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Case Example: Crew selections

an alternative to seat racing

How do you put together your crew?

If you have more rowers than seats in the boat you need to make some tough decisions regarding who gets the coveted seats. There are many ways to do this. This short blog explains one affordable and simple way to do it using data, making the selection fair and square, and transparent. We'd love to hear your thoughts, and your methods to do this too, please comment below!

Crew selections: The Quiske way

Have your group of crew candidates all row single sculls in similar conditions on the same straight route (1.5-2km route) at e.g. 30 SPM. The reason the rate is limited to, say 30, is to find rowers with similar power output. The total rowed meters at constant rate during a set time correlates with physical properties and often also with technique.

Do it like this:

Download the Quiske App (iOS/ Android). Under Settings choose boat type Single Scull and Recording Interval 6 minutes.

The Quiske Rowing App can measure intervals which is useful when making crew selections

Install a phone running the Quiske app rigidly to the foostretcher.

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Have the rower hit start before rowing the 6minute interval at 30SPM. Do make sure the phone is rigidly attached so that you get good data (the phone uses the accelerometer and GPS for speed, rate, and distance measurements)

Place the phone somewhere where the rower can see and access Quiske Rowing App

Jot down the distance each rower is able to cover during the 6minute session:

The rowers who make it the farthest make the optimum crew.

If you have a subscription to the Quiske cloud you can also upload the data of all individual rowers. This is quite important since then you can:

  • check that indeed each rower rowed at 30SPM every single stroke during the entire time (no cheating should be allowed!)
  • overlay the acceleration data of each rower to spot differences in rowing technique and timing
  • if there are big differences in the weights of the rowers you can take it into account (using e.g. this formula  here
  • optionally overlay data from Quiske pods from the seat or oars to see detailed differences in angles and timing

The below is a screenshot of a 2minute interval in the Quiske cloud and below it the average acceleration over the period of one stroke from four different 2 minute sessions (all at same rate) overlaid to find minute differences.

The Quiske Cloud allows analyzing rowing data online
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Some thoughts

The Quiske crew selection method is best suitable to put together sculling crews since the test is done in a single scull. Also it is best to have all rowers row simultaneously side by side to rule out external differences (note that you can run the Quiske App with the same account in multiple phones at the same time).

Since the Quiske App is free this method of crew selections at its simplest costs nothing. If you'd like to use the cloud to compare the data from your rowers the price starts at 69€/year (when recording the data of all rowers into one subscription). A pod to get data from the seat or the oars costs 250€.

Do you use data to decide on the composition of a crew? We'd love your thoughts and comments.

And once you have the crew in place?

Of course measuring rowing technique only really starts once you have that crew in place. That's when you need to turn every stone to synchronize the crew technique. Below an example showing the measured leg work (positive=leg drive, 0=seat backstop, negative= leg recovery) in a four. Thank you Lotte from Denmark for this visualization of Quiske data.