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 Piediluco International Regatta in Italy In Will’s own words:
In February while I was training in Puerto Rico (I trained in Ponce, Puerto Rico throughout January and February to avoid a Philadelphia winter) I was able to sit down with my coach and the president of the rowing federation and plan out an aggressive and regatta filled 2017 racing schedule. We had decided on a training camp in Sarasota, Florida at the end of March, compete in the USA speed order in April, the Spanish championship and Holland Becker regatta in June, the World Cup in Lucerne, Canadian Henley in August and finally the World Rowing Championships in October. All of these regattas would essentially prepare me and give me racing experience for my ultimate 2017 goal which is to perform well at the 2017 World Rowing Championships in Sarasota Florida.
When I returned from my training in Puerto Rico in March I received a call from the PR rowing President advising me that Puerto Rico had been given an entry at the Piediluco regatta in Italy. I had originally declined the offer to race as I had planned on participating in a two-week training camp with my rowing club in Florida. After discussing the situation with my coach we decided it would be too big of an opportunity to pass up and that I could participate in the first week of the training camp in Florida and head directly to Rome from Orlando.
On March 25th I headed south to train in Florida. Because Florida will be the location of the next World Rowing Championships I did not want to miss the opportunity to get a feel for the climate. Because I had trained for two months in Puerto Rico I was already acclimated to the hot weather. While training in Florida we would sometimes train up to three times a day. The morning would consist of competitive style pieces where I had the opportunity to line up against strong USA scullers, after we would do an hour technique row and later we would return and do between 18 and 20km of long distance work. A majority of our training sessions were held on a canal near Melbourne, FL. I maintained this high volume schedule for a week, which was good preparation heading into my first international regatta of 2017.
I arrived in Italy on Wednesday April 5th. The racecourse was located in a small village two hours outside of Rome. Lago di Piediluco is a picturesque lake surrounded by mountains. I was lucky enough to be placed in a hotel with a view of the lake, walking distance from the course. The regatta official called the Memorial Paolo d’Aloja, International Regatta, is used by national teams to prepare for the upcoming world cup regattas. With that said you usually see some of the top talent in the world participate in the regatta. The regatta is set up slightly different than a normal international race. The distance is the standard 2k however there are only heats and finals. Normally in a major international regatta you will race heats, repechages, quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. Because the Memorial Paolo d’Aloja, International Regatta is compressed into one weekend there were heats on Friday, a final on Saturday, another heat Saturday afternoon and another final on Sunday. Essentially, there are two finals comprised into one regatta.
I had my first heat on Friday afternoon, I was randomly placed into heat number three of the men’s heavyweight single. In my heat I had, two rowers from the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and Ireland. Because there were a lot of entries for the Friday heat, to advance to the final I had to place in the top two spots. In tailwind conditions, I was able to stay competitive with the physically stronger rowers in my race but just missed out on making the A final by two seconds with a final time of 7:14. Which meant I did not move on to the Saturday final.
Although I did not advance to the A final on Saturday I had another chance at making the A final on Sunday with my Saturday afternoon heat. On Saturday I was randomly drawn into the first heat with Lithuania (who had just come off of winning the Saturday final), Italy, Ireland and UAE. In the heat I found myself down off the start. By the halfway point I was able to catch the third place rower from Ireland. With 500 meters to go I was still feeling good so I decided to sprint. I was able to bring my rate up to 42 strokes per minute and place second overall within a second of the winner, with an overall time of 7:08 a personal record for me and a 6 second improvement from my heat the previous day. This of course meant I would move onto the Sunday final.
On Sunday morning I raced the A final of the heavyweight single. In my final I had Lithuania, two rowers from Italy, Ireland, and Zimbabwe. For my previous heats I had tailwind conditions, which usually favor lighter more technical rowers like myself. Unfortunately, for the final the conditions changed to a light headwind which usually favor heavier stronger rowers. I had a strong start and was able to find myself in second place coming out of the first 500 by the 1000 meter meter mark I began to lose my position as a medal contender. With 500 meters to go I lost everything I had in the tank and slipped back into 5th place behind Italy.
Although I was not able to come away with a medal the experience was overall positive and I was able to set a new on water personal record. I also know that I am within striking distance of some of the world’s top rowers while representing Puerto Rico.