Permanent link for GVSU Rowing Club � Spring Break Blogs 2022 - Day 3 � Monday, March 7th on March 8, 2022

Carlos Fabbro – Varsity Men’s Coxswain

I spent my Monday in Clemson.

We rowed around, and then some.

We started the day with some Cat4 pieces.

And we covered the water that was for leases.

We made adjustments to our row.

Synchronized catches, straight backs, 

For smoother flow.


After we rowed, we headed to Bojangles.

Just to figure out how 

That Southern chicken thing goes.


There I ordered

A spicy chicken sandwich,

And then hopped in the Battle Bus

Which is really a man-wich


But that wasn’t even the highlight of my day

Because that novice man,

Jacob Galloway

Stole my camera and didn't bother to pay


Once we got back, I ate a quick bite

And we headed out

For the trip hike.


Once we reached Yellow Branch Falls

I was stupefied by what I saw

The water was freezing and the rocks were slippery

I don’t even row, but my legs are in misery.


Overall, I’m aiming for eight hours of sleep

Otherwise, “my health!” 

I’ll weep.


Today has been a blast and a half

Sorry if you thought this was a rap.


Veronica Matthews – Varsity Woman

I woke up around 6:40am to get ready to leave by 7:30am for practice. On the way to practice, my van bumped some “piece music jams'' to get us prepared for our row. As we walked to our trailer, Clemson’s varsity team was erging outside and we were all trying to figure out what piece they were doing - it looked like a 2k because they were cruising! We did find it funny that “erg music” is quite universal as we all listen to the same stuff.

Today's practice started around 8am, and I sat bow seat of the Alexandra! We started the practice off with some drills, sitting at ¾ slide, and worked on the catch. Then we started feathered at half slide then squared and placed the blade. This allowed us to watch our oar placement timings to make sure we were all placing together smoothly and driving at the same time. We also did some top quarter rowing which led into full strokes. After we finished with drills, we did 3x12’ pieces. For the first one, our rates were 6’ @ 22, 4’ @ 24, and 2’ @ 26. The 2nd and 3rd pieces were 6’ @ 24, 4’ @ 26, and 2’ @ 28. This was our first time this week rowing all 8 as we have been working on technique and in small boats; I was pleasantly surprised with how well our boat did. The set was pretty alright and when we noticed there were problems, we fixed them for the next piece. After practice we ate lunch at the trailer and headed back to the hotel.

 We were still hungry once returning “home” so I drove a few of the other girls to get more to eat and some coffee! I tried the new toasted vanilla oat milk shaken espresso from Starbucks, and it may be my new favorite drink! After that, we talked in the lobby and waited for the rest of the team to go hiking! Today was one of our “free” days, meaning we don’t have an afternoon practice and can use the day to explore. We hiked Yellow Branch Falls which has a beautiful waterfall at the end! You will definitely see pictures on Instagram. The drive to and from the hike was quite curvy and a pretty view in itself!

As we all gathered in the lobby to go to dinner at Southern Wesleyan University, it started POURING outside! I graciously pulled the car up for everyone so they didn’t have to get wet. For dinner I got a large salad with carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes. For my main dish I got fish, rice, pasta, and grilled mixed veggies. 

As we left and headed to “Rita’s” for ice cream, we noticed it closed in 30 minutes; as we parked and went inside we read “drive through only” on the window and knew it wasn’t appropriate for 30 people to go through the drive through. We all left quite upset, but that means we are even more excited to go to the best ice cream place tomorrow (I will let someone else tell you about that!) Now I am sitting in my hotel bed, while my bedmate, Isabel gets her haircut by fellow teammate, Beka, in our bathroom! It has been a very action packed day, and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store! 


Micah Hammond – Novice Man

This is our third day in Clemson and practices have begun to pick up in intensity. After a brief morning discussion and demonstration on catch timings, we were on the water. Thankfully, the sun was behind the clouds for nearly the duration of practice and with the help of a slight breeze throughout, it was the perfect conditions for rowing. The novice men took out three fours today, and I had the joy of being stroke seat of one, followed by Daniel Zawodny, Joe Vitick, and Josh Scotto. We started with a short warmup and some drill work focusing on getting the blade into the water before applying pressure and trying to lift yourself off the seat immediately after the catch; then we finally got to row by all four people together. Given that this was our first real time since fall season rowing all together with nobody to set the boat, I was understandably nervous, as I had a history of flipping boats in high school. Thankfully we were able to avoid flipping the boat, and other than some minor timing problems and handle height issues, the boat was fairly set and felt smooth. We rowed past the Clemson 2k course and nearly 5 km down toward Georgia. After turning around and briefly watching the varsity pass on their way back to the dock, we began 16-minute rate pyramids, starting at 18 spm, peaking at 22 and bringing it back down to 18. During the first of these drills, my boat was passed, not for lack of trying, by the Klein with Mateo, Bryce, Eliot, and Jacob (the only true Jacob on the team if you ask any of the novice men), so heading into the next rate pyramid we were determined to stay ahead. We held a consistent lead for the majority of the pyramid with neither our boat pulling away nor their boat getting closer, up until the final 2 minutes of the piece when our path narrowed and they had to give way to more boats on the lake and fall behind. Thankfully, as my blisters were peeling and I had run out of water long ago, that was our final piece of the day and we were told to head back to the dock, and not a moment too soon because the water that was completely flat earlier was now whipped up into small whitecaps from the wind. Overall, another good practice with some obvious room for improvement. 

