Archive for March, 2018

Day 6 – March 7th

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

Rachel Keller
Hometown: Carol Springs, IL
Major: Clinical Exercise Science
Today was a early start for the Laker Navy. All crews left at 6:45 AM, with the men heading to Oak Ridge to practice and race with Georgetown. The women went to the boathouse and went out for a long steady state and technical row. The row was very challenging as we battled high winds, low temperatures, and huge waves! I was in a four and our practice was focused on drawing high into the body, feathering away, and balance. We all had a great practice despite the conditions, and are looking forward to our night off.

Our night off in Gatlinburg was very relaxing! We got there around 2:30 and left around 7pm. There was something for everyone: hiking, shopping, and site seeing. The team favorite is the Smoky Mountain salt water taffy. We all stocked up! It was a great night off and I always look forward to our time in Gatlinburg. With a few more days left of spring break, we are taking advantage of our time on the water and half priced Sonic shakes!

Novice Men's 8 hard at work

Ryan Overholt
Hometown: Naperville, IL
Major: Information Systems
Today, we woke up extra early to get the men’s team over to Oak Ridge to race with Georgetown on the course there. I was working with the novice women’s team today, as I am coming back from a lengthy injury.

It was very cold today, but I was excited to get into a sweep boat for the first time all year after rowing a double all week. I put on all my layers and rowed away in the cold at stroke seat. It was extremely windy and the water was whitecapping sometimes into my lap but I learned a lot today. I could coach my own blade a lot, and found myself backing the blade in poorly. I worked on squaring early and catching with my knees and by the end of practice, I felt like I had so much more power at the catch and top quarter of the stroke.

After rowing for almost 3 hours, we went back to the hotel to prepare to go to Gatlinburg! I took a very very hot shower to warm my feet up and put my layers back on. After a fun van ride, we arrived at Gatlinburg and I walked around town, stopping at a few shops and attractions. I got some amazing Tennessee barbeque at Bennett’s Pit BBQ! I didn’t go hiking because of the cold, but I wish I did! It was a very fun afternoon and a good break from practicing twice a day all week. I’m excited for the second half of the training trip coming up!

Freshmen Oar Noah Lasky

Noah Lasky
Hometown: Midland, MI
Major: Biomedical Science
Wednesday morning was a change of pace for us all as we had to get up and prepare to leave by 6:45 am instead of the usual 8:00. This was due to a change in schedule for the men as we went to workout with Georgetown’s 1V and 2V while the women just had regular morning practice.

All of the men packed into two vans and made our way to Oak Ridge, where we would proceed to do 6x2000m pieces with a rate cap of 18-24 strokes per minute against Georgetown. Being a novice man, this was quite a challenge for us as this was really our first time rowing with all 8 and we were challenging 3 other varsity crews. However, we managed to have an overall successful workout as we progressively got better with setting the boat throughout the workout and were able to hang with our varsity boat and Georgetown’s 2V for most of the pieces.

After our workout, all of the men went to feast on a Chinese buffet, my two favorite words, and then we showered up and left to go to Gatlinburg for a fun, relaxing afternoon. A group of friends and I mosied around all of the stores looking at all the unique trinkets they sold and debated whether or not to buy brass knuckles for $8. We also came across a sock shop which is where I spent the majority of my money. To round out our trip we stopped at Five Guys, one of the finest eating establishments ever established for eating. Then we packed up the vans and headed back to the hotel for the night.

The night wrapped up with a little hot tub action and some rather intense Super Smash Bros gameplay. I’m very excited to continue practicing and getting better with my team and am looking forward to facing off against North Carolina on Saturday.

Day 5 – March 6th

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

John Bancheri, Head Coach
Hometown: Delia, Italy
Major: History, Rowing

I have been doing these “chalk talks” for years. There is no script. I go off the theme of the day or the week. In this case we were reviewing the recovery phase of the stroke and “poise” in preparation for the entry of the blade and the drive phase. The concepts of the Quats, 7 lbs. Off the seat. The push, the Impulse and the whip.

