Winter Training Camp 2011 Coach’s Daily Blogs

Tyler Sellmer – Clear Horizons

January 6th

In the end, everything in life is a cycle of preparation and execution. Today the Grand Valley Rowing team had a lot of life to it. In the early hours of the morning, a vehicle was dispatched from Sarasota to drop people off at their AM flights in the Tampa airport. Later, but still early, the balance of the team departed Florida for the refuge of my family’s residence in Georgia. And throughout the day, my family and I were preparing for the team’s arrival.

As the team’s boatman I say my job is usually “to pack chaos into a nice neat bundle.” There are few better at this art than my mother, who had an enormous meal ready to heat for the rowers, in addition to the bedding and other materials required to sleep them for the night. The Vans arrived at 5pm and spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out and playing ultimate Frisbee in the park near our house. We then moved indoors where we ate dinner then visited and some watched a movie for the rest of the evening. We end the night with a briefing about what exactly will be expected the next morning.

Tomorrow, in the early AM, we will begin the next leg of the journey which will find us in Michigan at its end. This is a journey that I have made many many times. Both in a group and by myself, it is nothing more than “my drive home” so to speak. We will attempt to streamline this 14hour drive with delegated drivers, a concise schedule of stops, and good disciplined as far as following and stop timing are concerned.

Maritime tradition dictates that voyages, endeavors and the like be blessed with the simple statement “Clear Horizons” a phrase with connotations going far past the line of sight.

So hears to Clear Horizons for our Journey tomorrow.

End CommuniK

Tyler Sellmer
GVSU Boatman

The Coaches

Thirty-five rowers.
Four coxswains.
Three coaches.
Eight training days in Florida.

Three words: A Great Success.
Do you know what M²C stands for? Have you been paying attention? Have you figured it out yet?

Mileage Makes Champions.

In just eights days in Florida our athletes logged over a quarter of a million meters, bringing them that much closer to their winter break goal of one million meters. However, more impressive than the meters logged was that these 35 rowers and four coxswains gave up part of their winter vacation, precious time with their family and friends, because they are in a relentless pursuit of perfection. This attitude is obvious in their attentiveness during chalk talks, thoughtful questions and desire for feedback. Coach Bancheri felt that this was one of the most successful training camps that he has had in his entire coaching career.

This morning’s practice held the last chalk talk of the trip. We reviewed this weeks focuses: posture, timing, balance, control, and touch. These focuses are the foundation to our long technique rows. The water was some of the best we have seen since we arrived, and we took advantage of it. After a couple hours on the water we retreated to the beach for a “mandatory beach day” which included lots of volleyball, frisbee, and sea shell hunting.

Tonight’s practice was meant to work on 4:1 and 3:1 ratio rowing… but with a twist. A Bancheri twist. We now know why most of our athletes row- because they can’t throw. At least they can’t throw water balloons at moving targets. Plenty of water grenades were launched but few connected with success. However, when they did connect, it was hilarious! Coach Bancheri stood in his command tower, overlooking the “races” while the crews waited in anticipation for the call, “FREE FOR ALL!!” with which anarchy would ensue and all bets would be off.

This was a technical training vacation with the goal of raising each athlete’s level. Some of the greatest improvements were made by the novice women. Towards the end of the trip they really began to blend with the varsity rowers that were mixed into their boats. It was really great to watch and the coaches think they will only continue to raise their level and gain more boat speed if they build on the foundation they set this past week.

The rowers will be bringing a lot back to Michigan – oatmeal packets, peanut butter, left over meatballs, sun tans, sun burns, blisters, sore muscles and most importantly, increased technical rowing knowledge that they can apply to their winter ergometer training and help us hit the ground running when we return to Florida for spring break.

We would like to thank everyone that helped get our athletes down to Florida, as well as Kim Hyde for generously cooking delicious team meals. Generous alumni and donor support is extremely important and we thank you. Our success is yours. Go Lakers!

The Coaches
John Bancheri
Lisa Saladino
Kelsey Arnold

Coach John Bancheri

Coach Bancheri Teaching Athletes how to cook authentic Sicilian meat balls.