Instead of stretching and writing this blog post after practice like someone that plans ahead, I joined some of my team to get lunch at subway followed by a hike to a gorgeous waterfall. The van that I was in, stuffed with just about 15 people, got to the trail considerably earlier than most of the other vans and decided that we would start the hike and meet the other groups at the waterfall. It wasn’t a far hike by any means, a short 1.5 miles or so, but the roots were excessive; I nearly tripped or broke an ankle almost a million times. Only about 20 or so minutes later, we reached the waterfall which completely blew me away. I had been expecting something considerably smaller and more touristy, with some walkway or wood path like I have seen in Michigan. Instead, I was met with a huge waterfall that the path just ends at. The rocks were kind of a pain as they were completely covered by a slimy green alga, and it’s a miracle that I didn’t fall and break anything, despite some very close calls. There were several tiers to the falls and, given a fair amount of effort and a small amount of luck, you could climb up and stand underneath the falling water. After my group got to the falls, it was only about 20 minutes for the rest of the groups to catch up; the entire team enjoyed taking pictures, swimming in the small pools, climbing the falls, trying to find salamanders, and all assortments of other fun activities. But after what felt like no time at all, the rain was closing in and we had to hike back; it felt much farther as all my clothes were now completely soaked and we were trying to hurry to beat the rain.

After a brief shower and change of clothes, the novice men gathered with our coach, Coach Kyle, to discuss individual rowing technique on what we could each improve in our stroke. What was super helpful was that Coach Kyle had taken videos of each of us throughout the row from previous days and compiled it in a folder, so we were able to watch ourselves row and see what we were doing wrong. For me personally, my two main problems are rushing the final bit of the recovery (being in stroke seat certainly didn’t help), and I don’t finish placing my blade until I'm nearly finished with my legs portion of the stroke; I should be able to fix both of these in the following days and move on to any other problems that I have. By the time we were done meeting, the rain had increased from a slight drizzle to a complete downpour - you couldn’t see across the parking lot. So, since it was our time to head to dinner, provided by Southern Wesleyan University's dining hall, our van drivers took one for the team and booked it to the vans and drove to the hotel doors so the majority of us wouldn’t get soaked. The dinner was phenomenal - a buffet style offering of rice, chicken, pizza, hamburgers, and of course an ice-cream corner that I definitely made use of. I was lucky enough for Coach Troy himself to sit next to me, and I made it a point that every time he went to get more food, I would as well, which is no easy feat. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep up and had to clock out at about plate number six, with some ice cream mixed in there too. Following dinner, we all came back to the hotel and I quarantined myself to my corner of the room to get this blog post done. Honestly a great day, and I'm looking forward to the seat racing coming up tomorrow.


Maddie Kelly – Novice Woman

Day three! Our morning began with the team swarming the hotel lobby for breakfast, then we were off to practice. It was a beautiful day for pieces, a comfortable 75° and partly sunny. Today the Novice Women’s team had a set of pieces for morning practice – I believe our very first on the water ever! We rowed by sixes on the square, focusing primarily on technical performance; it felt wonderful to finally apply all that we’ve learned from winter training to the water. They were eight minutes in length with rates varying between 22 and 28 spm. We finished practice with a sprint to the bridges! 

Being the first off of the water, we took quite a few group photos before the other crews got to the trailer – a perfect time to whip out my Polaroid camera. We had a light lunch before heading back to the hotel to get ready for our hike. An hour later, we crammed the vans to drive to Sumter National Forest. The weather worked in our favor! No thunderstorms! It was a beautiful 45-minute hike to reach the precipice: the Yellow Branch Falls. To quote Freddie, it “turned into a photoshoot,” with nearly every rower trying not to slip on the wet rocks. Put simply, it was so much fun! 

We all hiked back, returned to the hotel, and traveled to Southern Wesleyan University to eat dinner. We exchanged laughs, told stories, ragged on each other, and overall had a fantastic day. I can’t wait for the rest of the week!



Categories: Rowing
Posted on Permanent link for GVSU Rowing Club � Spring Break Blogs 2022 - Day 3 � Monday, March 7th on March 8, 2022.

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