Day One- Saturday, March 1, 2014
Posted on Sunday, March 2nd, 2014 at 12:53 am

Checking Boats

David Blythe ’16
Major: Accounting/MIS
Hometown: Canton, MI

This years spring Break travel took quite a bit longer than last years to Oak Ridge, Tennessee but it was well worth the extra time now that we have arrived in Palm Bay. The trip down essentially consisted of 4 movies, 2 rest stops, and a whole lot of Pokemon. Rowing in the Florida weather was a welcome change from the snowy Michigan we came from too, thankfully I didn’t get sunburn at all today.

Today we experienced out first long steady state row of the spring. During our 3 hour long row we made it to both ends of the canal and were able to get all of it in before dark. The row consisted of lots of technical work as well as shaking off the cob webs from the long winter season. First, we started by rowing by fours, then sixes in the 8+ shells. Overall it was a very productive first day on Canal 54 for the Laker Navy.

Following the row the team went to the Indian River Mall Food Court for a team dinner of sorts. Most of the dinner’s consisted of chick-fil-a or subway.After we all got our fill of fried chicken and sandwiches we headed to our wonderful accommodations: historic dodger-town to check into our rooms. After we got settled with the rooms we got together for a team meeting and then got ready to sleep to prepare for all of the rowing that tomorrow has in store for us. Overall it was a very productive first day on Canal 54 for the Laker Navy and everyone is excited to see what the rest of the week has in store for us.


Carley Jensen ’16
Major: Criminal Justice
Hometown: Goodrich, MI

Part 1: The Journey to Palm Bay
Oh, Grand Valley Rowing bus rides… cankles are forming, snapchats and tweets are being sent, and complaints about the minimal leg room are being said. This 26 hour trip actually seemed to go by pretty quickly though in my opinion. We watched a couple of movies, laughed about ridiculous things, and a lot of naps were being taken. During the trip we were asked to look over the training plan for the week. Some people were even asking each other possible quiz questions that Coach B could ask us; man, we sure are a studious bunch! As we got closer to the launch site, everyone began to get antsy about the week and the long awaited ‘Darth Vader Row.’

Part 2: The First Time Out in Canal 54
When the bus pulled in, everyone filed out and made their way to the boats and of course, the restrooms. Each year the team starts off spring training trip with what Coach B calls the ‘Darth Vader Row’ which is a 30k row by 6’s to work on form and technique. The women’s varsity team went down the canal in two 8’s for half of practice with Coach B and his brother, Joe and worked on some outside hand only drills, wide grip drills, pause drills, and bucket drills. We then traded coaches with the Men’s team and worked on some slide drills focusing on our quads with Coach Alyssa and guest coach, Jim. We ended practice with an extremely competitive battle paddle and later found out that a couple alligators were spotted by the Men’s team on their row!

After practice, Doug, the world’s best bus driver, took the team to the mall so we could grab a bite to eat at the food court before the team meeting. Everyone dispersed throughout the food court and Chick-fil-A appeared to be the crowd favorite! When we finished dinner we came back to the famous Historical Dodgertown Sports Training Facility and went to our rooms to clean up. It is a great place and we are very lucky to have the opportunity to stay here during our intense week of training ahead of us. Although it is only the first day, and the rowing will be tough, I am looking forward to a great week with the Laker Navy or in other words, my best friends. Yeah SB 2014!

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