Made in South Africa

In The Crew We Trust

Posted on June 17 2017

 Lawrence Brittain Olympic Rower

DeadReck athlete Lawrence Brittain talks about what "In The Crew We Trust" means to him. Lawrence is an Olympic Rower and motivational speaker. After battling cancer he worked his way back to the top to take a silver medal at the Rio Olympics with crew mate Shaun Keeling.

In The Crew We Trust

The year after the Olympics is always a bit of a shake up. The team often has to recover after many of the Old Dogs retire and then settle back into routine as the quest for the next Olympic cycle take over.

For myself there were some big changes to come. Shaun Keeling (DeadReck Athlete) who had been the other half of my crew at the Rio Olympics had decided to call it a day. He was 3 years older than me and was keen to get going in the business world. I understood this but it wasn't for me. I have had a taste of the Glory of the Olympics with our Silver Medal but it has only made me want the Gold that much more.

Moving forward the obvious option was to trial the available heavyweights and come up with a new pair. We were Olympic silver Medalists in the pair and South Africa has many years of knowledge and understanding about the boat as well as athletes who have rowed many pairs. I have raced the Pair internationally for 8 years of my rowing career and was looking to go one step higher than Silver

We went into a selection battle, looking for the fastest pair combination and things started to get really heated with some cracker times on the clock, the season was really starting to look up.

 Rowing Selection


John Smith who raced last year in the Lightweight Double at Rio is 1.87m tall so for him to weigh in at 70kg is quite a mission. After Rio he made a decision to join the Heavyweight team were there are no weight restrictions and the ideal weight is over 90kg. He spent the offseason after Rio bulking up to his natural weight and build some heavyweight strength. With the training starting to pay off in the group and John coming on line we started to have a few crews showing some real speed in the heavyweight team.

Arriving at the water a few weeks ago to find that instead of the usual pair combinations going out to battle, the coaches have rigged up the four and want us to smash out some speed and see how it goes. After months of racing furiously against each other we were suddenly all in one boat working together, and it was awesome. Based on our speed and our potential a decision was soon made to go for the Four for the 2017 season and see where it takes us.

Currently our Four stands as follows:

Sitting in the Stroke seat is Jake Green, his majestic beard definitely making up for being the youngest in the crew. He is hard as nails and will make sure no one takes an inch from us without paying for it. We trust him to hold a killer rhythm for the guys behind him to do the work down the course.

John Smith sits in the three seat and his results and experience make up for his skinny legs and beardless chin. U23 world Champion, World Champion and World record holder in the Lightweight Men's Double, Two time Olympian and Olympic Gold medalist, enough said.

I (Lawrence Brittain) take up my spot in two seat. This is the slave seat of the boat. My role is to support the front two with quality rhythm, be technically on point and work like a dog, making sure no-one on the course is laying down more watts than me. Traditionally this seat always has the strongest member of the crew of the crew and we don’t want to break that tradition.

David “Noddy” Hunt sits in the boot, his role is to call the race plan and adjust it down the track if needs be, he is the technician of the crew bringing us together and making sure we are all working as one.

    In the Crew we Trust is a very fitting mantra for a rowing team and we often talk about the trust within the crew. Build the trust, earn the trust. The Four is a mean boat to row, it moves much faster than the Pair and the crew has to be on point to drive the boat on together. This is where the trust comes in, each seat in the boat has its own unique role and the better that person does his role the better the boat goes. In the race we are going flat out for just under 6 minutes, you are right on the limit, your lungs and muscles burning, you don't have time to worry about any of your crew mates you just have to trust. The trust is built in training when you are tired and on the edge you still have to deliver so that there will no doubt when everything is on the line.

    At the end of June we travel to the Henley Royal Regatta on the River Thames for our first taste of international racing and then from there it is off to Lucerne Switzerland for the last of the World Cup Series this is where we will really be able to test our metal.

    The Four is greater than the sum of its crew. It is not about being as strong as your weakest link, but more seeing how strong you can be when you all do something exactly together and commit. That is the strength of the crew.

    "In The Crew We Trust" by Lawrence Brittain


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    1 comment

    • Liande Engelbrecht: June 23, 2017

      Dear Lawrence and fellow crew members. You guys are awesome. I believe that you will get to the top. We are 100% behind you.

      Lawrence, I am particularly proud of you. We have met in your Gr 8 year and you inspire me on a daily basis. Good luck, young man xx


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