Coach John Bancheri

Coach Kelsey Arnold

Kelsey Arnold (1st year, Grand Valley ’11), Assistant Women’s Coach
Hometown: Hudsonville, MI
Most fun part of my job: Watching rowers develop not only themselves as athletes, but as young individuals
Food I cannot live without: Beans
Cat count: 4

As much as I liked rowing out of beautiful Fort Hamer and busy Naples, it was time to leave and make our way to good ‘ole Bentley’s Resort in Osprey, Sarasota. This familiar venue is our hotel of choice, providing a tiki bar, heated pool, and the opportunity to order a whopping 2lb burger with a side of stomachache.

The sky looked questionable as we pulled into the Historic Spanish Point – Sarasota Crew’s practice site. After rigging in a light rainfall we headed out on the water for another technical row, working on posture and timing. With the boats mixed with novice and varsity, the team was able to learn from each other as they watched one another do drills. This group is very young, so improvement is constant and expected.

The water tonight reminded me of the finals at the 2010 Dad Vail. High winds swept the boats towards shore and threw salt water into the shells which made for a difficult row. However, a look to the west shocked you with a beautiful pink and orange sherbet sunset. Sunsets are a whole new world when you experience one while floating on top of the water. I am looking forward to many more on this trip

Coach John Bancheri

The Coaches at Siesta Beach, Sarasota, FL

Coach John Bancheri

Coach John Bancheri is going on his 14th Semester at GVSU. By the way, that is the second longest tenure of a rowing coach at G.V.S.U to Coach Springer’s 10 years.

Home in Allendale, I live at the closest Condo to the Boathouse and the RTC. :-)
Favorite Sports: anything my sons Patrick and Salvatore Play and I love live football
Favorite Song: “Take Me To The River”, by the Talking Heads, is too obvious. Also in that category is “Sultans of Swing”, “I Want To Take You Higher”, and “No Way”
Favorite Song of all Time: “Wots uh the Deal” and anything performed well live.
Favorite Colors: Maize and Blue that fades in the distance.
Currently Reading: “Art of War”, By Sun Tzu
Master G.P.A. : 3.67

This is Costas Ciungan ’14 the editor of the Grand Valley Rowing Website with Coach Bancheri and we had a few questions we wanted to ask about the program.

Costas: Coach B, what is the most memorable part of the trip so far?
Coach B: Dude I just saw a Pink Cadillac in mint condition.

Costas: So coach, we have been at two different venues to row out of so far and we have yet to visit two more , Why do you like moving around so much?
Coach B: I am of Italian heritage. We enjoy exploring and at the same time I like taking our student athletes from the state of Michigan to new places that take them totally out of their comfort zone, while we get the chance to row on different bodies of water and even give Ryan Kasley ’12 a chance to shine in his hometown of Naples, FL.

Costas: What do you hope to accomplish on this Winter Training Camp?
Coach B: a lot of rowing. Oh yeah thats right, we are here to work on technique. I am enjoying taking the time to explain the stroke and its components in depth with our athletes. My Favorite part of practice is the 15 to 30 minute chalk talks before practice regarding the week and days focus. “A pound of preparation is worth a ton”.

Costas: What is one of the highlights you are looking forward to this week?
Coach B: Actually there are three: taking the boys to Busch Gardens in Tampa, rowing with “Minnie the Moocher” , and Maria Reichner’s Paella.

Costas: Over your 32 years of coaching you have made these types of trips many times so what are some of the differences over the years?
Coach B: I found over the years that if the Athletes get what they want than I get what I want. Last year we had our own version of the Bowl Season. This year I felt we all should go on a cruise, so I came up with the concept Crews/Cruise

Costas: How and why did you come up with the Theme Crews/Cruise?
Coach B: From 7 A.M. to 1 P.M. I am the admiral of the Laker Navy. I expect all our athletes and coaches to Listen, Learn, and Focus. After 1 P.M. I told the kids to consider themselves on a cruise ship, you have a pool, a beach, and a few excursions and as long as they happily comply, there will be no need for a “Shakedown Cruise”.

