.069 Seconds

What is in .069 seconds? The distance of less than a bowball and let me tell you the length of a bowball is about .2, and losing by that hurts, so you can imagine what .069 feels like. In the case of the 2017 IRA men’s V8 final between Yale and the University of Washington, it was the margin of victory. As a coxswain, I have to wonder what the coxswains in each boat were experiencing in those last 3 strokes? Your heart is pounding in your chest as the line approaches at what feels like the speed of light. There is so much energy already being expended that asking the rowers for more must seem like words of desperation. There is no time for technical correction or calling for more because the moves are done. In .069, that sliver of history that is now forever captured as the defining moment of this race it all comes done to rhythm and faith. As a cox I would be calling for inches and letting the rhythm of each call reflect each catch. You are down to single word calls b/c there is no time for more. “Inches!” or “NOW!” tell the entire story and the rowers know… they know faith in each other as a crew is what will carry them to the end. None of the members of these highly trained crews are going to give less than everything. The coxswain making the call has destiny in their hands.