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Cool rowing interview: Brad Lewis, Olympic Gold Medalist

This month's guest is that folk-hero of U.S. rowing in Brad Lewis. Brad won the gold in the 1984 Olympicsin the men's double. Since then he has been involved in many efforts in and out of the rowing world, and is probably best known in our circles for his book, "Assault on Lake  Casitas."

Here is what Angus Phillips, Columnist of The Washington Post has to say about Brad, "Brad Lewis is a rare combination-- world class athlete, individualistic thinker and a deft writer."

And here are a few of Brad's thoughts about rigging . . .

MAXRIGGING (MR): In terms of maximum boat speed, how important do you think rigging is?

BRAD ALLEN LEWIS (BL): Rigging became more important over the years-when I first started I rarely gave it much thought-just jumped in the boat and took off. Finally I figured out the basics of rigging and how essential it is to have a properly rigged boat to go as fast as possible. The old saying, "Those who can’t row, rig" is wrong. Those who can row AND rig, win.

The worst experience is jumping into a quad or double for an important seat race and discovering that the rig is screwy. Nothing is worse than having your rowing career on the line and finding out your boat is rigged poorly.

MR: How much time did you devote to rigging per week during the season?

BL: When just training I would check pitch at least once a month. For racing-since most races are "away" races - the whole rig would need to be checked when re-assembling the boat at the race course.

MR: What is your favorite part of rigging?

BL: I always enjoyed the plumb-bob method of pitch-checking. It seemed wonderfully low tech and extremely accurate. Also, one fall I rigged my single "right-over-left" and spent some months training that way (as oppose to left-over right). It was a great fun-like learning to scull all over again.

MR: What is your least favorite part of rigging?

BL: I once lost a race because of faulty rigging-I was in the lead when the oarlock separated from the rigger. My single scull suddenly became a very tipping contraption. I managed to get the oarlock back in place but by then everyone had passed me. Too late to catch up.

MR: Do you have one rigging tip that you would like to share with the readers?

BL: Head down to Harbor Tool Outlet and buy a case of 7/16 inch wrenches (or metric equivalent). Cheaper the better! Not having to borrow any tools is the first step towards a great victory! For some reason 7/16 inch wrenches have the ability to grow legs and go on Walkabout just when you need them most.

Check out Brad's new effort, a documentary on the 2000 men's national rowing team efforts at the Sydney Olympics. It can be found soon at <http://www.jlrowing.com/stock-items-books---videos. html>