Francesco Cardaioli: merits of the 1x

by Giuseppe Lamanna (translated by Gillian Shaw) source text

Amongst the many problems that can plague the amateur rower, the sculling-related ones are the most tricky: particularly that of finding reliable crew mates. Very often, I am the only one around to row with.

Merits of the 1x

So who better to help me understand than the single sculler in the Italian squad: is solitude in rowing a blessing or a curse? In this sport, the ones who really do battle are those who train alone; those who have chosen to train with only their own demons for company. And only those who train alone, really know what those demons are.


Francesco Cardaioli: “Taking on the single was almost out of necessity rather than choice.  I first competed in a single in my second year as a junior, and I have never stopped since. My first experience of international racing in a single was in 2013. At the start of the four year cycle it had to be the boat class to gain experience racing against seniors. Then, little by little, the single became mine. Continue reading

Memories of an old racing vest – rowing will always give you a second chance

by Mario Scalella (translated by Gillian Shaw) source text

My name is Mario and I am 60 years old. People of my age play cards, go out cycling, collect stamps, but rowing is my passion. Although sometimes when I look in the mirror, I ask myself if I am too old. Yet my heart tells me to carry on and the medical check-ups alay any worries.


Mario Scalella, seat number 2, won the Lysistrata Cup, 1973.

My rowing story started at 17 when I joined the ‘free rowing course’ organised by Naples Rowing Club (Circolo Canottieri Napoli At the time I was a big lad – a bit overweight – so I decided to take up a sport to make me feel more confident. To get the ‘look’, to get the girls. I loved football and the sea, and I admit that the free part of the course was the bit that lead me to Molosiglio, where the rowing club is still located.  Continue reading

Rowing: what I have learned, and what I have yet to learn

by Giuseppe Lamanna (translated by Gillian Shaw) source text

There are moments in a rower’s life when you have to stop and weigh up what you’re doing, how you’re doing it and where you’re going. An existential crisis? Not exactly.

Some situations push you towards important moments of reflection – the result of cumulative experience. Someone once said that you learn to really live just when here is no longer any point in living. Life’s often like that. But then it is also true that sharing your own knowledge is vital, particularly when it is what you have learnt. Continue reading

Rowing: Don’t say “I can’t!”

by Anonymous Rower (translated by Gillian Shaw) source text

My name is Fabio and I, like many others wanted to be a rower. I was born and grew up in Sardinia and I enjoyed water sports as a youngster. I lived near a large lake, which is where I began to row, when I was little more than a child.

The feeling of being in a boat made me fall in love with the sport there and then. Yet, I was to give it up all too soon. At 19, I left home to go to university. At 31, straight after graduating with a PhD, I dropped everything and moved to Oxford.

I cant

Don’t say: “I can’t!”

Continue reading

Alessio Sartori: “Be the best sculler in the world!”

by Alessio Sartori (translated by Gillian Shaw) source text

I was born and brought up as a sculler, because there were no other rowers of my age at the club I joined. So, my coach Lorenzo Gattuso put me out in a single; this was the start of my (all-too-common) love-hate relationship with this boat class.


Italian Coxless Quad at Sydney Olympics 2000. From the left: Agostino Abbagnale, Alessio Sartori, Rossano Galtarossa and Simone Raineri.

Despite all of that though, Continue reading

Murray beat Pinsent, but is it a verified record?

by Vincenzo Triunfo (translated by Gillian Shaw) source text

For a sportsperson, beating a record is the pinnacle. Limits are defined by records, in sport. Yet, while records are there to be broken, sometimes we find ourselves facing up to records that are the result of a technological or environmental change.


In rowing, for example, records are generally set over 2000 metres. The reason for this is simple: there are too many influences on conditions where we race, but thanks to the ergometer (indoor rower), rowers can test themselves against the records set over various distances.

Murray beat Pinsent: but is it a true record?! Continue reading

I sat in my single scull and wept

by Giuseppe Lamanna (translated by Gillian Shaw) source text

I am certain that rowing doesn’t love me. It doesn’t matter though. I love it. Or maybe not. I hate it, but don’t want to. I’d love to get rowing out of my head, but I can’t. It is too devious/insidious/underhand. First it treats you badly everyday. Then, when you aren’t looking, it leaves something behind.


Only later do you realise that the something was happiness. That’s how it got me. Just at the moment when I thought our paths would no longer cross. Instead, one day at 7.30am, I sat in my single and wept. Continue reading