It was a cold and rainy Monday in Amsterdam. The rowers had a short morning work out because their afternoon one was moved up a couple hours. The afternoon workout was moved up, we told them, because they were taking out an 8+ and the coxswain had a scheduling conflict.
When the coxswain arrived we introduced him to the group and explained to them that the reason practice was earlier because he had to get back to the Bosbaan so he could practice with his team as they prepared for Henley and, later this summer, the Olympics. The coxswain was Peter Wiersum, the Dutch National Team coxswain who competed in London, coxed the Great Eight at the Head of the Charles, and was gearing up to compete in Rio, where the Dutch have a good chance of getting on the podium.
After the shock of meeting their coxswain, everyone hopped in the boat that won the Olympics for the Dutch in 1996 for a row along the Amstel. Though it poured rain the entire time, you could still see the smiles on the faces of the rowers during the practice.
Peter stuck around once the boat was put away to answer some questions and tell the rowers more about competing on an international level. It was really exciting to hear his thoughts and comments about Dutch rowing and life as a coxswain.