November 14, 2015
Quarry Training Grounds
Fall Season Comes to Close at Frostbite
The fall season for the GVSU Rowing Club has come to a close with the annual Frostbite Regatta. Held at the “quarry proving grounds,” racing began before the sun rose to get the last strokes of the fall in. The usually undisturbed water was alive with the sounds of oarlocks, coxswains, and the cheers of those on shore. Head Coach, John Bancheri, was impressed with the surprisingly calm conditions. “The 11th annual GV Frostbite Regatta lived up to its name yesterday with cold, blustery conditions we expect at this time of year in West Michigan. Today however was picture perfect with rowing conditions as good as I have ever seen.”
Kicking off the event was a 2k time trial, followed by four 1250m sprint style races. The format of the sprint racing was unique with three heats of racing, the first heat being the fastest. The top boat from each heat moved up into a faster heat and the slowest down. Times were added together and the crew with the lowest total time was the victor. Competition was fierce and strokes could not be taken off. The top three boats in each category (men/women and size of the boat) were awarded a rare and highly coveted oarlock trophy.
Overall, the two novice men’s eights claimed the top two spots. “What struck me was the development of Coach Coastas’ novice men,” said Bancheri. “They were organized, rowed hard, and rowed well.” The potential of the novice men was certainly visible for all to see.
The men’s pairs were not far off of the pace, with the pair of Austin Gentry and Dominic Biolchini close behind in third. Fourth and fifth places were also men’s pairs. A proud Bancheri reported, “As for the varsity men rowing pairs, they were a joy to watch in terms of oarsmanship. Simply put: they row well. However if they expect to be competitive with the big boys they must improve their horsepower. I expect these men to continue to improve as they are competitive and they understand what needs to be done.”
The woman’s team also had a productive and competitive day on the water. Two varsity fours and a 2nd varsity eight were neck and neck throughout the entire morning. The two fours finished within twenty seconds of one another, a small margin of just four seconds per race. “They have learned to compete at a higher level as a group and I expect they will continue to develop over the course of the winter.”
The novice women mirrored the varsity women in both competitiveness and drive. “I’ve seen some good rowing coming from them,” noted Bancheri. As a group they have had a great start to their young rowing careers, yet there is much to be learned and inches to be won by all. “Like everyone else, there is much to be improved and I believe the top athletes in the class will lead the way.” This class of young women have a bright future ahead of them and their relatively untapped potential was on display. There were many proud parents cheering the new rowers in their families on as the two novice woman’s eights rowed by.
A common theme of Coach Bancheri’s statements was the need to get better and the desire of the team to take the necessary steps to do so. The team now heads indoors to train for the spring season, a critical step needed to ensure the most success for all levels of the program. “Coming into the winter, I expect the program to continue improving as a whole as we move indoors. Winter training in Tampa Bay will give the top athletes an opportunity to continue improving their skill while developing their power to weight ratio.”
The Lubbers Cup, hosted by GVSU at the Spring Lake Yacht Club, will be the first spring race for the team.
The ending mood of the regatta was upbeat and excited. After the closing statements from guest coach Paul Springer, the oarlock trophies were awarded and the team tent opened for a team meal. As all who attended finished the day with hot food from a well-supplied team tent, there was a sense of satisfaction by all. Coach Bancheri was no exception. “Today tells me our program and our athletes are willing to work in all conditions and they have fun with what they do. They have an appreciation for representing their university. I believe they will enjoy a highly successful spring season as they continue to improve their capabilities on the water.”
As a final note, Coach Bancheri had this to say.
“All successful programs have three things in common. One: Institutional support and competent coaching. Two: Motivated athletes that want to improve THEIR program. And three: Supportive families. The support for today was remarkable and shows our capabilities of the program now and the great potential of things to come.”