Athlete: Nick Maodush-Pitzer ’15
President of the Grand Valley Rowing Club
Home Town: Grand Rapids, MI
Major: Elementary Eduation and Mathematics
Another year, another expertly conducted Spring Break training trip by the Laker Navy, and my final training trip, being an outgoing senior. Thanks to the support of our parents, donors, advisors, friends, our hosts at The Barrymore Hotel and The Stewards’ Rowing Foundation in Tampa, and especially our coaches, Grand Valley Rowing heads home after a successful round of scrimmaging with Georgia Tech on the Chattahoochee River today having spent the previous week skilling, drilling, and racing our way through our initiation into the Spring 2015 season. After spending the last three-and-a-half months training exclusively indoors (save for the weeklong Winter Training Trip), the Laker Navy had been itching to smell the salty air of the Tampa Bay and hear the splashes of the water, clicking of the oarlocks, squeaking of the seats’ wheels, and the “loud coaching” from Coach B that only the experience of being in real boats, on real water can provide.
As expected, our first few rows of the week could be categorized as rough, as we eased back into the motions of real rowing that cannot be simulated on an erg, such as reaching around the pin on the oarlock at the catch, leaning out into the rigger throughout the stroke, and feathering the blades in unison. Almost eight years after my first ever strokes in a boat, these are all things that still need time and repetitions to work on and perfect, and what a better place to do that than the Hillsborough River in the sunny city of Tampa? As the week progressed and we did our usual mixture of long steady state rows, technical drills, and speed work, there is a uniform feeling around the team that this was, in fact, the most productive spring training trip we have ever been on. Beyond what we gained and oarsmen and oarswomen, there is the added sense of sportsmanship and team bonding that occurred this week, as an intense week of training does wonders to build cohesiveness, camaraderie, and a feeling of trust between the remaining athletes of this team with a common goal of creating an armada of FAST boats. As a senior and team President, being able to witness that development first-hand provides me with the belief that this team will succeed not only this Spring, but for many Fall and Spring seasons to come.
One ubiquitous part of retrograde analysis of any training regimen is the realization and rationalizing of the successes mixed with the frustrations of the process at hand. No practice is universally “perfect” in every way; there will always be strokes where blades are dragging on the water, strokes may feel a bit rushed, or the run just is not as long as you’d like. Inevitably, these glitches serve to frustrate us in the middle of a practice when we are all trying to row each stroke as perfect as possible. However, as Coach B has said, the beauty of our sport is that, yes, we are all bound to make mistakes in this sport, but we have thousands of strokes in a practice and hundreds of strokes in a race to work on fixing those mistakes. ask ira . At the end of the day, we all want to step onto the docks feeling like we have improved individually and as a boat from the previous practice. To steal a line from The Other Wes Moore, “It’s not always the process you should focus on; it’s the joy you will feel after you go through the process.” So as we look back on this week, I think we can all return home feeling that, while each boat still has its kinks to work out, we have all made major progress in a short span of time, and realize that we still have three months to identify and correct those kinks, thanks to the dedicated nature of our athletes and the expert advice of our coaching staff.
To everyone reading these blogs and following the progress of the Laker Navy, thank you for everything you do for the team. We take a high level of pride in being able to produce for you the updates on our training, with the purpose of building your confidence in us and what we do. Through blogging we hope that you feel as integral to the team as the individuals that we physically surround ourselves with every day, and can trust, just as we do, that we can live up to our reputation as Giant Killers within the rowing community, and produce another successful Spring racing season. And, as always, Pull for the Laker Navy.