I am a big believer of 20 minutes of instruction on land is worth two hours on the water. I’ve had a lot of fun over the years doing these chalk talks and I thank my mentors like (Robert Garbutt, Stan Bergman, Michael Thompson, Rudy Wieler, Larry Gluckman, Jimmy Joy, etc) who taught me the art of coaching. There are a few times one might question the phrase used and I say you are correct, that may not be scientifically correct. The reality is there are many anomalies in rowing. I use very visual cues to illustrate the point, as well as use those phrases to focus on tactile response. As Coach Tim McLaren says, the 4 most important words in coaching are, “it feels like this”.

Thanks to my model oarsman, Matt Collins (3rd year), my assistant coach for the video, Costas Ciungan, our coaches Dan Martin, Lauren Holben, to our host Coach Allen Eubanks and the Smoky Mountain Rowing Center.

Ben Willliams Senior Rower

Benjamin Willims, Men’s Team Captain
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Major: Political Science

Day 4 here in Tennessee was an eventful one. Coach B spoke with Michigan State’s women so we could have a scrimmage with them. With that being the plan, we spent our first practice working on technique, and racing each other near the East Tennessee boathouse. It was a really nice overcast morning, and even though the ground was wet, we didn’t have to deal with any rain. The flat water made for some great rowing, and the Varsity squads got to go toe to toe for a while.

In the afternoon, we headed out to the course at Oak Ridge to begin seat racing and selection for the Spring boats. This is always a stressful time, but the change of scenery was nice. The men were in fours and the women in eights piecing against MSU’s Varsity women. We began the pieces out of the way of the race course on a long stretch of water, cracking jokes during rest time despite the level of intensity we were operating at. The sun had come out at this point, and it was a gorgeous day.

Upon finishing the racing, we headed back in and loaded up the trailer for our short trip back to ETRO. Some boats will be here again tomorrow, but most of us are excited for the trip to Gatlinburg .

Map of rowing path

Elizabeth Greve
Hometown: Dexter, MI
Major: Allied Health Science

Today began our fourth day of spring break training. Per usual, we began our morning practice with a chalk talk. Today Coach B talked about posture and power: how posture proceeds power as having proper posture provides you with the setup to achieve maximum power. Coach also demonstrated the importance of leaning into your oarlock in order to prevent your rigger from rising so that the boat can be as balanced as possible. He emphasized how important it is for each member of the crew to do this, as one side of the boat not doing this will cause the boat to tip to the opposite side, making it harder for the rest of the crew to row and ultimately slowing down the boat. With these things in mind, the crew took to the water, eager to apply what we had learned.

The varsity women rowed alongside the varsity men for the morning row. We did the majority of the practice with feet out in order to work on maintaining connection with the footboard. We alternated between doing drills and short pieces by 4’s, each time trying to stay ahead of the men’s boats. We finished the practice with all eight rowing (the first time we have done that yet this spring). This was very exciting for me as this is the first time I have been in the 1V and rowed by all eight. It was cool to see how good the boat felt and I’m excited to see how we can continue to improve.

After a break in the afternoon, the women and varsity men returned to Oak Ridge to do pieces with the MSU women’s team. The women did 3×5 minute pieces. It was great to have a competitive opportunity like this so early in the season and against a team as powerful as MSU. Everyone learned a lot in terms of where we can improve both as a crew and individually. The main things I took away from the scrimmage were the importance of staying calm and focused when racing as this will allow you to row the best that you can, as well as the importance of giving it your all in training both on and off the water. As coach said in his chalk talk, posture provides power on the water, but so does physical fitness on the erg and through other forms of training, and both are equally important in determining who will win a race.

Today was definitely one of the most intense days we have had thus far during the trip, but the crew learned a lot and are excited to get back on the water tomorrow to continue making improvements and to keep getting faster!

Erin Vielbig - Novice Women

Erin Vielbig
Hometown: Fowlerville, MI
Major: Public and Non-Profit Administration

After a continental breakfast, we headed to the course and started our AM practice with a chalk talk from Coach B. He reviewed the points made earlier this week, and brought them all together to stress the importance of posture, touch and balance. When we got out on the river we were in an 8, where we spent a fourth of our time feet out, to stress staying connected through the entire stroke, especially during the swing. We worked diligently through drills and did 5 minute pieces throughout our practice. These were done by 6s both feet in and out, at a high stroke rating. This practice was meant to gear us up for a race against MSU at Oakridge later today.

