Different strokes

When the coaches teamed Ed with Milo in the double scull, Ed, the shyest member of the squad, thought he’d have the chance to get to know Milo at last. He thought that, with a little luck, he and Milo could be more than friends.

But Milo was as aloof as ever, interested only in getting the most out their boat. The nationals were coming up and, after that, Olympic trials.

Ed thought they were coming along well. From the bow seat he could watch Milo’s smooth and powerful stroke. Milo was a magnificent rower but Ed wished he’d open up, even if just to help fine tune their technique.

Ed watched the strong, effortless sweep, the roll and snap of Milo’s broad shoulders, the exactness of each perfect pull of his oars.

Their times came down steadily at first, then plateaued. They’d need to find two seconds at least to challenge Pauley and French.

With three weeks before the titles Ed suggested the coaches swap the pairs’ positions in the boat. It was a radical idea—Milo had always been the stroke. But they gave it a go. The times started edging down again.

After they clocked the state record in training Milo turned to his new stroke. ‘Nice work, Ed. We’ve got ’em I reckon.’