About Mary Whipple

Photo of Mary Whipple


9th Seat is the brainchild of Mary Whipple, Olympic gold medalist coxswain of the US women’s eight. Here you’ll find informative blog posts, tips and tricks, and opportunities to learn from the best!

Welcome to The 9th Seat

Photo of Mary and the rest of the 2008 Lucerne World Cup Win

Hello Everyone. Thanks for checking out my website and my very first blog. I wanted to tell you all about my first series of Mwhip+ Coxswain Clinics that happened in February on the West Coast. The first was held in Seattle at the University of Washington. It was super fun to organize my first very own coxswain clinic. I’m also surprised on how fast four hours goes by.

The second Mwhip+ Coxswain Clinic was in Berkeley and hosted by the University of California’s Women’s Rowing Team. My sister, Sarah, was kind enough to help me host it and my mom and dad came over from Sac to listen to me. It was the first time my parents heard me cox because I shared some of my tapes. Hadn’t really prepared them for what they were about to hear. I’ve never heard my mom or dad swear and somehow there were a couple of inappropriate words on my recordings….ooops! Sorry mom and dad, sometimes your little girl lets some four-letter words come out.

Rose City Rowing in Portland hosted the third clinic and even though it was the smallest clinic in numbers it was the most interactive. There were a lot of great questions from the crowd.

I am really proud of what I presented in the clinic, there is so much material to cover that I strategically chose the most important and relative topics for winter training. I’m looking forward to producing race specific clinics for spring. I’m also super proud of creating this website. I’m looking forward to presenting my take on coxing and why the 9th seat in the eight is the best seat in the boat! (Don’t tell that to any of your rowers though;)

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Posted at Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 in: Featured, News

29 Responses to “Welcome to The 9th Seat”

  1. Just read the Topher interview in the Rowing News. Good luck in this endeavor! Gonna go another 4? I just cannot believe the demure Mary would even know the “F” word.

  2. anonymous says:

    It won’t let me submit any questions…. So I was wondering, when steering buoyed 2k courses, do you use really distant points or the buoys? It’s kinda hard to see that far…

  3. Lee Miller says:

    If you’re a demure person, a few well-placed expletives can wake a crew up because it really gets their attention.

  4. Yassmin says:

    Hey Mary, I hope you actually check these replies, but I was wondering if you could put up a schedule of your planned coxswain clinics in the future so that, if possible, other coxswains could maybe ask the hosting team to attend. My school has a very small team so I think I would get a lot more out of it to be with a bigger team, even if just for a few hours or if I have to drive a State away. Thanks! -Yaz

  5. Ken Rogers says:


    I would be greatly interested to have you contact me regarding a speaking appointment to the students here at Walla Walla University. If you would be so kind as to contact me to see if we could work on the details and arrangements, I would be thrilled.

    Thank you,
    Ken Rogers
    VP for Student Life and Mission

  6. natalie says:

    Hi Mary,
    I was just watching a show on Tv last night my dad had found for me. It was talking all about you, and your gold medal crew from the 2008 Olympics. I really loved it. It brought tears to my eyes. I am an alumni of UMass Amherst. I was part of the varisty rowing team while there, and was a cox. It was one of the most memorable times of my life, and I will charish it forever. I live in South Florida now, and maybe someday I will find myself back in the drivers seat (but unlikely). Although FL has some club teams, they dont have any programs with established 8 boats. However, I will NEVER forget my days on the river in my big old orange exposer suite. My senior year my boat and I won ECAC’s and our conf. title. I continue to follow the events of US Rowing and hope to see you in 2012. I will always love rowing, and wish you and your rowers all the best.

    • Mary Whipple says:

      Thanks for the kind words! The show you are referring to is the The Bud Greenspan documentary, Bud Greenspan Presents: Beijing 2008 America’s Olympic Glory. It was made for Showtime. It was pretty awesome especially when other rowers have that reactions. It’s not very often that reporters or producers get how being apart of a rowing team feels like and this documentary made you ‘get it.’

    • Brett Bozeman says:

      Mary, do you have any idea how to get a copy of the Greenspan documentary? I’ve been searching and searching. I haven’t seen it since 2009. It seems the production company folded after Bud passed away and Showtime Anytime has omitted it from their lineup.
      The piece about you and the team is unbelievably moving and I’d love to show it to my daughter.

