27,000km on the clock – In the boat with Bob Symonds

I started rowing in the fall of 2009. Since that time, I have rowed almost 27,000 km combined on the water and the erg. I set my best 2K time (7:12.2) in 2011 and came within one second of matching that this February. In terms of Concept2 rankings, I am best at 5K pieces and worse at 1K pieces and in between on 2K pieces. In summary, my fitness has been relatively constant since 2012 and my physiological strength is head racing rather than sprinting. I am also a lightweight (5′-8″, 160 lbs).

Between 2011 and 2017, I have completed 15 1K sprint races in my single. I would rate two of these races as excellent with good starts, good overall speed, and great overall times (e.g. raw time in the low four minute range). However, in the 13 other races, I had various problems that slowed me down. My biggest problem has been very bad starts that alone cost me several seconds and one or more placings in the medals.

So my recent result at Dogwood in the F 1x was a dream, especially since I have not done a sprint race in my single for two years. Sure, I have areas for potential improvement (e.g. gearing) but I am now a real competitor in sprint races. I have never had such confidence with my starts until I started using the RANDALLfoils. I am gaining confidence, getting faster, and getting older. This is a great combination for a 60-year-old masters rower.

Do I have hard numbers comparing results with foils and without foils? No, but who cares. I row with more control, confidence and speed with the foils so that is what matters. The bottom line is that the foils help me do better. race to do my best and win medals so I like that.

[Footage of a 1km practice piece with Bob and Karen]

Cheers,
Bob

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