Sharing Jack Nunn’s Experience From a 4 Day Rowing Camp That Featured Four Olympic Gold Medalists…And More!!! (Part 2 of 8)

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Rob Waddell

This camp was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to meet the best of the best in the sport of rowing, especially in the singles event. The singles event is known in the world of rowing to be the toughest of all rowing events and respected by other sports as being one of the hardest things to master. To be the best in the world in the single is like being Superman in my eyes. There are 8 Parts to this Blog simply because each one of these athletes has had such a tremendous impact on the world of rowing and beyond. I want to share my experience with each of these great rowers. Part 2

Rob Waddell

Robert (“Rob”) Norman Waddell, ONZM, (born January 7, 1975 in Te Kuiti) is a New Zealand rower, yachtsman and rugby union player. Waddell has one of the highest VO2 MAX (oxygen lung capacity intake) levels of any athlete ever tested…even higher than Lance Armstrong! Standing almost 7 feet tall he holds the fastest 2000 meter indoor rowing machine time in the world, clocking a time of 5mins 36.6secs (5:36.6). For those of you who use Watts as a measure of power in class… imagine trying to hold over 700 Watts for almost 6mins. And if you are using Split times..imagine holding a 1:24 Split time to get a score like Waddell’s. Last year Waddell also broke the record for the 5,000 meter test clocking a ridiculous time of 14:48 becoming the first person ever to break the 15min mark for 5,000 meters. Imagine trying to hold close to 600 Watts for 15min straight or a 1:29 Split time in order to break the record.

2000 meters are universally considered the grueling standard for indoor races. To further grasp the magnitude of Waddell’s accomplished visit the Concept2 website and take a look at some of the world wide fastest 2000 meters times achieved on the Concept2. You’ll notice these times are listed by gender and age.

Also, to give you another idea of how fast that time is…My fastest 2,000 meter indoor race was 5mins 58.8secs (5:58.8). The average US National Rowing Team indoor rowing score was a 5:55! Lets just say for example you were watching Steve Prefontaine run a mile (By the way if you couldn’t tell …I like Pre 🙂 …and 4 laps around the track is roughly 2000m) at the Olympics. Imagine watching Pre almost a lap ahead of everyone else! That’s how fast Rob Waddell is in the world of rowing! Absolute domination in the indoor rowing world and domination in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games winning gold in the Single Sculls. I am very excited to be writing about Rob Waddell because he is such an all-around amazing athlete.

Waddell started rowing at Kings College, Auckland. He was diagnosed with a condition called atrial fibrillation in 1997. It has needed careful management in order to permit him to compete at the highest level. He won the single scull at the rowing World Championships in 1998 and 1999, and the gold medal in the Single Sculls at the 2000 Summer Olympics. During his World Championship period, Waddell had several closely contested races with Xeno Müller (the 1996 Summer Olympics gold medalist). In the years leading up to the Olympics, Müller beat Waddell in 3 out of the 7 races they faced each other. At the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, Waddell and Müller dramatically traded the lead over the last half of the course before Waddell finally pulled away to win the gold medal.

Following the 2000 Olympics, Waddell retired from rowing, trying out a number of other sports, including rugby, before joining Team New Zealand as a grinder for the 2003 America’s Cup defense. He continued in the role as a grinder with Emirates Team New Zealand for the 2007 America’s Cup challenge.

Waddell returned to rowing training at the New Zealand rowing training centre at Lake Karapiro in late 2007, and beat 2006, 2007, and 2008 World Champion Mahe Drysdale at a club competition sparking a great competition between the two for the place to represent New Zealand at the 2008 Summer Olympics. The two traded races, with Waddell leading by three victories to one when final trials began in March 2008. The first two races of the final trials were close, with each sculler winning one race. In the final race, Waddell suffered a repeat of his atrial fibrillation condition, resulting in Drysdale winning easily; prior to this incident, Waddell had kept his medical condition a secret.

After losing the singles bid to Drysdale, Waddell earned a seat in New Zealand’s double sculls, rowing bow seat behind Nathan Cohen. Because of Waddell’s late entry into the New Zealand Olympic qualification trials, Waddell and Cohen had little time to train together in preparation for the games. They proved a strong duo, winning the 2008 Rowing World Cups in Lucerne, Switzerland and Poznan, Poland. However, their success at the World Cups was not continued to the 2008 Olympics, where they finished fourth in the final. Waddell was a tremendous inspiration to me and taught me many important technique drills in order to get better on the Concept2 Indoor Rowing Machine. He explained to me that legs are the key. If I could find the key to connecting better and rowing faster times on the machine…. that would be my ultimate goal! Some of the drills and exercises we do in class at Roworx are used in my classes on a daily routine. The One-legged Rowing drill as well as the One-Arm rowing hang drill were suggested to me from Waddell.

Starting in the month of November I will be holding a special hybrid rowing/racing classes that will get you all prepared for an anaerobic workout. For those of you interested or curious about indoor racing this will be the class to attend. It will be held at the Warehouse every Friday morning at 9:30am starting the month of November. This class is open to all levels and is included in your rowing membership!  Row Hard…(Harder than Rob Waddell)… and Have Fun Doing It

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Jack Nunn

Jack Nunn is the head trainer and owner of Roworx. Jack is a former national team rower who has competed in more than 100 triathlons, including 9 full Ironmans. He has created a system of rowing that prepares the whole body for both competition and fitness longevity.

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