IncNow’s Technology Director, William Conesa Purman (University of Delaware ’13), has been with IncNow since 2011, while also training often twice a day as a high-performance rower at Pennsylvania Athletic Club and Malta Boat Club in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He rows for the Puerto Rican National Team and almost qualified for the Olympic Games in Rio this year. To read further about that, you can visit his last blog entry here. We pick back up in this series following Will’s rowing career as he returns to Delaware after competing in the SilverSkiff Endurance Regatta in Torino, Italy. In Will’s own words:
In September I began training again after spending four months of only casual workouts daily. During my “time off” I was able to catch up on some tech-related projects at IncNow and devote time to other passions that are often overshadowed by rowing, such as cycling and running. Nevertheless, I returned to a full-time training schedule feeling refreshed and eager to tackle an aggressive fall racing schedule that would include the Navy Day Regatta, Head of the Charles, Head of the Schuylkill, and culminate with the famous SilverSkiff Regatta in Torino, Italy.
Already a member of Malta Boat Club, I decided also to join the Pennsylvania Athletic Club and take part in their training group this fall, which includes about 20 other male and female rowers. This was a big change for me, as I have grown accustomed to training alone over the last year and a half at Malta. The decision to join a training group was positive for me as it challenged me with strong competition each and every day. This training prepared me for strong results with a 2nd place finish at the Navy Day Regatta, 15th place finish at Head of the Charles, and a 3rd place finish at the Head of the Schuylkill in Philadelphia. Racing almost every weekend during October helped me prepare for the SilverSkiff regatta, which was my ultimate goal and last race of 2016.
The SilverSkiff Regatta is an 11 km (6.835 mile) rowing race on the River Po which includes a 180 degree turn around a buoy at the half way mark and 700 rowers in all categories all starting at 15 second intervals! Typically rowing sprint races consist of a 2 km race course with every competitor lining up at the same time. The unique set up of the SilverSkiff Regatta makes for a chaotic yet fun racing experience straying from the norm.
I previously raced in 2014 at the SilverSkiff, earning a 35th place finish when I was just beginning my post collegiate rowing career. It also marked my first time traveling outside of North America, so it was a good learning experience. This year I was lucky enough to have Stephane Durand, a Frenchman who helped coach me in the past, drive out to Torino and lend a hand. With his help everything ran smoothly, from rigging a brand new Filippi boat to pre-race preparations and transportation.
Because I had not raced SilverSkiff in 2015 I was not seeded and therefore assigned an unfavorably high starting number of 260 this year, which meant I would begin my race almost an hour after the eventual winner Martin Sinkovich from Croatia who had bow #1. We were racing the clock, but he had the luxury of not having to pass anyone. Starting back in the pack meant that I would have to navigate around plenty of slower boats starting in front of me to avoid colliding. I would eventually pass 20 boats with only a few minor collisions with other rowers during the race. Being used to head racing (long distance 3 mile racing) and understanding how to manipulate river currents to my benefit from my many years of training on the Schuylkill River, I was fortunate to achieve a result of 23rd place out of 600+ competitors in the overall category with a time just under 43 minutes, finishing in front of a few World Championship medalists and Olympians!
This result provides me motivation going into the winter training months, as well as perspective and the understanding that there is still a lot of work to be done and a lot of water to be rowed until my eventual goal – to represent Puerto Rico while competing at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.