Athletes Journal 2018 | Past Journal Archive |


HENLEY-ON-THAMES, U.K. – The Grand Valley State University Rowing Club completed their 2017-18 season with training and competitions on international waters. The races were part of a three week excursion, which began with a training camp in Kastoria, Greece and concluded with races in the Henley Royal Regatta (HRR). The team left the United States on June 19 for their journey. The Henley Royal Regatta qualifier races were on June 29 and the first day of the regatta was July 4. The club travels every three years to the United Kingdom for this regatta.

In the HRR, GVSU had three boats compete. Because of the size and the quality of racing, only one of the GVSU boats, the Men’s 4A boat in the Prince Albert Cup, automatically qualified for the regatta. GVSU’s Women’s eight and Men’s 4B boats had to compete in the qualifiers. Neither of the boats who competed in the qualifiers advanced to the Wednesday races.

In the Prince Albert Cup, the Men’s 4A boat raced in the round of 16 on the 4th of July. Going up against Imperial College of London, the GVSU four pulled out into the lead in the first 250 meters. Imperial College’s strength and power took over, and there would be no fireworks on this Independence Day for the USA boat, as the Laker Navy lost by 1 ¾ lengths. Though every athlete wants to win, the team and coaches were proud of the performance and appreciated the opportunity to compete in such a special event in their sport.

The women’s eight boat was the first GVSU boat to compete in the Remenham Challenge Cup in the HRR. In previous years, the Laker Navy women have competed in the Henley Women’s Regatta, which was held two weeks prior to the HRR. In the Remenham Challenge Cup, only 12 boats qualify to race on the Wednesday of the regatta, and the Lakers women fell short in the qualifier races. Getting to compete in the royal event was special for the women of GVSU Rowing and they relished racing on such a historic course.

GVSU Laker Navy Men’s 4B boat had a strong showing in their qualifier, despite not qualifying for the top 16 in the Prince Albert Cup. The boat finished seventh in the qualifiers out of 20. Only the top five times advanced.

Another event during regatta week is the Jesus College Overseas Spare Pairs race. This bracket style competion allows oversees team members who will not be rowing in the main events to get the opportunity to race on the Thames and through the historic course. The Laker Navy had two boats of spare pairs, in an event that inclued top programs such as Cornell and Temple.

The Henley Royal Regatta has been hosted every year on the Thames River since 1839, with the exception of the years during World War I and World War II. The grand spectacle and celebration of the sport of rowing is located in a quintessential old England town, Henley-On-Thames. In 1851, Prince Albert, the consort of Queen Victory, because the first royal member to attend. Since then, all monarchs have consented to be patrons, thus allowing the regatta to be called the Henley Royal Regatta.

The regatta attracts over 300,000 visitors, all who follow the strict dress code: women in their finest summer dresses and men in ties and blazers, many with a touch of flair and personality. A sporting event tradition in the United Kingdom, the HRR attracts racers from all continents, and can be likened to the Kentucky Derby in the United States. The racing format is different than most, as two boats go head to head down the Thames River in a single emlimination style competition.

The names of the athletes who competed in the Henley Royal Regatta are listed below.

Men’s Four A – Prince Albert Cup
Elliot Rieth
Brandon Roberts
Matt Collins
Ben Williams
Lauren DeFrancesco – coxswain

Women’s Eight – Remenham Cup
Cass Bruins
Audrey Borsen
Faith Platz
Jess Hasenau
Rachel Keller
Melissa Frank
McKenzie Sandel
Elizabeth Greve
Diana Bullen – coxswain

Men’s Four B – Prince Albert Cup
Noah Lasky
Jacob Spiess
Ben Norrix
Aidan McCoy
Makenzie Stafford – coxswain

Spare Pair Races – Boat A
Sal Bancheri
Miles Hagmeyer

Spare Pair Races – Boat B
Jacob Spiess
Ben Norrix

The rowing club at Grand Valley State University is part of the club sports program within Campus Recreation. All clubs have student leadership and many pay dues each year to compete. For more information GVSU Club Sports: http://www.gvsuclubsports.com/ To view the daily blogs of the rowers and their trip to Greece and England, go to links at the top of the page for Athletes Daily Blogs.

Mitch Eastlick is the Assistant Director of Campus Recreation at Grand Valley State University.

Grand Valley Rowing is returning to England for the historic Henley Royal Regatta.

After another successful spring campaign, twelve women and thirteen men from the Laker Navy have Departed for England, U.K. for the privilege of representing Grand Valley State University in international competition. This summer, members of the team will race at the Henley Royal Regatta, and for the first time our women will race in the Henley Royal Regatta with the men. Hosted in Henley-on-Thames, England, these races are among the most prestigious events in rowing worldwide. The men and women have all worked extremely hard this year for the opportunity to compete in these historic regattas.

The women’s squad sent an eight and a pair. The Women’s Varsity 8+ is coming off a highly competitive racing season, with a silver at ACRA being the most recent event. All the women are excited to race and ready to rise to any challenges they may face.

The men will sent two fours and a pair.

This year the men and women are traveling together and will be training in Kastoria, Greece from June 20th-27th leading into Henley, called the Kastoria Training Camp. Then the team will compete in the Henley Royal Regatta. The team travel itinerary can be found here.

Training will continue in Kastoria, Greece for both squads; all are striving to push each other to gain speed in the week leading up to Henley Royal Regatta. Thus far, both teams have been making gains in practice – which should make for an unforgettable trip and fast racing experience.

Racing draws, schedules, trip details, and more information for the trip will be posted here. Check back often for the most recent updates as well as athlete blogs that will be posted daily.

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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