Sweep Rowing offers valuable insights for the coach and coxswain, and a comprehensive description of sweep-stroke essentials for the oarsman, one millimeter at a time. And that is the purpose of this book, this tool—to provide comfort and confidence with the must-haves of the basic stroke.
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There are more than two dozen books about rowing on some level. Moving novels, histories, training guides, even dietary advice. But what if you're just a person who's found something fun, compelling, and beautiful, and you'd like to learn how to do it beautifully? Your aspirations may be unengineered as of yet, but you've glimpsed that in order to do well with this thing, you'll have to expand the measure of yourself, the measure of your substance, beyond the love of technical mastery and to include the love of others. The asymmetry of sweeping places this demand. You may not have known this for sure; but you vaguely suspected it.
There is a dearth of literature that will admit this openly, that will speak freely about the yearning to achieve that paranormal perfect union with another human being. Or seven. That union which wins races and creates epic memories. When I was young and in college there was even less such prose and I had a devil of a time finding anything intended expressly for the novice coxswain, oarsman, or early coach. These disciplines were hard won for me and I really could've used the help. Nearly 25 years later I was still nagged by the seemingly awkward gap and I decided to see if I could fill it in a little.
Sweep Rowing is a manual that addresses all three of the oarsman, the coxswain, and the coach and tries not to ignore the necessary but sometimes inscrutable oneness demanded by true excellence, arete. I set myself a strict limit of 100 pages so the work would be strong in content and not at all autobiographical. I've tried to set down details I've learned over many years but never seen written down anywhere. The object is to remove mystery and to improve a crew's enjoyment of the art in one quick read.
No book on rowing has ever made this approach. I wanted to make some contribution for so many years but, selfishly, I was busy having too much fun; we should all be so lucky I suppose. Here it is now. Please enjoy it and do let me know what you found helpful.
“Your book was extremely well thought out... After your book is read, the reader will not only have a great feel for the sport of rowing, but also know the ins and outs at a high level.”
—Mike Hughes, Head Women's CoachUnited States Naval Academy
“With 20 years’ experience coaching crew, Cherry talks not just mechanics but the potential art in the rowing experience. This guide to rowing comes at the sport from a pre-Socratic angle, digging to its essence, then shifting to the Platonic ideal of release, strike, recovery sweep, catch, drive—the perfect stroke, like a dive without a splash. When you put all the elements together—nothing more, nothing less—there’s a mysterious elevation of spirit. Cherry, in his debut, brings
a pleasingly old-school formality to rowing: do it right, do it to perfection, but have fun while you’re at it,... Cherry offers clear instruction and advice to oarsmen and women, coxswains, and coaches,...”
—Leo Pickens, Former Athletic Director
Dave learned to row and cox as an undergraduate at St. John's College in Annapolis. He became a USRA Certified Coach in 1991, possibly the youngest in North America. After graduate work in Physics at the College of William & Mary in Virginia, he returned to Maryland and coached crew from 1994 to 2008 while serving as the Assistant Director of Admissions at St. John's.
Today Dave lives in New Orleans, Louisiana where
he continues to enjoy writing. As "Blake Carver," he is the author of
the thriller, Most Likely to Suceed, Ivy League Killers and,
as Dave Cherry, Harms Done to Others.
Cover Graphic Design by Ellie Nigretto
Race Day Photo by Lovan Ely
Portrait by Julie Dermansky
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