Celebrating - Sophie Style

Sophie's way of getting back at those of us who tricked her into 'abandoning her' at RedFin Blues during Wednesday night's practice. More photos over at the Team Flickr account.
Thanks to Carolyn N for the great shots :)

UPDATE: Tryouts Rescheduled for Sunday @ Fox Chapel

Thanks very much to everyone who volunteered for the Friday afternoon paddle. Due to a change in Ellen Law's schedule, she's holding the GM women's tryout on this coming Sunday morning (June 3). The paddle-test in the boat, which needs 10 paddlers, will be at 8:30, just before the Team Pittsburgh practice at the Fox Chapel Marina. If you are coming to that practice and would be willing to come a half-hour early for a short paddle, please email Stefani!


Tryouts this Friday, June 1, at Millvale

This is two requests: first, for anyone who would like to try out, and second, for anyone who would be willing to come down for a short paddle to assist in the tryout.

Tryouts for the USA Grand Masters Women's team will be held this Friday at the TRRA Millvale Boathouse. Any women in the 50+ category are invited to try out. It will qualify you for the World Cup races September 17-23 in Sydney. Tryouts consist of 1000K, 500K, and 200K on rowing erg (3pm - 5pm) and an on-water dragon boat paddle (5pm - 6pm). Ellen Law (team coach) will conduct the test. Testing fee is waived.

To do the in-water tryout, Ellen would like a boat with 10 paddlers and steersperson, in addition to anyone trying out. This allows her to see how the trying-out individuals do in a boat. If you are not interested or eligible to try out, would you consider coming down at 5 or 5:30 this Friday to go out in the boat? It's probably not more than 20-30 minutes (unless everybody wants to go for a nice paddle!). As a trying-out person, who would very much appreciate your volunteering, Stefani would like to invite everyone to Redfin Blues for a few drinks afterwards.

Please email Stefani directly or see her at practice Wednesday to let her know either about paddling or trying out.



Look at those paddle angles! (in the silhouetted boat...)

and the finish that was just too close to call...

all of which led up to a very well deserved:


Attention Please....!

Sitting Ready...


Look to your left.
(good timing!)

Hopefully you'll notice the new, bright and shiny Team Calendar over there - displaying all upcoming P'fish practices/races/events etc.

Now take it away...

(great timing!!!)


Happy Birthday Dr. Sophie!

It's your birthday, and you can cry if you want to...But you really Shouldn't, Sophie, because we all think you're wonderful!
Happy Birthday!


Scrumptious Scrimmage

This season's first scrimmage with Steel City will take place at Monday's practice... which just so happens to be Memorial Day, so of course a cookout is in order.

Ben has volunteered to bring burgers & buns. Please bring a beverage, side dish, or dessert to share.

(If you want to bring more main-dishy stuff, let Ben know.)

Election Results: Paddlefish Interim Coaching Leader

Laurie Butler has accepted the PICL position. Hearty paddle cheers to Laurie and her fellow nominees for their willingness to help with our coaching transition. You have our full support and gratitude.



6:30pm Memorial Day - Mon May 28 at Millvale - with BBQ - Mixed boats, Jr boat

tues June 19 @ FCM - Mixed boat, Jr boat, Ithaca boat

wed July 25 @ TRRA - Mixed boat, Jr boat, NYC boat

thur Aug 23 @ FCM - Mixed boat, Jr boat, Toronto boat

sat Sept 22 @ South Side


Welcome Home, DC Women!

Hope everyone has arrived safely home in Pittsburgh! Thank you for two unforgettable days in DC. I'm proud to be a Paddlefish!

Watch this space for more photos and tales of adventure...


Women's boat victorious!

Congratulations and huge paddle cheers to our ladies, who have just won the 250 m races in DC.

Hooya! you guys rock :)

pictures of the victorious ones to follow, I'm sure...


Nominations for Interim Coach

Three people have been nominated to serve as Interim Coaching Leader. Each has confirmed that he or she is interested in serving; each understands that he or she may name assistants to help carry out the responsibilites outlined below.

( ) Laurie Butler
( ) Kate Northway
( ) Bob Robinson-Dassel

Huge (like, whoppingly large and enormous) paddle cheers to all three Pfish for being willing to serve.

NOTE: Elections will be held at practice on Monday. If you cannot be at practice, you can vote by email (pghpfish@gmail.com) before 9 AM on Tuesday. Name of the interim will be released Wednesday.

Responsibilities of the interim coach and of the team are stated below.

The Interim Coaching Leader will:

  • Run practices smoothly and efficiently,
  • Continue to foster camaraderie and respect for the efforts of everyone on the team,
  • Keep our training on course with the help of a training schedule developed by Ben, and
  • Help us to continue to improve our paddling and prepare effectively for racing.

Commitment from the Team:

The team shall agree to follow the Interim Coach’s direction. Questions and feedback regarding decisions are to be raised separately and directly with Interim Coach. The team also agrees to stay focused on team goals of improved performance and camaraderie throughout this interim period.


