Costas Ciungan ’15
Major: Legal Studies
Hometown: Grosse Ile, MI
Today was the final day of spring training for the Laker Navy, and after completing a fantastic week of mileage and technical training; the Lakers had the opportunity to execute their training. The Lakers had a regatta against Florida Institute of Technology and Jacksonville University. The team departed and checked out of their wonderful accommodations, Historic Dodgertown, Vero Beach, FL. around 7:30 AM. Today the conditions were sunny and slightly windy, but the winds died down throughout the morning. All in all, the weather and conditions were suited for rowing, which has been the weather for the entire week so far. Thank you rowing gods, but really thank you Florida.
The Laker Navy raced in the Keuper Cup at Canal 54, our spring training destination, to close up a great week of training. The regatta schedule of events can be found here. I rowed in the Men’s Varsity 8+ with Austin Burris, Robbie DeWeerd, Nate Biolchini, Ed Avena, David Blythe, Costas Ciungan (me), Spencer West, Justin Ebert, and coxswain: Kyle Barnhart (Stroke to Bow). Our team had been putting in a lot of hours and meters of rowing, technical training, seat racing, and small boats practice. What a week it has been, with the Keuper Cup as the Grand Finale.
All of the boats that raced today did well and learned something from their performance today. In sports it has been said time and time again, that it is not where you start, but where you end up. This week the Laker Navy departed on a journey. A journey into their spring season as they conclude their spring training trip. This trip, this week, and our first race are only the beginning, and where we go from here is in our hands – with lots of room for improvement.
Overall this spring training trip has been a great success and we owe it to all of our supporters, alumni, and donors who have given and continue to give to our program, our success is truly yours. Throughout this week I have seen athletes improve in Posture, Timing, Control, Balance, Bladework, and the development of touch as many had the opportunity to analyze their rowing and get individual coaching attention – including myself. I would like to thank guest coach Jim Raslavsky for coming out from Maine to be a part of our training trip this year!
This week the varsity was in Pairs, Fours, and Eights. In Pairs the Varsity did waggle drills working on elements of their stoke and coaching not only their own blade but their team mates as well. The Varsity also did long steady state rows with technical work built into each practice. What makes this trip so special is that we have the entire team together to train, bond, and help each other get faster. The result was a lot of of leaning, team bonding, and rowing.
The Coaching was yet another aspect that made this Spring Training Trip a success with five coaches who came to teach, correct, and help develop great technique and better rowers. Coach Bancheri was instrumental for having everyone start back at square one, focusing on posture and timing and how those aspects allow for the mastery of control and balance. We had on-land chalk talks where rowers demonstrated to each other different aspects of the stroke. Many athletes learned how each aspect builds upon the other. Additionally, Guest Coach Jim Raslavsky came and provided his insight, stories, and memories into the sport of rowing; including but not limited to training, technique, and sculling.
As for myself, I was happy to have the entire team together with a complete focus on rowing, bonding, and building team culture. We literally got a month’s worth of work done in one week. I know that many developed a sense of rhythm and touch as many novice and varsity rowers saw improvements in their rowing, especially after having been indoors for the last couple months.
This training trip was slightly different for me because I am the president of the rowing team and not the web manger – that posts all the blogs and pictures for the team during the trip. This year I only assisted the new web manager, David Blythe, who continues to do great work. In addition, this is my last spring training trip as a rower on the Grand Valley Rowing Club. I am so thankful as a senior to have rowed for four years, to participate in spring training, and to post the blogs; to share with all of our supporters and family of the many great endeavors, adventures, and lessons our athletes here at Grand Valley Rowing are learning in both rowing and about life.
Thank you to everyone who made it possible from our supporters, donors, coaches, and to especially our student-athletes. My team and I are thankful and are looking forward to the great spring season ahead. The Laker Navy is headed back to Grand Rapids, which has been experiencing a fierce winter with lots of snow and cold temps. We have not even been able to put our docks in yet, which is usually put in before we leave for spring training. Keep Pulling for the Laker Navy!
Jordan Crandell ’14
Major: International Relations
Hometown: Fremont, MI
Here I sit in a 15 passenger van headed north to Michigan after a great productive week of rowing on Canal 54 in Vero Beach Florida. The team made great improvements this week with our technique and speed work and I am confident everyone is prepared to attack our upcoming racing schedule.
After a week of two-a-days, technique rows, alligator hunting and lots of team bonding the Laker Navy got to test our speed with our first spring race at the Keuper Cup Regatta at C-54. Both men’s and women’s teams battled crews from FIT and Jacksonville University. This was exciting for the varsity to get back into the swing of spring racing and our novices got their first taste of how exhilarating flying down the course feels.
The men’s 1V had a respectable finish behind FIT while the 2V men’s crew had a tough battle and came in third. The novice men opened their first spring season with a close win in their event. The GVSU Lady Lakers commanded their events with open water wins by the 1V, 2V and 3V. This was a great way to kickoff our spring season and I am excited to see where the team is going to go in the coming weeks and months.
As a senior, I have begun winding down my career as a member of the Laker Navy and have been silently commemorating my “lasts”. My last fall regatta, last Tuesday HOP (I think) and last Wednesday workout (I hope) and this is my last spring break. It was a memorable one for sure. From the stay at Historic Dodgertown to our phenomenal guest coach, Coach Jim, I am confident that this was one of best spring breaks in my time here. The team really grew on the water and bonded off the water. I’m proud to say I played on a championship pick up volleyball team with fellow teammates Austin, Adam and Chris. Additionally, we were serenaded by the Novice Men poolside on our last night in Florida. Fun times were had by all and we continued several Laker Navy spring break traditions in the Spring Break Guide and handing out betting shirts.
Overall, this was a fantastic week of learning for us all and after we acclimate back to Michigan’s cozy temperatures- I can assure you that we will be focused on racing and becoming better crews. This spring break is just a stepping off point for the Laker Navy and I encourage you all to look at our racing schedule and if you have a free weekend or live in the area to please come out and cheer us on. We would not be the program we are without our faithful base of parents, advisors and alumni and we hope to make you all proud in the coming months!
Thank you to Historic Dodgertown, Compass Coach (And Doug!), Sebastian River Rowing, Indian River Rowing Club and Coach Jim for all you have done for us this week. We cannot thank you enough. So until next time- keep cheering for that Laker Navy! GV-SU!