If you have any questions for Coach Bancheri in regards to this Winter Training Trip or future regattas feel free to contact me, The Editor of at

Coach Lisa Saladino

Lisa Saladino – (3rd year, Rochester ‘07), Varsity Assistant Coach
Height: 4’11 ¾’’
Personality Height: 7’2’’
Hometown: Utica, NY
Pet: Halo, an American Bulldog-Pitbull mix
Fort Hamer was a beautiful site to row out of the first two days of our trip. The team was able to log some meters and overall the group has already made some nice technical improvements.

Sunsets and sunrises are two of my favorite things. West Michigan has some of the best sunsets I have ever seen but the one we watched at Anna Maria Island was fantastic as well. It’s great to be in sunny Florida. Also among my favorite things are big fancy boats, champagne and classy parties. I got to see all three things during our New Year’s Eve Regatta in Naples last night. We added to the flare of the classy parties by providing them with some rowing entertainment as we raced back and forth, Yacht to sailboat. Our audience waved, cheered and asked us what school we attended. It was like the Henley Royal Regatta but in Florida and Grand Valley was the only team invited. I think my favorite part was when I convinced the police officer to start the race with his boat horn. Classic.

For dinner last yesterday Ryan Kasley’s mom, Tina Sentovich, along with Luanne and Bruce Sickles (Utica, NY shoutout!) provided the entire group with a wonderful dinner. It was great to have everyone together for a relaxed, fun evening that even included piano-playing and songs. We spent New Year’s day soaking up the sun on the beach and hanging out on the pier. It’s off to Sarasota tomorrow.

John Michael Bancheri – Head Coach GVSU Rowing Club (7th Year)

Height: 6’3″
Weight: Less than my Coach Boat
Coaching Specialty: Cooking Italian Food
Most Fun Part of My Job: Getting to Drive the Best Motor Boat
Most Appreciated Quote: Hey Admiral and Johnny Apple Seed of Rowing
My Mentors: Bob Garbutt, and the many mentors in my career
Costa’s Favorite Quote From Coach: “NOOOOOO”
Hometown: Delia, Sicly and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

There is a lot to report on this trip. Technically we are working on the same things when I fist started coaching, only now we have been able to refine and develop a great approach in producing technically competent rowers. Enough about rowing, the Alumni kicked in some great stuff. The Manatee County people/workers have been very supportive and have been a great help. The Palmetto High School coaches are great and make me want to come back every month. Well to tell you the truth it is really the weather at this time of the year but don’t tell Coachs Trish and John.

On to the great stuff, I assigned myself the duty to travel to Tampa International Airport to pick up Costas Ciungan ’14. On my way there and as I was driving along the Sunshine Skyway, there was something to my port side; I mean left side of my car. I saw the most beautiful sunset. Was it an omen or was it a beautiful sunset? Ahh who cares, after a few down the past weeks that sunset told me everything was going to be fine.

I was early at the airport and I pulled into the cell phone waiting lot. This was the Taj Mahal of cell phone lots. New pavement, an gigantic tote board for arriving flights, and a suggestion that you do not leave the lot until 25 minutes after the arrival of your party. It had fantastic bath rooms, vending machines, and do you believe this: wireless internet. Enjoying the time with my boys, coaching my team, and seeing how dark I can get in ten days.

Three Questions from the editor.

1. What was the first day like back on the water coach?

Three words, “Shake Down crews”

2. Who do you think will make the varsity boat?

Well I was thinking from bow to stern it would be Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and stroke will be Rudolf. If Dasher improves her technique at winter training camp then Dasher will be in the Varsity boat.

3. Will Minnie the Moocher be back from last Years Winter Training camp?

Well I can’t be certain, it all depends on the speed of the boat and the development of Touch. Minnie Loves fast boats, especially fast NEW boats. Typical Woman.

Coach B isms

1. NO Drill: “NO”, “NO”, “Almost”, “NO!”, “Fantastic”, “NO”
2. “If you stay at the dock any longer I will have to start
charging you rent.”
3. Difference between 1st and 2nd place = Want to or 1 2
4. the proving grounds = “Gold Mine”

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