  7. Natalie says:

    Thanks for your response. I enjoy visiting your web site. I was never involved with rowing till college, and as a walk-on I never could have imaged I would love it so much. I miss crew so very much, and will always charish many wonderful memories of being a coxswain, and part of a team of such wonderful young ladies.

  8. Dale S. says:


    I was traveling on business and happened to flip on the hotel TV and catch the showtime documentary. Incredibly moving (as a US servicemember, I loved the national anthem part with you all singing). As it turns out, a very good friend of mine was part of the Women’s National Championship 8 from Boston Univ. in 1991 and I have been raving about it to her. We went to college together and she married one of my best friends (who also crewed for BU Men). I wanted to get a copy for them both but can’t find it anywhere! Any help or idea or is it simply “watch it on showtime?”

    • Mary Whipple says:

      Hi Dale,

      Thank you for your kind words. I unfortunately don’t know how to get a copy of it. I have had many people ask about like yourself. I think Showtime owns it. Bud Greenspan has done many other Olympic documentaries and after doing a google search I haven’t found a way to purchase any. Sorry I couldn’t help.

  9. Cathe says:

    Just sent away to:

    Cappy Productions
    428 E 77th St Frnt 1
    New York, NY 10075-2363
    Phone: 212 249-7037
    Fax: 212 249-7585

    for a copy of the DVD.

  10. jilljan says:

    Hi Mary, I was at your cox clinic in Philly. Is it posible to get a copy of your race audio so I can practice things to say when racing. I am a novice coxswain

    • Mary Whipple says:

      I don’t give out my race tapes anymore. I had a bad experience with giving a couple tracks away when I was younger. I may be releasing some old tracks with a self critique. I want to show people how you can grow as a coxswain from listening to your tapes….stay tuned.

  11. MEAyers says:

    Do you have a schedule of coxswain clinics for the 2011 Summer?

    • Mary Whipple says:

      Hi Meg,

      I’m cutting back on my coxswain clinics until after August 2012, but look out after the summer of 2012 because the 9th Seat will be in full effect!

      Stay tuned…


  12. Lauren says:

    I’ve been rowing for a year, but I’m under 5’3″, and my erg scores have never been very good. I think I’m going to give coxing a shot, because our teams nov coxswain quit last fall, and I think it’s something I could be good at. But I’m worried I’ll miss being a rower. Could you give me some reasons you love coxing? :)

    • Mary Whipple says:

      I love coxing because my words can make boats faster. Plus it is a chance to be in the fastest boat when your physiology can’t get you there. Lastly, being a leader and deciding the best course of action to take and having it work is the best feeling in the world. I love that my decision making doesn’t let my teammates down. Thanks for asking this question. I haven’t thought about why I love coxing in a while. I always thought about why I love the sport of rowing and my team. 2013= Take nothing for granted.

  13. Katie says:

    Hi Mary,
    Are your coxing clinics only for highschool coxies? I joined rowing as a walk on last fall in college, and after a varsity coxswain quit, I was selected to move up to cox the varsity team. The varsity and novice relationship is a little rough due to seniority and experience differences, and it has been a tough transition. I am getting more comfortable around the girls now, but I still feel like they don’t think I know what I’m doing half of the time. Iv’e watched videos and read articles, but I would love to attend one of your clinics to get a better perspective and gain more experience and confidence in my coxing abilities.

  14. Patty says:

    I am a cox for a high school varsity 8 and in the 3rd boat. First boat cox has been there since freshman year. How do I ever move up to first or 2nd v-8?. I think I can do a better job if I had the better rowers but coach will not change what has worked in the past! Any advice patty

    • Mary Whipple says:

      Hi Patty. You are experiencing what many coxswains have to go through. I’m going to make this into a blog post this week so stay tuned. I’ll leave you with one tip: Be relentless and make any boat you are in faster.

  15. Amy (DeCoux) says:

    Hey Mary! Wow! Congratulations on all of your success as a coxswain and on your most amazing website (what a great resource). I still remember you motivating me to workout with the team while we were at Capital together… I feel so lucky to have trained with you!

  16. Olivia says:

    Hi Mary, your blog is fantastic!! Do you think you would ever come over to the UK to run some coxing courses? That would be so great!!

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  18. stuti potnuru says:

    i was wondering if you might be coming to Jacksonville, FL. Also I’m from Bolles and I think it would be great if you came over the summer to our boat house and taught us coxswains about the 9th seat.

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