The Grand Valley Rowing Team kicked of the 2007-08 season this past weekend by continuing the lost tradition of the Spring Lake Varsity Training Camp. In the past, Grand Valley crews were known to row to Ferrysburg, MI where they would spend a weekend training and bonding as a team. This year, the people of Veits Landing were kind enough to allow the club access to their beautiful facilities on the shores of Spring Lake.
Wind and rain Friday afternoon delayed the weekend’s activities, but that didn’t stop the Laker Navy from undertaking a 24-mile row to Spring Lake. The crew set out bright and early Saturday morning for their adventure down the Grand River in an eight, a quad, fours, and pairs. The trip took just shy of four hours, testing the crew’s strength and endurance early in the season.
In the afternoon, the coaches and some varsity athletes put on a learn-to-row clinic. This gave area citizens a chance to try out their sculling skills. After an on-land tutorial, the new rowers took out a quad and got a little practice on the water. Participants were very enthusiastic about the experience, and many said they would like to try the sport again.
After a second practice later that day, the team had the opportunity to relax and have fun. A barbeque hosted by the Steiginga family and swimming in the lake were highlights of the evening.
The weekend culminated with the First Annual Captain Frank E. Yates Regatta on Sunday morning. Originating from Spring Lake, Frank Yates was a nationally known sculler from the nineteenth century, winning the National Amateur Championship twice. Over 100 years later, the Lakers look to continue Yates’ tradition of excellence by naming their regatta in his honor.
The inter-squad event consisted of a series of sprint races in which three teams, each named after one of the Laker colors- blue, black, and white- competed in singles, pairs, and fours events. After regular racing, all teams were still in contention for first, so the regatta came down to the mixed four. In the end, the white team came out ahead, bringing their team to victory. The black team finished with a close second followed by the blue team in third.
The coaches decided they wanted to get in on the racing too, taking on any challengers in a short sprint race. The coaches proved they could still hang with the best of them as they managed to stay ahead of the competition.
The Grand Valley Rowing Team would like to send out a big thank you to everyone who helped make this successful weekend possible. They will now resume a regular practice schedule as they continue preparation for what could be one of their most promising seasons. Their first regatta will be Sunday, September 29 here in Grand Rapids where they will compete in the Grand River Challenge.