Archive for January, 2017

Day 9 – January 5th

Thursday, January 5th, 2017


Zack Peters
Hometown: Royal Oak, MI
Major: Finance and Marketing
Today was the last day on the water for the Laker Navy. I have thoroughly
enjoyed my time in Clermont. The Clermont Boathouse coaching staff has been
amazing and the community really made us feel welcome.

This morning the weather was great, the sun was shining, and the water was glass. It was the perfect morning to end a fantastic week. We filled our boats with water balloons and went out for a fun regatta of competitive leapfrog by fours. Each time a boat was getting passed it was allowed to throw two water balloons at the boat. It created a fun atmosphere for everyone involved.

After we finished the leapfrog regatta it was on to some technical training and video. We worked on some basic drills before stopping in the corner of the lake for a dip in the lake. We got back in the boat and rowed back to Clermont Boathouse. On land we proceeded to load the trailer and prepare for our trip home tomorrow. Once preparations were made we relaxed at the Lake Minneola beach
until the sunset. My group then had dinner at Lilly on The Lake before heading home to pack up for the trip home. Thank you to all of the donors and families that made this week possible. It means a lot to our program and has better prepared us for the Spring.

Women jumping in

Shelby Nesbitt
Hometown: Commerce, MI
Major: Behavioral Neuroscience
Today marks our last day here in Clermont, FL and it was a fantastic day to end our trip. The Laker Navy started off the day with a 9am practice in the beautiful 70 degree sunny weather. We were put into two eights and two fours and told we were doing some leap frog, but with a bit of a twist. While leap frogging, the crews threw water balloons at each other! You could hit a coxswain, a rower sitting out or a rower who was rowing. Coach B even got a few hits in from the launch! It made the leap frogs a chaotic but very fun workout. But we still had to keep the focus to piece together everything we’ve learned and worked on this trip. After a few rounds of leap frog all the boats went for a nice steady state row with some drills included to fine tune and enhance our technique. Following our practice we had to de-rig the boats and load the trailer. Then Coach B gave the group one final break down speech to close out the trip and the rowers were given the afternoon to do what we pleased.

Myself and group of others decided to go to a local beach on Lake Minneola to soak up some last minute sunshine. We brought a frisbee and volleyball with us to pass around both in the water and on the beach. It was a great way to unwind from a long trip with my teammates. On our way back to the house, some of us stopped by a frozen yogurt shop to get some much needed frozen yogurt and it was delicious! Back at the house we all just relaxed on the couch to watch some T.V. before we started cleaning the house and packing our things.

All in all it’s been a long and fulfilling trip for the Laker Navy. We’ve learned, laughed and had a ton of fun in the sun. The city of Clermont has been so welcoming to us and the boathouse is a great facility to row out of. Being a 4th year rower this is my final winter training trip, but it’s been one heck of a trip and I’m excited to see what the spring has in store for the Laker Navy. Until then, it’s back to Allendale and the erg. Thank you to everyone who helped make this trip possible! Go Lakers!

Drew Vielbig
Hometown: Fowlerville, MI
Major: Marketing
What a great day it was. We awoke at 8 am to convene at the boathouse for our last practice of the trip. I was-and I assume everyone else was-incredibly sore and tight from an intense week of two and three-a-days. We couldn’t have asked for better weather today. Mid 70’s, sunny, and no wind; the water smooth as glass.

After a mile run, team stretches, and a quick group meeting, we took to the water in fours and eights. Today’s practice differed slightly from what we had become accustomed to in the past week. Each boat was given 20 water balloons in order to play a game that Coach B pulled out of his sleeve. The game was simple- leap frog between two boats, but each rower in the opposing boat was also a target, worth ten points. To fully grasp the spectacle that this game was, you have to imagine the lack of hand-eye coordination that only a rower may possess. Needless to say, we all had a pretty good time with it. We played this “leap frog water balloon toss” game for about an hour, which turned out to be quite the workout.

