Day 8 – March 9th
Posted on Friday, March 9th, 2018 at 11:22 pm


Cass Bruins, Women’s Team Captain
Hometown: Colorado Springs, CO
Major: Exercise Science

Hello from Alcoa, Tennessee!
We have had quite the week so far training in all sorts of weather and water conditions. Luckily, today we woke up to a sunshiney, calm, flat water day and utilized it for what we call a “Darth Vader” row (30k+) for the morning’s practice. AND we got to sleep in an extra hour- whooo hoooo! This morning’s practice was definitely one for the books. While it was quite a long row, my boat got in so many good strokes and learned a lot about the run of the boat and how to perfect it. These longer rows my be challenging for the mind and body but they help the athletes really get a feel for the boat and how changing little aspects of technique can make a huge difference.

This afternoon we came back to the course a bit early to clean up and start loading the trailer fro our departure tomorrow. After everything was squared away we hit the water in a Women’s 8+, and Men’s 8+, and a Novice Men’s 8+ for a swing row. After some tech work we lined up for a few starts against each other. The women’s boat did amazing against the boys and I am very proud of how far we have come even just on this trip. These starts and 40 second pieces are some of my favorite workouts because we really get competitive and I personally excel in the length and power drills and the start sequences.

When we arrived back at the hotel after practice the team provided pizza, but myself and a few other women walked across the street to Ruby Tuesday for the unlimited salad bar because we just needed some greens in our lives today (and the peach tea there is delicious).

This week of training has been quite the roller coaster of sun, snow, racing, and drills but in the end, we are all getting much faster and improving our technique immensely, and I cannot wait to see how far we go in the spring season!

Until next time, y’all!

Rowing in the evening

Jacob Spiess
Hometown: Whitehouse, OH
Major: Exercise Science

The week is finally coming to a close as we round out what seems like a long camp. Today we rowed 20 miles in total in the morning as a closing to the testing and training throughout the week. In the afternoon, we went for a swing row to prepare us for the racing tomorrow against UNC. This week has been exciting as we get ready for what will be an exciting spring season and eventually a trip to Henley. Before that, however, we have to test what we’ve learned against UNC as they begin they’re spring break.

This week has been a mix of fun, hard work, and competition. With a steady mixture of seat racing, drills, and steady state we’re gearing up for the near future that is the sprint season. You can see the excitement on each rower’s face as they talk about how close we are to the spring races. Although we’re excited to get there, we know that a lot of prep and conditioning goes into those competitions and that starts here. Not only is it the drills and racing that works, it’s the team bonding, the jokes before practice, and the nights spent at dinner or playing games that make winners. That all starts at this camp, the unity formed through this camp is what will carry us through the final 500 at ACRA when we’re exhausted and at our limits and still down a seat.

I can honestly say that spring training has prepped us for UNC and has become a spring board for what will be a good season.

Novice Women

Faustine Sutton
Hometown: Memphis, TN
Major: Allied Health Sciences – Pre PA

Waking up an hour later this morning made for a great start to the day. We didn’t have a chalk talk this morning, so we went straight on the water when we got to the boathouse. We(the novice and some varsity women) were in an eight boat together. Dan laid out what we would be working on before we headed out in order to mentally prepare us for what needed to be fixed. He told us we need to focus on balance out of the catch, feathering away all at once, and not rushing up the slide. He also wanted to take every small thing we’ve worked on this week and put it all together with a long row.

Once on the water, it was a lot harder said than done to set the boat as an eight. We rowed continuously, alternating from 6’s to 8’s on the feather. The boat started off rough and unbalanced, but by the end of the first practice, our balance became better and we ended up getting more comfortable as an eight.

Our final practice of the day was short but helpful. We split into two fours, which helped us get more miles in and focus on what we learned during the week. I definitely noticed improvement in my technique, as well as my teammates’ technique, by the end of the day.

Picture of Dan and Coach Lauren with boats

Coach Dan Martin
Hometown: Arlington, Virginia

It’s an exciting Friday night in Alcoa, TN – I’m sitting in my hotel room, eating cold pizza and watching my Virginia Cavaliers advance to the ACC Tournament final. At the end of a long week of two-a-days, it’s about all I’m capable of doing; on the other hand I’m well aware that all our athletes are feeling even more drained. There’s no question that it’s been effort well-spent: every practice we’ve come off the water better than we were when we launched.

I’ve been working with a mixed group of athletes through the week, with the 2V women joining the novice squad for about half of our practices. We’ve been out in 4’s and 8’s (and on one memorable day, a mixed 6+ featuring our men’s double in the stern) and taking a ton of strokes by partial boats – with a heavy technical focus all week, having the extra stability has been crucial in our development. Along with the points that Coach B has emphasized in his morning chalk talks, our primary theme has been ‘doing our work in the water’. I like to joke that rowers are fundamentally lazy – 60% or more of our time in a race is spent on the recovery, very consciously not working – and as a result, we want to make sure that the effort we do put in goes directly towards making our boat move.

I’ve been very impressed with the progress the athletes in my group have made. They’re working on some fine details – a shift of a centimeter in finish height, for instance – but they’ve been locked-in and focused throughout the week. It’s been gratifying to see these athletes, even at the end of a hard week, bringing such a high level of attention to their craft each day. I’m looking forward to returning to our home on the Grand so we can build on the foundation we’ve established here.

The Grand Valley State University Rowing Club challenges its student-athletes to reach the highest level to which they aspire both academically and athletically, while continuing to build and sustain a nationally competitive intercollegiate rowing program.

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