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Sit Ready! Kendall Schmidt Gives Us the Inside Scoop on Coxing.

by Sarah Marshall, smarshall@usrowing.org | Mar 18, 2016
Only one week left to register for the first USRowing Coxswain Clinic of 2016! Attendees will learn from USRowing Training Center coxswain and 2016 Rio hopeful Kendall Schmidt and USRowing referee Mary Bush, as well as get a tour of the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.
A graduate from the University of Wisconsin and a 2016 Olympic hopeful, Kendall Schmidt knows a thing or two about success in the coxswain seat. A member of the U.S.DSC_1423 Under 23 National Team in 2012 and 2013, she won back-to-back gold medals in the women’s eight. Those victories are just a few of the accolades Schmidt will reminisce over at the first stop of the 2016 Coxswain Clinic Series on Saturday, March 26 from 1-4 p.m. at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.

We caught up with the Rio hopeful who is currently training in Chula Vista, Calif., to look back on a few other things as well…

USRowing: Who taught you in the “ins and outs” of coxing and has given you the most direction in your career so far?
 
Schmidt: There is no straight path to becoming a great coxswain; it is part of the beauty and the challenge of the seat. I can’t name just one person who has taught me how to be a coxswain. I never had the opportunity to go to clinics like this one, which may have made things a bit easier. I’ve picked things up from every coach and teammate along the way, but I don’t think I would be where I am if it weren’t for Meghan Cooke Carcagno. She has been far more than just my freshman coach, but also a mentor and a friend.
 
USRowing: What is one of the most important things junior coxswains should learn right away as they start their steering career? What is something that a lot of junior coxswains overlook?
 
Schmidt: One of the most important things a junior coxswain, or any coxswain for that matter, should learn is spatial awareness of your surroundings. Noticing which way the wind is pushing your boat, understanding how much space you need to spin or stop the boat, and checking for hazards ahead are all equally important to your use of the rudder.

USRowing: Describe the feeling that comes after you cox an awesome piece. We talk a lot about the “high” the rowers get, but it has to be an adrenaline rush pushing those elite athletes along, right?
 
Schmidt: The dynamic between rowers and coxswains is really special. When you’re feeding off of each other’s energy, there is nothing quite like it. The best calls I make are those that come when I’m inspired by my teammates. As an athlete myself, being a coxswain is humbling because you aren’t able to physically contribute to the speed of the boat. When you call an awesome race you feel like you made a difference and can take some ownership for the win, even if you didn’t experience the physical pain.

USRowing: Has there ever been a time that you messed up but you learned from it? What was that experience like?
 
Schmidt: No one is flawless. Of course I’ve made mistakes. I remember a scrimmage we did over spring break of my freshman year in college. There was a ripping cross wind and no stake boats, but we were trying to line up for a 2k. When the race finally went off I didn’t have a good point and we hit a few buoys in the start. It flustered everyone in the boat including me. I quickly improved at anticipating wind while waiting for a start and keeping my cool when unexpected things happen.

WAIT - there is more! 

Attendees are encouraged to register early, as space is limited. Check-in for the event will begin at 12:30 p.m., with programming slated to begin at 1 p.m. To register for the event, visit Regatta Central.

Also joining the upcoming Coxswain Clinic in Chula Vista is USRowing referee Mary Bush. Bush started rowing as a 10 year old, at ZLAC Rowing Club in San Diego. She continued her rowing career through college at Portland State University in Oregon, and presently as a masters rower and USRowing referee.
 
Bush has competed domestically and internationally, has also served as a Level III USRowing certified coach and head coach. She continues to give back to the sport of rowing as she became a licensed referee in 2002.

To register, go to http://usrow.us/CoxClinicTour .
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