Next, we moved on to one-hand rowing drills, alternating between outside hand rowing while pointing at the blade, inside hand rowing while outside hand facing forward, and rowing on the half feather. After several rotations of this, it was time to cool off. We took a break in the far corner of the lake to jump in and relax. After nearly two hours of strenuous drills and rowing with the sun beating down, the cool lake was incredibly refreshing. We continued practice by rowing across the lake focusing on balance and maximizing propulsion per stroke. After working on this for around 20 minutes, we entered the final stretch of practice- a race back to the dock. First starting out at a max rate of 28, we quickly jumped up to a “whatever it takes to win” rate of around 38 strokes per minute. We concluded our final row with an exhausting and rewarding taste of what spring race season would be like. After loading the trailer we had a meaningful and heartfelt group discussion with Coach B. After several hours out on the water, we were exhausted, hungry, and most were burnt to a rosy pink.

The rest of our afternoon was spent on the beach at Lake Minneola with the majority of our team. As a whole, we couldn’t have asked for a better day to conclude such a productive week of rowing. Clermont is a beautiful and welcoming community with so much to offer. I’m thankful for the hospitable Lake County Boat House who housed us for the week. Personally, I can’t wait to return to Clermont and take advantage of all that this great town has to offer.

Day 8 – January 4th

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

Donald Jensen
Hometown: Grosse Il, MI
Major: Mechanical Engineering
This morning we started off the same way as the other by creating and devouring massive amounts of
food, especially milk, to prepare for the day ahead. We ran down to the boat house in the lovely Florida
weather and prepared our pairs for a technical practice. We were all very appreciative of this after the
past two days of going hard in eights and on the erg. We used the time to focus on improving our stroke
with an emphasis on the recovery. We did circle drills and pause drill to help us continue to strive for the
perfect stroke. Unfortunately while Coach Costas was going to help one of the pairs, his motor came free
of the boat and ended up in the bottom of the lake. So unfortunately this lead to practice being a little
more difficult without Coach Costas able to be with us. However it was still a very productive practice.

After returning to the house where we are all staying, we quickly made lunch and cleaned up from the
row. Most of the guys and girls went off to a local beach on Lake Minneola where we are rowing,
however I was still exhausted so proceeded to take a nap. Then after waking up we began our afternoon
practice. The mens team loaded up some eights and went out for great session of battle paddle. It was
exhausting but going out and banging heads on the water is always a blast. Then we headed home for

For our last full coach surprised us with an amazing meal for dinner comprised of lots of Italian cuisine.
This 3 course meal was quickly destroyed by all of us and was greatly appreciated. And now we are all
hanging out and relaxing preparing for our last day of practice down here in Clermont.

Rachel Keller
Hometown: Carol Stream, IL
Major: Biomedical Science
Hello family, friends, and fellow rowing enthusiasts! Today was another fun filled day of rowing for the laker navy. We started the day off with morning practice at 8:30 am, everyone enjoyed the late start and extra sleep. Today was also the last full day of practice which is very bittersweet for most of the team considering the below twenty degree weather we will be returning to in Michigan.

The women were in fours this morning and we started off practice with circles drills, circle drills are drills where only one side of the boat rows so that the boat spins in a circle. We also started to do some drills on the half feather and full feather which we were all pretty pumped about since we’ve been on the square for most of our time here. After a great technical morning row we took a nice walk through town and walked past all the shops back to the town. One of my favorite things to see on the walk home are all the little lizards sunbathing on the sidewalk, their so cute!!

We had a nice long break today and returned to practice at 3pm. The sun was shining and hardly any wind was blowing, the perfect conditions for our 2 by 30 minute ski jump pieces. The pieces today really showed how hard we’ve been working and all the great improvements that have been made this past week.

After the row the women’s team hitched a ride in the back of the team truck back to our house where we had a quick break to shower and help prepare some food for the incredible dinner Coach B made for us. Tonight’s menu consisted of lasagna, noodles and red sauce, Coach B’s take on Mac and cheese, cooked spinach, bread, and delicious apple pie! We are all very thankful to end this trip with a excellent meal!

This trip has been a great experience and I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to come! With happy full tummies, the Laker navy is back relaxing at the house with just one more practice left in the morning then back to the great state of Michigan! Pull for the Laker Navy!!

