at the river Amstel, where all the Amsterdam rowing clubs are based on.
This is also the place where we did our weekly weights training together with members of the Coupe coxed four. It was a weight training of the club with the most rowers in our crew, Willem III. Apart from these 3 rowers and the cox, our crew consisted of five other clubs, with two members of the crew having to travel almost 3 hours to training. Probably in Great Britain this is not so far away, but here in the Netherlands we are not used as much to traveling long distances so it feels like a lot of time. So during our intensive training period, these crew members stayed with other crew members who live in Amsterdam.
As we have said, we trained at the Bosbaan, where the national training centre is based. This means that after the regular season is over, you remain only with other national squads, training for junior worlds, U23's and seniors. This is nice, because in this way we can watch the best and learn and row against other boats on almost the same level, for example the junior worlds eight.
This resulted in some funny stories,like when we raced the U23 women's eight. We saw them preparing for a start, and our coach said to join them. Their coach did not like that because we would make too many waves. So our coach commanded us to sneaky row a little further and start a bit after the women's eight passed us. Surprisingly, we overtook them very fast and by doing so, we made these big waves their coach was afraid of. So the U23 coach got very angry and started shouting at us, after cursing out our coach.
A big challenge in our preparation this year was the warm weather. There were some periods when the temperature rose above 30 degrees celsius. what is quite exeptional weather in the Netherlands. During these periods, training twice a day on the middle of the day wasn't reasonable. Therefore we trained early in the morning and very late in the evening.
Another challenge that came with the warm weather, was blue algae. As the Bosbaan is a small lake and the water isn't streaming, we had a period were the water turned totally green of blue algae (they are called blue, but actually blue algae are green). This was a medical hazard, so we had to be extra careful with our hygiene, for example putting our bottles in plastic bags, and cleaning our handles after every training. Luckily, our crew did not experience serious infection, but some of the junior worlds crews unfortunately did.
For most of us, this is our first coupe. Only our cox and 6 (Paolo) and 5 (Remco) seats raced at the Coupe before. Our 5 seat Sjoerd was the bowman the eight last year, our cox Charlotte in the coxed four last year and our 6 seat Paolo stroked the coxless four last year and a J16 eight two years ago. They know what it is like to race the tough international opponents and they keep our eight focussed. They will be looking out for another great coupe, wanting to win but knowing how hard it can be at the coupe.
Our inexperienced guys will probably enjoy the experience a bit more and will learn a lot from their first international event. They are looking forward to racing against other national teams and all the other special things that happen at your first international regatta. According to the weather forecast it will be only 20 degrees, rather cold for us dutchmen with our hot 30 degrees summer. At least we will be cool to race, but we will bring up the heat!
Don't forget to follow us! @scoupe8