‘Laker Navy’ heads south for spring training

GVL Archive / Eric Coulter
The GVSU rowing team will be one of many Grand Valley teams heading to FLorida for Spring training

GVL Archive / Eric Coulter The GVSU rowing team will be one of many Grand Valley teams heading to FLorida for Spring training

Derek Wolff

While various major league ball clubs will be starting their exhibition games, the rowing team will be in Sarasota, Fla., for their annual spring break training camp on March 4.

On the way back to Allendale, the team will stop at Lake Lanier, Ga., to face off against five colleges and universities on March 12 in a practice meet.

The Lakers will depart from Allendale today and Friday, taking vans and a 56-passenger bus to accommodate a 94-person caravan en route to swapping winter coats and textbooks for oars and swimwear.

GVSU has been training indoors for the last few months in preparation, working 16-18 hours a week on indoor rowing machines, said GVSU head coach John Bancheri.

“One of our goals is to focus and get better and we’ve worked hard to get there by spending all of that time on the machines,” Bancheri said. “It’s going to be a great time and a great experience. The idea is that (the team is) there to get better and enjoy themselves at the same time.”

Sophomore rower Amy Brunner has fond memories of going on the trip last spring and was excited about going back.

“It was a really good time last year,” Brunner said. “I came out of spring break feeling like I really understood the technical aspect of rowing.”

Bancheri said that the technical aspect is something that you simply cannot teach with only indoor workouts away from the water.

“It’s like getting three weeks of work done in one week since it’s hard to teach technique in the cold,” he said, when speaking about the trips advantages.

The team has worked 5 a.m. shifts during the winter shoveling snow from campus in an effort to afford the trip.

Despite the warmer weather, it won’t be all fun and games for the Lakers in the days leading up to their scrimmage on March 12. The team has practiced scheduled several times a day, rowing some 40 miles with on-the-water technique being learned for the new additions and the veterans shaking off any rust from winter.

Sophomore Jacob Bouwman said that the team is excited to get back on the water, and that the scrimmage on the 12th will be good for not only the newcomers but the team as a whole.

“For the newer guys it’s their first time going on a trip that far away so it should be a good experience for them,” he said. “The scrimmage gives them more experience on the water before we get into our major races during the season. Everyone who has been on the team is just as excited though to get back on the water after training indoors for so long.”

[email protected]