After a lunch and rest at the hotel, we made our way to Oakridge, where we got to experience new views and see where the TN trip used to be. The races went well considering we have yet to row by 8s this week. We noticed improvement throughout these races, and walked away with a few key things to work on.

Tuesday was a great day and we made long strides; however, one of the best highlights came this evening, A group of us went to Bdubs, where we discovered BOGO boneless wings, suffice to say, we were ecstatic. The surprises kept coming, and we learned shakes and floats were also half off at Sonic! We stuffed ourselves with discounted foods in celebration of the week thus far, and in anticipation in the days to come. We ended the day the same we started, as a close-knit group who loves a good deal.

Day 5 – March 5th

Monday, March 5th, 2018


Emily Gilbert
Hometown: Allen Park, MI
Major: General Business
It was a beautiful morning in Tennessee for rowing. The varsity women went out in fours with the varsity men in pairs. We did many drills working on our blade work. One drill was the circle drill where one side rowed in a full 360 degrees and tried to see who could make it in the least amount of strokes. Rachel Keller and I won with 23 stroke and the winner of the men was Ben Williams. We also got videos of our rowing to look at later and learn from. After our morning row we went back to the hotel for a quick turn around before the afternoon practice.

In the afternoon the varsity women were again in fours and ready for seat racing. 6×3:00 was the workout for the afternoon, switching the lineups after each piece. It was our first time rowing all four, we really had to focus on our handle heights and blade work to keep the boat set. We were able to put the drills and technique we worked on in the morning to use while testing our strength in the boat.

Adam K Freshmen Rowing

Adam Kolakowski
Hometown: Wyandotte, MI
Major: Business Economics – Real Estate

Today we had another fairly early wake up. We ate breakfast at 7 and promptly got off to practice at 8. Now that we’re starting to finally get in a groove, everything seems to be going way more smoothly. We started with an early morning chalk talk with Coach B. talking about picturing the blade as a hinge. The main talk was about how the top edge of the blade travels in a rectangle where the bottom edge not only feathers to the top edge, but travels in an elliptical path. We soon then got on the water.

As a novice man, we have taken things fairly slow so far. We have been rowing on the square at all times, until today. Our practice lasted two hours with the first hour being stationary drills hammering in proper feathering into us. After finishing up our stationary drills we promptly went for a steady state row pausing every few strokes to emphasize feathering before taking the next stroke. Overall the morning practice ended up being one of our most productive practices so to date.

After taking a nap, I returned with the rest of the novices to our evening block. With a quick warm up, we went straight into our workout. Without hesitation, we just rowed, and rowed, and rowed. We did not go as far as the varsity did the first day but we went an estimated 24,000 meters. We rowed by 6’s the entire time where we rowed on the square on the way down and on the feather on the way back. We had just learned how to feather again in the morning so this row was extremely important. To date, including the fall, I believe this was the most productive practice because we were able to just row and figure out our own issues.

After practice we got back and a few of us Novice guys went out to Ruby Tuesdays. That was completely irrelevant but I needed a transition into me talking about our team bonding game we played tonight. We played Chubby Bunny. For those who do not know what it is, you stick a marshmallow in your mouth, say chubby bunny, and repeat until you cannot say it anymore. I tied for second with Matt Collins with a solid 9 total marshmallows; but Noah Lasky, a fellow novice, topped us with an impressive 10. Overall today was an extremely productive day for us and we still have almost a full week of training left.


Carmen Martinez
Hometown: Madrid, Spain
Major: Social Science
Today was the third day of Spring Break Training, and as we literally say in Spain, it was a “doggy
day” (día de perros) which means that it was cloudy and windy.

We started off with Coach B’s chalk talk about feathering which involved way too much geometry than I’m comfortable with, being a social science major.

On the water with the novice women, we rowed in circles (literally) to get the mechanics of feathering down, which everybody seemed to pick up quickly.

