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Golden Generations

Rowers change, but the US W8+ wins the same

We scrutinise the US women’s eight as it emerges and wins, year-upon-year. New boats, but always an Empacher, new blades but always Croker Oars, new crews but, since 2001, the same head coach.

On close inspection, there is not one outstanding USRowing women’s eight. At any moment there could be as many outstanding women’s eights as the team has crew members to fill. For a decade, this specific boat entity has flown past us like a myth. It’s a bird, big-bodied and with ever-changing feathers. Each new feather is unique and, yet, united they invariably align as the optimal plumage for golden swift flight.

Why does the US women’s eight crew always win their races?

The first point to make is that they don’t.

“The races that are seen by most I have been lucky enough not to lose, having been a member of the eight,” London and Rio Olympic gold medallist Meghan Musnicki admits. “But I have lost my fair share of races both in and out of training. It happens quite frequently. I’ve lost a lot competing in the pair. Sure, it’s mentally challenging not to be winning but you have to attempt to stay within your boat. That’s not easy. At this level it’s not a lack of effort that makes you lose so it’s not as if you can just push harder and that will fix everything. Losing a race is situationally dependant”.

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About Row360

Welcome to Row360, the world’s only global, independent rowing magazine. Row360 brings you features from around the world, profiling the best athletes, coaches, and others from the whole rowing community – Olympic, Paralympic, college, club, ocean, and more.