1. Work closely with Bob Dassel in his present role as Paddlefish Captain,

2. Serve on the Paddlefish Steering Committee during this interim period,

3. Manage at least two practices/week, assigning practice-oversight responsibility to someone else on the team when not able to attend a practice,

4. Recognize that he or she will be looked to for ensuring team compliance with Three Rivers Rowing Association safety regulations, with the understanding that all TRRA members (and therefore all Pfish) are expected to be familiar with the TRRA safety regulations,

5. To the extent feasible, periodically (approximately once/month) arrange for video of practices and then review video with team (and, as needed, individuals) for general feedback,

6. Work in cooperation with any external consultant brought in for technique training during this period, helping the team to incorporate that person’s suggestions and direction in subsequent practices and race-planning,

7. Determine seating, drumming, and steering for races, doing so with input from Paddlefish Captain, with decisions to be communicated to the team at least two weeks prior to the race event,

8. Serve as needed as team’s point person at local and ‘travel’ competitions (i.e. may be asked to serve as key communication point between race organizers and team on race day).


1. Strong communication skills, positive and respectful attitude,

2. High level of comfort managing diverse group of adults, and

3. Paddling and racing experience


May 26: Open Paddle, Time Trials, Early Start

Saturday, May 26 is our next open paddle. Lori is coordinating the food for the open paddle; please let her know what you're planning to bring.

The open paddle will begin at 9:00 AM.
Our regular practice (paddle erg time trials) will begin at
8:00 AM.

Ben would like to get new paddle erg times for everyone, regardless of whether you're planning to go to Ithaca or not.

If you're unable to make it to practice on May 26, you can make arrangements with Ben to do your trial earlier in the week, at the Monday or Wednesday practice.


Great Outdoors Week

Did you know that the Great Outdoors Week starts this Friday?

It's a week long celebration of Western Pennsylvania's wonderful environment and outdoor opportunities, hosted by Sustainable Pittsburgh. And Paddlefish will be participating by association at:
- Venture Outdoors Festival (this Saturday, 5/19)
- Open Paddle (a week on Saturday, 5/26)
- TRRA Learn to row & paddle day (also on 5/26, in conjunction with our Open Paddle)

It's also National Bike to Work Day this Friday (5/18, so get on your bikes if you can!), where the rumor is that there'll be free breakfasts around the city... see, I knew that would get you guys motivated ;)

And, of course, our women-folk are participating in the ultimate celebration of the outdoors, a dragon boat festival! Good luck in DC ladies :)


DC Advice?

The DC Dragon Boat Festival has a special place in Paddlefish history -- it was the team's first non-Pittsburgh race, waaay back in 2004. Check out the team photo from DC that year:

Now that the 2007 DC Festival is less than 10 days away, I'm seeking advice from any Paddlefish who have been to this festival before.* We now know that the boats are much heavier than ours. Anything else we should know before we get there? General advice for travel races would be great, too, it doesn't have to be DC-specific.

Post any tips here as comments! Your pearls o' wisdom are greatly appreciated.

*In the interest of full disclosure: this post is selfishly motivated -- DC will be my first travel race, and I need all the help I can get!

Thanks for a Fun Lunch Break!

What a perfect day to slip out of the office for an hour or so for a little paddling and a little pizza with friends (old friends, new friends, 'friends' we generally just see on the news....)! Thanks very much to everyone who came down to help with this event.


A Weighty Question about the DC Festival

A question came up in the boat yesterday regarding the DC Festival, and whether those boats are heavier than ours. According to the DC Festival's web site, the dragon boats are 1,500 pounds. Anybody know how much the TRRA boats weigh?

I'm just impressed by the fact that the DC boats are color coded on the inside -- so paddlers can tell which boat they're in without leaning out to look!


Two Coots and a Beaver

No, this isn't the beginning of a "someone walks into a bar" joke. It's just a summary of the wildlife highlights of this evening's paddle.

Lori is gradually turning all of us into birdwatchers. :)


May Workout Schedule Available

See the link under "Training Information" in the sidebar, or click here.


Mid-Day Paddle & Pizza, Anyone?

We're looking for some paddlers for a photo op next Wednesday, 11 AM at the South Side boat launching site in Riverfront Park. The boat will be down there already, and we've got a drummer and steerer lined up (Jack and me), but need some folks willing to paddle and have their picture taken by local media.

TRRA will spring for some pizza for lunch after the paddle!

Please let me know if you can make this. I know it's hard since it's in the middle of the work day, but it would be great to have at least a dozen of us to help make the boat look good.


REMINDER: Team Meeting, Saturday May 5

There is an all-team meeting scheduled for Saturday, May 5 after practice, at the Millvale Training Facility.

Please be ready to begin the meeting promptly after practice. A light breakfast will be provided by your steering committee (coffee/tea, juice, bagels, fruit). Feel free to bring something additional to share, but don't feel obligated. Your presence is the most important element of this meeting.

The main purpose of this meeting is to discuss the results of the surveys in which you've all so patiently participated. An agenda will be circulated in the weekly e-mail update this Friday.

If you have any specific requests for agenda items, please e-mail them to me by Thursday, or let me know at Wednesday's practice.

Pictures from the Retreat!

It was an active weekend, full of paddling...


creative hairstyling...

and, of course, marshmallow toasting...

See more photos from the retreat at our Flickr pool: