Athlete: Costas Ciungan
Major: Legal Studies
Hometown: Grosse Ile, MI
Today was the final day of spring break for the Laker Navy and after completing a fantastic week of milage and technical training, the Lakers had the opportunity to execute their training. The team departed for the morning practice around 7:00 AM. Today would be the warmest day of the trip and what a final day it would be. The varsity went out for a pre-race row, working on quickness at both ends of the stoke; one inch to one inch. Additionally, the varsity squad practiced a couple starts, took a couple tens, and rowed steady state. After two passes through the course, the team headed in to de-rig a couple boats and after made one final trip back to the hotel to check out. The varsity team would race the University of Louisville varsity women in the afternoon row, coached by Alumna and Olympian Sara Zelenka ’09 and former Coach and Alumni Mark Mcllduff.
In the afternoon row, the varsity raced several 1250 meter pieces against the University of Louisville varsity women. The varsity men also seat raced in the afternoon row against the University of Louisville. Directly after the row, the men’s varsity 8+ rowed a one thousand meter time trial. Everyone went for it and the result was a fast and productive day of rowing for the entire varsity team. For myself, I was excited to race in the afternoon as it presented an opportunity to test my training and to go fast. In addition, it was a distinct honor and pleasure to be in the company of alumnae Sara Zelenka and former Coach Mark Mcllduff. The legacy these two individuals have left behind as former members of the Laker Navy remains alive today and is engrained in the culture that is Grand Valley Rowing.
Mark Mcllduff was an assistant coach and novice men’s coach under head coach John Bancheri and rowed for the Laker Navy in the Henley Royal Regatta in 2010. Alumna Sara Zelenka rowed in the olympics this past summer and not only represented team U.S.A. to her highest ability, but in addition the Laker Navy and Grand Valley State University. They left behind a winning culture inspired by Head Coach John Bancheri, they represent what rowing at Grand Valley can do for those who participate, are patient, and strive each day to reach the highest level that they can aspire both academically and athletically. Overall, this spring training trip has been very productive for the entire team; evident by rowers who perfected their technique one stroke at a time. The process continues for the Laker Navy because although the spring training trip is over, the spring season has just begun. Check grandvalleyrowing.com often for the latest news and results and as always – Keep Pulling for the Laker Navy!
Athlete: Kylen Pattermann
Hometown: Elburn, Illinois
After a long week of disappointing weather, with the high temperature rarely going above 45 or so and long sleeves a necessity, today’s weather was so welcome. It was warm and sunny and for once we were able to dispense with the layers and bask in the warmth. For the first time, today felt like spring break.
Of course, now myself and several others are paying for it with some wicked sunburns. As I type my hands, arms, and legs are still prickling and aching in protest. As unpleasant as it is, I remember the other bitterly cold rows, such as Tuesday night, when my feet were so cold and numb I walked over gravel barefoot and felt nothing. I would much rather have the sunburn.
Practice today was a culminating experience of everything we have accomplished this week. After a brief row this morning, my boat and I were feeling pretty confident about our pieces this afternoon. Our four would be racing with two other fours from Grand Valley and two from Louisville. The Varsity Women’s 8+ was racing Louisville’s 8’s and our men’s fours. The women’s crews did 5 pieces, each 1250 meters long. The pieces were roughly five minutes long, give or take depending on the boat, and the practice went by quickly (perhaps why I didn’t notice my skin slowly reddening…).
Despite the cold, and the fact that Tennessee is most definitely NOT Florida, there was so much good about this week (weather not included). We had terrific lunches provided by Tyler Sellmer’s parents everyday – everything from soup, chicken sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, sloppy joes, fruit, salad, delicious desserts, and more than enough to make sure that none of us went hungry. I think I ate better this week than I do at home most of the time. We had an excellent visiting coach, Josip, who joined our coaches to give us more valuable insight, especially welcome from someone who doesn’t watch us row everyday. Despite the sunburn, raw hands and sore muscles, I know I am going home with a jump on the start of spring season and some great technical advice to keep practicing in the upcoming weeks.
I can’t wait to start racing.
Athlete: Scott Thorbjornsen
Major: Allied Health Sciences
Hometown: Bangor, MI
The novice team got up at 6:00 AM this morning to complete several race pieces against the University of Pennsylvania . We started with a 1000 meter piece. Then we raced a a couple 250 meters pieces at least for the next three pieces. The University of Pennsylvania sat their top freshman crew, who competes with their varsity squad. Our boat stayed with them pretty well. The novice men actually beat UPENN a couple times. After the racing had concluded, we had some time to rest before we went on a long row in the afternoon. We did our racing in the morning and the varsity team did their race pieces in the afternoon. On the way up the river, we had some frustrating moments as the boat was offset several times. The way back to the docks was much smoother though emphasizing focus. All in all, this week was a good experience and I think every learned a lot and has a technical base to work from.
Athlete: Justin Ebert
Our fleet of vans is drawing a bit more attention than it did when it embarked for Tennessee. On top of the van in which I am riding, we have strapped a four and pair. It might seem strange that this is the case when Grand Valley has a 5-tier boat trailer, but it makes sense when considering that we are transporting nearly 30 boat shells, as well as all of our other equipment. I have been assured that carrying the boats on the roof of the van above me is both legal and safe. Also, upon certain requests, I am obliged to say that Chad Condon is a highly competent driver, and that Andrew Zwierzinski (Taco) is an equally fine driver’s assistant. Fortunately for the occupants of this van, both statements are true. As such, the rest of my comrades and I feel confident we shall arrive home unscathed and in due course.
So far, my fellow passengers and I have engaged in a number of collaborative activities. One of these has been discussing the degree of/feelings associated with our sunburn. While many of us regret our neglect to apply sunblock today, we can’t very well complain that our last day of Spring Break training was marked by clear skies, warm temperatures, and relatively flat water. Remembering that the week was dominated by morning temperatures in the 30’s and afternoons in the 40’s, today’s weather was a very pleasant way to finish off the week.
Other than discussing the damage we have allowed to be inflicted upon our epithelial tissue, some of us have started playing cards, watching movies, listening to music, texting friends in other parts of the caravan, or have even sleeping already. Given that we were up early, put in solid work on the water, and spent hours in the sun, the general air in the van is one of calmness as it becomes darker and we continue our trip homeward.
Athlete: Jordan Crendall
Major: International Relations
Hometown: Fremont MI
As I write this, I am curled up in the backseat of a 15 passenger van with pillows and blankets, duffel bags and water bottles strewn about. Our spring break trip is coming to a close and the occupants of my van are anxiously waiting for the next rest stop. This morning was our last morning practice and everyone was especially happy with the opportunity to put all of our hard work to the test with a scrimmage against Louisville’s Varsity Women. With perfect temperatures and sunshine, all GV crews took to the course and had a great morning row.
Once we come off the race course is when the real work begins as we have what seems to be the impossible task of loading the trailer. It never ceases to amaze me how we can fit that much equipment into that compact area, but somehow we do. Thanks Tyler for organizing and making the impossible possible!
I think we are driving somewhere in Kentucky right now, by the looks of the “Florence Y’all” water tower we just passed, I think I am right. Every couple of seconds, we hit another pothole and I get a couple seconds of airtime. Van rides are especially interesting, you put your patience to the test by confining yourself in a small space with 12 other people. You put your stomach to the test with Sun Chips and gas station hot dogs and you test your bladder because you do not really know when we are going to stop again. We are the strangest caravan you have ever seen. With three white vans, a truck and trailer, and then two vehicles hauling launches we are not exactly an ideal travel group. However we are bringing up the rear and we hope to be home by the early morning. It has been a great spring break and we are looking forward to the upcoming spring season!