Gold medalist teaching next generation of rowers


Special to the Miami Herald

As the coxswain of the U.S. women’s eight rowing team, Mary Whipple was sometimes referred to as the heartbeat of the crew.

From the bow of the vessel, Whipple steered the women’s eight team to Olympic gold in 2008 and 2012, and to a silver medal in 2004. She commands the crew, controlling the rowing tempo and speed of the boat.

Now, after 12 years as a crew member for the national team, Whipple, 33, of Sacramento, has decided to retire and pass on her skills to a new generation of coxswains.

On Sunday, Whipple will hold a clinic at the Miami Beach Rowing Club (6500 Indian Creak Drive).

“Giving coxswains a resource to perfect our craft has been a dream of mine since the 2008 Olympics when I created my company and website, the 9th Seat, LLC,” Whipple said. “Giving a national coxswain clinic tour was one of my original goals for the 9th Seat and since retiring from the national team, I now have the time to make this dream come true.”

Whipple, who helped lead the U.S. to a world-best time of 5:54.17 at the 2012 Samsung World Rowing Cup II, has been on a tour across the country and is excited to pass along her experience and love for the sport.

As coxswain, she sits in the ninth seat at the bow and steers the 60-foot shell with a small string attached to the rudder while barking out commands.

“I'm excited to see USRowing and the rest of the rowing community invest in the value of having a well-trained coxswain,” she said. “Even though the ninth member of an eight doesn't have an oar, they still can contribute to boat speed and I'm excited to help in that process to educate better boat-movers in the ninth seat.”

The cost of the one-day clinic is $85 for those who pre-register and $95 for those who register at the door. The fee includes all materials and an opportunity to learn from the world’s best. Clinic topics will range from winning tactics for coxswains to how to drive your boat to win.

For more information, visit


Whether you are a beginner, novice or pro, the Indian Creek Paddle Showdown on March 2 will have an appropriate skill level for you.

The event features three courses in Indian Creek and surrounding channels and is open to any human-propelled vessel, including paddle boards (both prone and stand-up) surfski, kayaks, canoes, rowing shells, and more.

In the first long-distance course, participants will have to out-paddle and outmaneuver other crews through a 10-mile course. In the six-mile course paddlers will have to be straight and fast to the finish.

If you are looking for something a little less intensive, check out the 1.5-mile course designed for beginners and novices.

Registration for the ICPS is $15 for children and $30 for adults. For more information, visit

If you would like to have your event showcased in the Miami Herald please email or @CoreyWCampbell on twitter

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