Monday, November 19, 2018

Tandem Sprint - USGN 2018

When we get together each year for the US Gondola Nationals, 
we have many racing events.  Some are clearly inspired by the regatas in Venice, while others are a bit different.

The sprint events are a good example of a more American take on gondola racing.
The distance races require speed, stamina, and often times - strategy.
Sprints, however, are more like a drag race, especially the type we had this year at La Gondola in Providence, Rhode Island.

Each year, with a different hosting city, the courses vary - often with a "down and back" format where the competitors race to a buoy, turn, and come back to the place where they started.

The Providence style is a straight shot from point A to point B, and all races this year began with a running start.  This makes for very short sprint times, and often the placings are remarkably close in terms of finish time.

The course this year measured 230 meters, which is roughly 250 yards.

To the purist or the uninformed, this might sound simple, but it's not.

Rowing as a pair requires balance, timing, and quick communication.
Often the members of a tandem team need to read each others minds, 
and do it immediately to keep the boat on course. that at high speed.

Shift through the gears as quickly as you can,
shoot through the tight archways of two bridges,
get to top speed sooner than the other teams,
and keep your trajectory laser-straight.

That, my friends, is the Tandem Sprint.

The Minnesota team of John Kerschbaum and Michael Serge.

The timekeeping this year was expertly overseen by veteran Providence gondolier Derek "Luciano" Sabatini and Mark Schooling of Gondola Paradiso in Oxnard, CA

At the US Gondola Nationals we typically award medals of gold, silver and bronze for the top three finishers in a race, although in keeping with the Venetian tradition, I'm posting the top four finishers here - in the colors that represent those placings.
This way you can see just how close the fourth place finishers were to getting a medal, and understand their frustration.
(insert your favorite Venetian swear words here)
In the case of this race, the fourth place team was behind by less than half of a second.

1. Parker Harrison and Michael Angelo Ruffino, Newport Beach, CA, 54:34
2. Tim "Bepi" Reinard of Huntington Beach, CA 
    and "Marcello" Matthew Haynes,  Providence, RI, 56:08
3. Adam "Ivano" Alves and "Mariano" Richards, Providence, RI, 56:53 
4. Greg Mohr and Kalev Pallares, Newport Beach, CA 57:17

Josh Sopp and Mark Schooling of Gondola Paradiso in Oxnard, CA 
powering their way through the course.

Mariano and Ivanno of La Gondola in Providence, RI giving it their all.

Gondola Greg of Newport Beach points to a friend, 
while Kalev Pallares prepares for the sprint run.

Sofia and Giuliana of La Gondola in Providence smile for the camera 
as they row towards the starting area.

 Tim "Bepi" Reinard and Matthew "Marcello" Haynes 
emerge from the bridges.

Parker Harrison and Michael Angelo Ruffino of Newport Beach
passing under the second bridge on their approach. 

John Kerschbaum and Michael Serge of Gondola Romantica in Minnesota.

Simon Atkins and Jonah Bonner of Newport Beach.

Here's a group shot from the awards banquet of the top three teams.
From left to right:
Mariano and Ivanno of Providence - Bronze

Parker Harrison and Michael Angelo Ruffino of Newport Beach - Gold
Tim "Bepi Reinard of Huntington Beach, and Matthew "Marcello" Haynes of Providence - Silver.

Sofia and Giuliana of Providence.

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