During the afternoon session, with the boathouse full of high school kids, we managed to get on the water without any incidents. We rowed without using our outside hand, so we didn’t move it while we did the feathering. And then we kicked it up a notch by going harder on the way back.

So all in all, it was a productive day which involved a lot of feathers and chickens (which I learned what people meant by).

Day 3 – March 4th

Sunday, March 4th, 2018

Elliot River morning
Elliot Rieth
Grand Rapids, MI
Public Relations

Today began chilly and bright. With the possibilities of the day ahead of us, the team gathered for breakfast in the lobby before heading to the course. Once we reached the launch site, we all gathered around for a very in-depth “chalk talk” by Coach Bancheri about the drive sequence, among other important rowing concepts. Using the erg arm to show what the effects of these techniques would be on the water, Coach walked us through the importance of logical sequential order of the muscle groups and how that relates to the rowing stroke. After a few more examples of why this concept is important and the effects that it has on performance, we hit the water for our first practice of the day.

During the first practice of the day, we fought waves and wind to perfect our technique. With the men in fours and the top women in an eight, we went through many different iterations of placement and bob drills to work on length, timing, and proper recovery technique. After this, we took to rowing steady state to calmer waters where we were able to then work on power and the drive sequence in more optimal conditions. After a long morning of technique and power work, we headed in for lunch.

We finished the morning with a nice lunch and then headed back to the hotel for a break. A few of the men and I headed to Walmart and picked up a few snacks to munch on in between practices. After we had finished, we headed back to the hotel to play Super Smash Bros on GameCube till practice, an age old tradition. I ended up falling asleep on the floor of my hotel room and was suddenly awakened to the news that we had to go to practice. So, I quickly changed and drove some of the men to practice.

During the second practice of the day the men were back in fours, and the women were split into an eight and a four. We spent the evening continuing our focus on the drive sequence, while incorporating a little bit of competition. Coach B had us do a little bit of “battle paddle” to see who was pushing the hardest, but, more importantly, who was getting the best grasp of the technique we had been working on. The weather was fantastic this evening. The sunset was wonderful, wind was minimal, and the temperature was just warm enough to enjoy a nice row home.

All in all, today was excellent, and I look forward to how the rest of this trip is going to go.

Women rowing mansion tennessee

Linda Goldberg
Schaumburg, IL
Allied Health Sciences

Our second day of the Tennessee training camp started bright and early with a chalk talk led by coach B. Over the course of the next half hour, we were walked through technical work on the drive, recovery, and blade work. With this, I learned that finishing with your legs and arms at the same time made for a more efficient boat. When coming out of the catch, it is important to start the drive sequence with your legs, back, then arms, this sequence allows for “7 pounds off the seat.” Also, ergs do in fact float on water. After this, all of us got ready to row with our teams. As a fill in coxswain, it is very interesting to see how these technical drills come into play, and how dramatically they effect the boat.

The novice women went out in an eight boat for about two hours. We used drills and rowed by 6’s to work on what we were taught. Once we were all docked all of the boats we had lunch, then went back to the hotel so we could rest up for the evening practice. During this time, the novice women took out a four boat and focused on feathering and hands away. Overall, today’s practices were very beneficial and worth while.

sunset row afternoon

Colin Johnson
Battle Creek, MI
Criminal Justice

Day 2 was a day full of learning and reorientation of rowing on the water. We started the am practice Coach B gave a great chalk talk about the drive where at one point he explained the box which was new for me. After that the novice 8 went out and did drills for the drive that I thought were very predictive.

After practice the team made a trip to Walmart for some snakes and basic necessities afterwards Brandon and I made a run to Bojangles a fast food chicken restaurant that I have been wanting to try for a while.

I loved the pm practice as it was a 20k steady state by 6s it really gave me a chance to work on my power, length, and backing the blade in. We also got a chance to look at the houses along the river and for a person who enjoys architecture I really liked it along with finding new parts of the Tennessee River.

We finally ended the day with 14 of us eating dinner together at a local Mexican restaurant which was a nice way to wined down the day. Today got me really excited to see what the rest of training camp has in store.

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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