The Grand Valley State rowing club put a cap on its 2016 fall season Saturday, Nov. 13 at the 11th annual GVSU Frostbite Regatta at the Allendale Proving Grounds.
The event was a day full of inter-squad scrimmages between both the men and women rowers. Six 1,000-meter races were the measuring sticks for all the boats Saturday afternoon.
“We hold this event every year as a way to sum up and conclude the fall portion of our season as we prepare to switch to indoor training for the winter,” said GVSU assistant graduate coach Spencer West, who coordinated the event.
The event’s name of origin comes from the typical weather in Michigan during this time of year. An ideal mid-November Michigan day is usually very cold, thus a sign for the outdoor fall season ending.
The race times varied due to different boat and rower combinations as the coaches tried to figure out which student-athletes worked better with one another. In other words, the chemistry among rowers was discovered.
“The system we had in place for the day was similar to a hockey coach changing lines,” said GVSU head coach John Bancheri.
The inter-squad element did not stop the Lakers from competing against one another. The day was full of competition as well as smack talk throughout the races and even after them.
“When you see guys out there having fun and chirping back-and-forth you know you have something there,” Bancheri said.
The overall takeaway from the day, however, was the need for a motor. The Lakers, who are used to being labeled as a reloading powerhouse, are still going through a rebuilding phase after losing a large graduating class last year.
The effort and competitive drive are currently there for the Lakers. Now is the time for the hard work to continue into the winter, leading up to the spring and the national championships.
“The coaching staff has really put together a good program for us to succeed,” said GVSU senior captain Chris Doherty. “I think this year there is a bigger emphasis on strength training because it is one of our weaker areas.”
Instead of focusing on just cardio, the coaching staff has implemented weight training to help build up more muscle and endurance. So far, the rowers have met the challenge of extra training head on, but the hill will only get steeper.
“I really think the strength training will help us a lot in the spring,” said GVSU senior captain Cass Bruins. “When we add the strength training with the cardio, its just going to make us faster and stronger.”
The Lakers now turn their attention to the winter break, when a select number of rowers will travel down to Orlando for a technical training camp. This is a time where the rowers can continue to work on their craft in the boat and the water. It’s also a nice time for the team to bond, especially the veterans with the younger members of the team.
“We are going to work these kids hard, Trust me,” Bancheri said. “There’s a joke that we like to say about the boathouse. It’s Darwinism.”