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Vol. LXV, No. 34
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
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(Photo Courtesy of USRowing)

SCULL SESSION: Glenn Ochal shows his sculling form in a race earlier this year. Ochal, a 2008 Princeton University alum and former heavyweight rowing star for the Tigers, will be rowing in the quadruple sculls for the U.S. next week at the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia.

PU Alum Ochal Puts Crew Coaching on Hold, Competing in Quad Sculls at Upcoming Worlds

Bill Alden

Former Princeton University heavyweight rowing standout Glenn Ochal relished the chance to coach at his alma mater.

After graduating in 2008, Ochal served as a coaching intern for the Tiger heavyweights for one school year and then was the assistant coach for the lightweights from the fall of 2009 through last fall.

Ochal’s coaching tenure was highlighted by the spring of 2010 which saw the Tiger lightweights repeat as the champions of the Eastern Sprints and the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta.

“It was a great year, it was a great experience,” said Ochal, reflecting on the 2010 campaign.

“It was Marty Crotty’s first year as head coach after Greg [Hughes] moved to the heavyweights. We had a fantastic group of kids who did all the work and won all the races. We didn’t have to do much as coaches.”

Ochal’s coaching work served to aid his own rowing as he looked to solidify his place as a sculler in the U.S. national program.

“I was training twice a day and coaching once a day,” said Ochal, a 6‘5, 200-pound native of Philadelphia who won the double sculls and placed third in the single sculls at the 2010 National Selection regatta. “I see some things from the launch that I don’t see in the boat.”

Earlier this year, Ochal decided that his coaching had to go on the backburner in order to give him the best shot at competing at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Ochal moved to the Chula Vista, Calif. training center to row full time.

“I talked to Marty and Greg and they were very supportive; they said it was my best chance,” said Ochal. “If you want to be the best at something, you have to go all in. As Curtis Jordan [former PU heavyweight head coach] once told me, there is nothing like rowing at the Olympics and you can coach at any age.”

Ochal’s decision to head west has already paid dividends as he will be representing the U.S. national team in the quadruple sculls next week at the 2011 World Rowing Championships on Lake Bled in Bled, Slovenia.

“This year, my focus has been to get better in everything,” said Ochal, in reflecting on his selection for the U.S. squad.

“I want to be better on the erg, in technical skills, be a better teammate, and be a better leader. I am trying to get better everyday, get an inch faster everyday.”

As his boat gets ready for the worlds, Ochal believes it is getting faster on a daily basis.

“We have been doing well, I am confident in the other guys in the boat,” said Ochal, who will be joined by Warren Anderson, Will Miller, and Sam Stitt in the quad.

“I think we are picking up speed. We are in hard training right now; we need to get ourselves a little tired and then taper when we get closer to the worlds. We need to feel out the regatta; I expect us to be one of the fastest boats there. We have to execute; we need to be relaxed and smooth but powerful. We need to do what we have been doing in practice.”

If the quad goes all in, it could make a powerful statement with the Olympic Games on the horizon.

“This can set us up for the Olympics; the top 11 qualify automatically for London,” said Ochal.

“If you want to be the best, you have to give it total focus. We have to go through tomorrow. Obviously, London is the goal down the road, to put ourselves in a position to not only go there, but to do well.”

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