Rowers set to compete at C.R.A.S.H.-B World Indoor Championships

Courtesy Photo / John Bancheri
Last years C.R.A.S.H. B competitors

Courtesy photo

Courtesy Photo / John Bancheri Last year’s C.R.A.S.H. B competitors

Melanie Huhn

After a harsh winter of training, the Grand Valley State University rowing club will send its elite rowers to compete against some of the best rowers in the world this weekend in Boston for Sunday’s Charles River All Star Has-Beens Spring World Indoor Championships.

In preparation for the the largest international indoor competition in the U.S., the “Laker Navy” has spent the last four months to physically and mentally prepare for the upcoming outdoor season. They have practiced up to six days a week indoors at the The Rowing Training Center on indoor rowing ergometers, machines that help simulate the motion of rowing technique while also building up stamina.

“It has been pure high intensity, high volume,” said junior Ryan Kasley. “It can be exhausting, but it’s trips like these that make it all worth it. We are getting a chance to prove ourselves on the international level, which makes all of the hard work worth it.”

After several weeks of winter training, head coach John Bancheri and his assistant coaches choose six of the best rowers to compete at the C.R.A.S.H.-B’s this weekend. On the women’s side top female junior Carey Mankins, junior Jessica Vogl and top freshman Kaitlyn VanBoven will represent the women. While Kasley, junior Dominic Kootsillas-Conybeare and top novice rower Nate Biolchini will compete for the men.

As for the competition, the six Lakers will compete in their respected categories in top of class, open weight and top freshman. The Lakers are expected to place in the top 12 with the times they entered.

“If we want to be successful we have to train as hard as our competitor to own the dream,” Bancheri said. “We have to earn our success and I believe we are prepared for this level of competition. Winter training is the survival of the fittest or as we know it, ‘boat house Darwinism.’ It’s one of the reasons we are so successful.”

The competition will be set up in an arena, differing from the usual rowing on water. The athletes will also be rowing on Concept2 row machines that provide all time and pull information right in front of them the entire 2,000 meters.

“During the fall we do a lot of work on the water and on the rowing machines,” Vogl said. “It puts it in front of your face how hard your actually pulling so you know how hard your going which helps you not slack off. It really makes you push yourself.”

This year Bancheri and the rest of the team at Grand Valley will be cheering on their teammates while watching the completion on simulcast and competing in their own C.R.A.S.H.-“G”. While the six rowers compete 969 miles away, their teammates will be pulling with them every step of the way.

“This weekend our motto is ‘we got your back,’” Bancheri said. “Our kids will be racing here at the same time the other race in Boston. The ‘Laker Navy’ is pulling our teammate literally. We have learned how to work hard and that has resulted in our improvement as a team.”

The Lakers will be “pulling for their lives” during C.R.A.S.H.-B Sprints which are being held this Sunday at Boston University’s Agganis Arena.

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