Archive for February, 2011

Michiel Bartman to serve as Grand Marshall at Lubbers Cup and ‘Speciale gast’ speaker at Annual Spring Banquet

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Head Coach Michiel Bartman

Michiel Bartman started coaching the elite squad at Vesper Boat Club when he
retired in 2004 from a very successful rowing career for the Netherlands
with three Olympic medals and three Worlds medals in sweep and sculling.
Starting at Vesper with only a couple rowers he has rebuild it into a strong
team which has now 25 rowers (men & women, light & heavy). His squad won
numerous national and Canadian Henley titles, but also he qualified almost
every year one or two crews for the World Championships with as one of the
highlights a bronze medal with a complete Vesper crew in 2008 and a former
squad member who won Olympic Gold. His rowers who got selected for the
national team have won medals at World Cups, World Championships and Olympic

Vesper Boat Club¹s mission is to offer the rowers a competitive environment
to reach their potential either with the year round program or the
collegiate summer program. Within that environment Michiel¹s teaches the
rowers to be versatile and independent. By training mainly in small boats he
wants to create skill and boat feel so that the rower can handle any given
situation. He works with the athlete to optimize his/her performance on and
off the water.

Off the water Michiel enjoys his family live with his wife and their 10
months old daughter and he is a sales representative for Resolute Racing
Shells in New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania.

Michiel Bartman (three-seat, third from right) at the medal stand in Athens 1996 where he won gold in the Holland Acht

Michiel Bartman (in three seat) rowing in the eight at the Athens Olympics, 1996.

Michiel Bartman celebrating after winning silver in the eight at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Four Grand Valley Crew Members Compete in C.R.A.S.H.-B. Sprints

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Participants in the C.R.A.S.H.-B. Sprints: World Indoor Rowing Championships 2011. (left to right) Carey Mankins (So.), Jacob Bouwman (So.), Robert DeWeerd (So.), and Leslie Mayville (Sr.)

Winter training is usually a time of long, hard, continuous practices in preparation for the spring racing season, but for four Grand Valley athletes competition came early on February 20th in the form of the C.R.A.S.H.-B. Sprints: World Indoor Rowing Championships.

Heavyweights Jacob Bouwman (So.) and Carey Mankins (So.), and lightweights Robert DeWeerd (So.) and Leslie Mayville (Sr.) made the long drive to Boston, Mass. to represent Grand Valley Rowing at the indoor competition in which athletes perform a 2000 meter race on the ergometer. C.R.A.S.H.-B. Sprints is an international event that brings some of the best rowers from all over the world to compete, so making the trip is an important opportunity to represent the rowers and the program alike.

All of the rowers competed exceptionally and came away with some great finishes. Mankins and Mayville both had top 20 finishes in their respective races, while Bouwman and DeWeerd both notched top 50 finishes in the men’s categories.

Individual results were as follows: Carey Mankins placed 14th in the Open Heavyweight Women category with a time of 7:07.7; Leslie Mayville placed 19th in the Open Lightweight Women category in 7:40.3; Jacob Bouwman placed 40th in the Open Heavyweight Men race in 6:15.5; and Robert DeWeerd finished 43rd in the Open Lightweight Men category with a time of 6:36.6.

All of the athletes that were chosen to go expressed how special they felt to be able to represent the team in such an important way.

“The competition was really intense, but it was exciting to be around so many fast athletes from all over the world,” DeWeerd said. As a sophomore, this was his first time competing in C.R.A.S.H.-B’s, and he felt privileged to be representing the team at such a high level.

Mayville, who has had the opportunity to attend the competition twice over her four years of rowing, also voiced her appreciation, “Not everyone gets to compete in situations like these, so it was a big honor to get to go again, and it’s definitely a great experience.”

“It was one of the best experiences in my life,” Bouwman said, “I was proud to be chosen to represent Grand Valley.”

Although the program could only send four competitors, Sunday was a team effort from home with many members watching the races unfold live on the C.R.A.S.H.-B. website. Next up for Grand Valley crew is finishing up the next two weeks of indoor practices and then taking the whole team down to Sarasota, Florida to begin spring training and the 2011 sprint racing season.

Winners of the Paul Springer Scholarship Announced!

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

In 2010, GVSU rowing alumnus, James Muir (1978-‘79) established a rowing scholarship to honor his former crew coach, Paul Springer (1970-‘82).  It was his intent to provide the same benefits of the rowing experience that he enjoyed to current and future Grand Valley student/athletes.  He has now extended the challenge to other alumni and friends of the GVSU rowing program to promote and support this scholarship in order that it may be a lasting legacy. While the unique niche is rowing, the Paul Springer Crew Scholarship will be a commitment beyond just Crew, to University and Community as well – supporting athletes, like James Muir, who go on to bring dedication to their workplace and service within and beyond it.

The winners of the Coach Paul Springer Rowing Scholarship are:

Kelsey Arnold
Leslie Mayville
Katie Phelan
Brendan Sawyer

Marco Benedetti

Justin Wegner

In four years, many things can happen in the life of any one person. Academically, a young student grows from a high school freshman to earn their diploma. Over the next four years that graduate matures into an independent young adult and has the opportunity to earn a college degree. There are many opportunities to grow throughout our academic career, and the choices we make ultimately shape the color and character of our lives.

At Grand Valley, every student has the opportunity to become part of a great athletic tradition, Rowing.  Regardless of his or her prior experience, physical stature, or socioeconomic background, there is one thing that determines the level of success in our sport- the ability to work hard and be a contributing member of a group.

The benefit of being a member of the rowing team goes far beyond an increased level of fitness. Long after the races are over, after the sweat dries, and the last races are recorded, there remains an internal change that is unique to college athletics. It is the simple paradigm that the things we want in life can be attained through hard work and focused, directed efforts. It is the knowledge that life is a balance; port and starboard, physical and mental, and a balance of priorities. It is the confidence in knowing that hardships are unavoidable, but you can always weather the storm by bringing your focus to the task at hand, and sharing the trust of those around you.

Our mission statement says it all: “Grand Valley Rowing 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.” The Paul Springer Scholarship is a performance based award that enables the most dedicated and talented athletes to be rewarded for their role in helping GVSU Rowing fulfill its mission statement.

We have some of the most dedicated student-athletes who, in order to pay team dues that cost over $1,000 per year, take part in our Rent-A-Rower program that involves various labor-intensive jobs. Many athletes use this community-minded opportunity to pay off their participation and travel costs. They clean up the football stadium after the University is done cheering on its football team. During the winter, they shovel snow in the entrances of academic buildings at 5am. They rake the leaves and clean the gutters for your neighbors, your coworkers and acquaintances.

Collegiate rowing may last only four years, yet the impact it has on the lives of our student athletes is permanent. The Paul Springer Scholarship helps us show that we as a Team, a University and a Community support the athletes that are willing to commit and invest more than others think is wise or safe, in themselves and those around them.

Congratulations to this year’s winners. We look forward to rewarding more dedicated student-athletes in the future.

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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