Jacob Jones
Hometown: Onondaga, MI
Major: Criminal Justice
The morning started off with a quick practice, the varsity men were in pairs and one four. We were doing circle drills working on the recovery and the catch. The goal was to work on a smooth recovery and a quick but strong catch, we did this through circle drills with pauses and throughout the recovery. While working on drills a shoe in one of the pairs came off the foot stretcher, the men in the pair signaled coach Costas to come help them repair it. On his way to help the pair the motor on his launch came loose and fell into the water, he was able to grab the gas line attached to the motor. Costas was able to hold onto the motor via the gas line for a few minutes before it broke, at this point the motor sank and Costas was left holding onto a broken gas line. He called to other coaches to come and help him return to the dock, then men worked on drills for a few more minutes before also returning to the dock. This was then end of the morning practice, the coaches told us to be back by three o’clock for the afternoon practice.

After returning from practice and getting our food for lunch a group of us gathered and ate outside at the picnic table. After eating lunch and talking for about an hour we decided to go swimming, we went to a beach a mile from the duplex. We hung out there for a few hours before returning to the duplex to go to the afternoon practice. We spent time swinging before playing volleyball, there was no net so we counted the number of times we could hit the ball before it hit the ground. After playing volleyball for about an hour we went for a swim and took time to cool off from the heat. After spending a few hours at the beach we headed back to the duplex to regroup with the rest of the team.

Coach Bancheri rejoined the varsity men for the afternoon practice, he gave the men much needed advice throughout practice. The men spent the first thirty minutes of practice working on drills to help with a smooth recovery. The main part of practice was spent doing steady state with the two eights trying to out tow each other. During the steady state he helped me with getting more swing from my shoulders throughout the drive. This helped me to get a stronger and more efficient stroke, it also helped me to get a longer stroke to match the taller guys in my boat. I look forward to the last practice and seeing what Coach Bancheri has in store for the Varsity men.

Day 7 – January 3rd

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

Ben Williams
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Major: Political Science
Today was another long day for the Laker Navy, we begun our last day of having three practices
at 7:30 a.m. It was overcast today, but that proved to be a nice break in the heat, but it was still
warm and humid. As we got to practice we begun with a talk from assistant coach Costas, about
continuing to focus on using the legs to ensure an effective stroke. We got on the water and had
our first practice accentuating drills and steady rowing together to get a feel for the movements
and engraining the changes that we had made.

After a short break, we changed up the line ups in the boats and went back out in 8’s to refocus
on swinging together and moving as a unit. Today was a really good day in terms of work done,
we all were tired following the morning sessions, but satisfied with how everything went.
Before we headed out to the afternoon session, the sun began to break through the clouds and
the gorgeous Florida weather really shone through.

However with the sun and broken clouds came quite strong winds. As we launched for our
afternoon practice, we immediately knew it was going to be interesting to say the least. We
rowed through very rough water, waves breaking over our gunwales and drenching our
coxswain. But. Despite this. We had a very good time! Spirits were high, and Coach Costas
coached and encouraged us from the launch, and assured us the water would flatten out soon.
Before long though it did, and we finished out the row with some drills and hard strokes on flat

Once we returned to the docks, we were greeted with a barbecue dinner from Coach Michelle’s
cousin, who runs a catering service for barbecue. This was a great end to the day, we all left the
boathouse full and happy. Once we returned home, we watched The Return of the Jedi and
spent some time enjoying each other’s company. Another great day for the Lakers!

Tiffany Curtis
Hometown: Downers Grove, IL
Major: Criminal Justice
Today started out just like any other: alarm set for 6:30am, a light breakfast, and a jog down to the boathouse. This morning the sky was overcast so it was nice to get out of the sun for a bit. The first half of practice was spent working on rowing at lower stroke rates in order to really focus on technique. This portion lasted for about 90min then we had a snack before the 2nd half of practice. During this hour we did a lot of stationary drills by all eight. After two great rows, the team headed back to our townhouse for some lunch.

Our second practice of the day consisted of more work by all eight and by sixes. We did wide-grip and “pointer” drills which help us to get the rotation at the catch. Following the evening practice we had a scrumptious BBQ dinner provided for us by Coach Michelle’s cousin, Johnny. Now it’s off to the townhouse for some relaxing and team bonding before tomorrow’s practice.

Cameron Ulrich
Hometown: Northville, MI
Major: Finance, Human Resource Management
My name is Cameron Ulrich, practice today started nice and early at 7:30 am. I have been working off a minor knee injury so instead of jogging to practice Coach gave me the team bike to ride back and forth. It has been feeling better every day. Unfortunately Coach Bancheri could not be with us at practice today, so Coach Costas and Coach John Reichner, stepped in and helped out. Our first session was about 90 minutes of water time. We focused mainly on the release and the finish. I sat in bow seat behind Simon Klida, who was stroke seat of our novice eight last year. Being able to follow his stroke and rhythm was very beneficial.

We took a break between sessions for about thirty minutes. We changed lineups in the eights for the second one. Simon and I sat stroke pair with Claire Krajkowski, a novice coxswain. It has been awhile since I was stroke pair in a boat and coach switching me to starboard did not make things easier. However, switching has been very helpful for my technique. It has really helped me improve my lateral pressure throughout the stroke as well as my rotation around the rigger. This session was only 60 minutes. Costas told us to start heading back to the dock but surprises us by making us row a few kilometers past the dock before actually heading in. This gave us an extra opportunity to really apply everything we had worked on today and last week.

Our third practice was the hardest from today. The waters were very rough and we covered the most distance. At one point we had to stop to bale out water from the boat. It was good practice for rough water regattas though! Afterwards we were lucky to have a visit from Dennis Kamrad. He spoke to us about his tins at Grand Valley and how important team comradery is. He told us something he found on Facebook that stuck with him – “right now is the oldest you have ever been and the youngest you’ll ever be again. So live it up.” Afterwards, Coach Goodwin’s cousin provided us with an amazing barbeque dinner.

I am really looking forward to the rest of the week.
Row Lakers!

Day 6 – January 2nd

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

Men's Varsity Eights

Elliot Rieth
Hometown: East Grand Rapids, MI
Major: Public Relations
Today was jam packed for the Laker Navy. Heading out of the house early to get to practice at 7:30, the men ran through the humidity and the heat of Florida to make it on time. Our first practice started with a chalk talk about a concept that Coach B refers to as the “tip of the spear”. We used oars to view the importance of placing the tip of the blade in order to pry through the water in order to better move the boat. Once we got out onto the water, we split into two groups, with the top men being in pairs. I was in the “Nancy Lubbers” with my pair partner, Simon. We performed drills working on “touch” and the drive. It felt good to be back out rowing in the pairs with my friends. Seeing all the pairs glide across the water together was like watching a fleet of ships enter into battle. The smooth motion of all the boats was simultaneously thrilling and calming to me. Once we had finished our drills, we came back into land for a short break.

Our second practice consisted of going out in 8’s. We rowed two thirty minute pieces by sixes, alternating rates to work on the send. The weather did not cooperate, which made these rather difficult. However, it felt good to work and start to feel the progress we have been making throughout the trip. Once we finished our pieces, we came back into shore and took part in a good team stretch. We headed back to the men’s townhouse and enjoyed some downtime. I had some food and took part in some chores around the house before enjoying a quick nap. I also was able to hammock with some team mates and enjoy some downtime with friends before getting ready for third practice.

For our third practice of the day, we went for a swing row and took a 3k test at a 22 stroke rate for score. The team improved well overall on the 3k score, I personally dropped two and a half splits off of my previous test. After the test, the men reveled in their success and went for a quick dip in the lake. Once we dried off, we headed back home to prepare for a wonderful dinner put on for us by the Clermont boat club. The food, company, and conversation were all great. I have truly appreciated how accommodating the locals have been to us, as well as kind. Once we finished dinner, we headed home to watch The Empire Strikes Back and unwind. Overall, a good day to be in the Laker Navy.

Morning Sunrise on team stretching

Cass Bruins, Women’s Team Captain
Hometown: Colorodo Springs, CO
Major: Clinical Exercise Science, Nutrition
Hello and thank you for choosing the Grand Valley Crew blogs.

My name is Cass, and I will be guiding you through the journey of our wonderful, Monday in Clermont, and second day of the new year! Ready, set, go!

While our afternoon at the beach was quite the treat yesterday, today we came back to full training today with three-a-day practices. This morning was an early practice on the water in 4+’s. We had a technical practice; primarily focusing on the drive sequence. It was a HOT morning on Lake Minneola.

Our second practice was a long one. We went out in the 8 and did about an hour and a half of pieces. The pieces at the low rates are one of the best and worst things ever. It seems like we row for hours, but you can really feel the propulsion per stroke and that’s a huge part of our focus this week.

A few of us took some R&R time hanging out and hammocking (some pun intended) at the house before our after noon practice. A huge part of the Laker Navy’s bonding is off the water, doing things like that together. It’s something that brings each of us together, because it’s almost always a different group of people hanging out!

Afternoon practice was brutal, not gonna lie. We had a 3k ergo and 45 minute technical row. It was also very hot and humid, making the workout less then ideal. However, per usual, the crew conquered it all! The women started with the ergo, and most of us did very well despite being quite exhausted from this mornings pieces. The technical row to follow was just what we needed as a team. Very clean, powerful, focused, and of course, fun going all 8 for the first time this trip!

Following practice we were treated to dinner by the Clermont Crew Rowing Club! Dinner was amazing and we all ate way too much (Not like that is any different from any other dinner that the team devours). The club was so nice, inviting our club for dinner and they also gave us a bunch of prizes and rowing novelties as well! It was very cool getting to meet the coaches as well as the athletes there and to see how committed they are to growing their new program, similar to how we strive to grow ours. They were very welcoming to the crew and we all appreciated it more than words can explain.

Well I’m not very good at ending speeches or papers or blogs or anything, really. So this is Cass Bruins, signing off! Go Lakers !

The boathouse dock Panoramic

Ben Norrix
Hometown: Rockwood, MI
Major: Group Social Studies
After a fun day at the beach yesterday, we followed with a great day of training. The morning started at 6:45 when I had a great breakfast of cereal. I got ready for practice and the team headed outside ready to go. We ran from the townhouse where we are staying to the boathouse. Our first practice today was in pairs. I was in the “Ted”. We launched and began doing stationary drills. Three bobs to hands away, Three bobs to the catch, etc. We then did drive drills from one end of the lake to the next. Our focus was putting the tip of the blade into the water and backing in the blade. Once we arrived across the lake we spun around and did back it down drills before transitioning into steady state and headed toward the dock to get ready for our second row of the day.

Our second row today was in eights. We launched and did a quick warmup before we began a 2×30 minute ski jumps around the lake by sixes. We began each piece at a 14 and rose it two beats every two minutes. We switched a pair every six minutes and dropped the rate two beats at that time before beginning to raise it again. We followed this by getting to row by all eight for the first time this trip. When we reached the dock after the second piece we had a team stretch before walking back to the townhouse. When I arrived back, I decided to make some scrambled eggs for lunch. We all then relaxed in the living room and did our homework assigned to us by coach B. At three o’clock we all got up and got ready and headed off for our third practice of the day.

We arrived at the boathouse ready for the ergo that we knew was coming only to find out that we were going out on the water first for a bit. We launched and rowed along the shore line before turning around and heading back to the dock. When the boat was down in tee’s we headed over to where we had the ergs set up. We went in two groups of eight. We were doing a 3k for score. I improved by .6 seconds over my last 3k from a few days ago. Once we had all finished our ergo we ran to the dock and most of us jumped off into the lake for a cool down. We then headed back to take showers and get dressed for a dinner being hosted by the Lake County Rowing Association. We got there and they had provided us with so much food and then gave us a bunch of free stuff to take home with us. They have been such great hosts to us while we have been here I just want to thank them so much. After the dinner we went back and ended the day in the best way possible. Team bonding and watching Star Wars.

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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