Permanent link for GVSU Rowing Club � Spring Break Blogs 2022 - Day 6 � Thursday, March 10th on March 14, 2022

Kyle Emerson – Varsity Man

Today was Thursday, otherwise known as seat racing day for some of the varsity men and women. This morning was a well-needed extra hour of sleep because there was no practice in the morning. I still went down to get some breakfast from the lobby as they were still open, but there was no need to choke down the eggs as I usually find myself doing when we need to leave to get to the docks. Some of the men’s team, both novice and varsity, decided to go to Waffle House as well (you will never guess what I got from WAFFLE House either). My stomach was so full I could barely move, but if there is anything that this sport has taught me, it is that you push through the pain.

A group of rowers decided to go take a tour around the Clemson University campus. There, we saw the towering dorms and classroom buildings which expanded as far as the eye could see. It was crazy to think how people even got around that place to get to class. When we got closer to the Clemson football stadium, we went and found a large patch of grass where we could do various fun things. One of the novice men even brought a spike ball set for people to play. I played with freshman Micah Hammond and together we faced freshmen Bryce Drobnick and Daniel Zawodny in a game to 21 points. The grass was still wet from rain the previous day which led to a lot of my clothes becoming dirty from getting too intense while playing, but I had a blast nevertheless.

After the fun little excursion and making a “quick” trip to Bojangle’s for even MORE food, my roommate Anthony Vrooman and I made a quick turn around to get ready for practice. Seat racing consisted of four 4+ boats, two men’s and two women’s boats. The boats were staggered starting out and each race was 1k up and down the course. After each piece, the men’s and women’s boats each changed their lineups. This required both of the boats to meet together where people could get to their assigned seat. It was definitely awkward maneuvering around at first, but in some weird way it was like a puzzle. After it was all figured out, the boats lined up as per Dan’s instructions and the race commenced. The atmosphere of the practice was tense, as it was simply up to each person in the boat to earn their seat in the varsity 4+ this season, but I was happy that I was given the shot to prove my ability within the boat. This was the first of many seat races which we will do throughout the season to see who will make the boat the fastest when it comes time for Dadvail and ACRA in May. I cannot wait to see how the first season after not having a season last year will turn out!


Haley Clark – Varsity Woman

Hello from South Carolina! Today is Thursday, and so far, there are no bad days at Clemson. The weather hasn't been too chilly, and luckily there has only been one day of rain. Today the high is in the fifties and there is a nice cloud cover - perfect conditions for rowing. We only have one practice today, so it was nice to sleep in a little this morning and get ready for today's task: SEAT RACING. 

I have never seat raced before, but it was quite the experience. We rowed six 1000 meter pieces on Clemson's 2k course, switching boats after each piece. If there is one word I would use to describe what it is like to switch multiple people between two fours, I think I would use chaotic. The first switch was a bit of a hot mess, but by the last one we had all mastered the task of jumping between boats and shimmying up or down the gunnels to our next seat. My first seat race was not the best (I caught a giant crab that almost ejected me from the boat), but by the third piece I was getting my head in the game and the nerves were not as intense as they were when I started. Of the six pieces we did, my best piece was the second to last. I was in the Zelenka with Grace and Maddie G. in the stern, and Rebecca behind me in the bow (along with Steph coxing). It was just a beautiful boat. We kept the rate right where it needed to be, the set was balanced, and you couldn't feel anyone rushing the slide. We have been working on slide control a lot this week, so it is great to see that it is improving! It was just a really good boat, and the first time I have really felt like flying since last spring.

After seat racing, we went to the dining hall for dinner (delicious after a long afternoon of racing), and then we headed to Spill the Beans for ice cream. I thought Get the Scoop back at home was good, but this ice cream was on a level of its own... After that, we went back to the hotel to get cleaned up. A little bit later Stone and I got together to work on the activity for tomorrow night, team KAHOOT! Time to see what we know about the team, and how well we really know each other!

I have missed being in a boat with these girls more than I think I realized, and I have been waiting for this week since September. I almost didn't come back after missing the entire fall season due to an injury, but I am so glad I pushed through erging all winter to make it to the spring. We have all been putting in the work, and now we get to put it into action on the water. I can't wait to see what I can pull this season, and I can't wait to see what the Laker Navy can achieve together.


Daniel Zawodny – Novice Man

Today is Thursday, March 10. We have been in Clemson since Saturday morning, and boy have the days flown by. The novice men had seat-racing Wednesday morning, and I am content with how it went. We had the morning session off today, which means we are entering the last third of our training trip. With the morning off, I slept in and then eventually made my way to Waffle House with 14 other crew mates for a hearty breakfast. 

After breakfast, we walked back to the hotel, quickly changed, and then drove to the Clemson University campus. On campus, we strolled around for half an hour before joining up with another group of rowers out exploring campus. Together, we made our way to the Clemson football stadium and then found an empty grassy space where we set up Spikeball. Once we had relieved our energy, we ventured back to the vans. Before heading back to the hotel, we stopped by Bojangles for breakfast.

At afternoon practice, I was in a pair (2-) with Mateo, my childhood best friend who has rowed with me since freshman year of high school. The novice men took out two pairs and an eight. We warmed up, and then did some stationary drills, focusing on timing through the recovery and placing together. After timing drills, we rowed steady state for 15 minutes with a few bursts mixed in, and then made our way over to the buoyed 2k course.      

On our first lap down the course, we rowed at race pace for 500m, paddled for 500m, and then took the last 1k at race pace to complete the course. We then rowed back to the start line and waited for the course to clear for our second lap and last piece of the practice session. As the water became busier, so did the 2k course. We set off on our 1500m piece, but my boat (Nancy L Lubbers) was being concussed by the wake from the many launches now saturating the water. Mateo and I did our best to row clean at rate, but we had been thrown off our groove. However, we would soon find ourselves in an awkward situation. The 8+ was in lane 1, the second pair was in lane 2 and Mateo and I were in lane 3. The Clemson women had rowed down lanes 1-2 from the finish line down the course towards the start line. No traffic pattern had been established or communicated to all coaches, and so our 8 and other pair were rowing head on towards the incoming women’s crews. Both other crews had to stop in the middle of their pieces; however, I kept Mateo and I rowing since our lane was clear. We finished our 1500m piece and then docked. 

After practice, we got into our transit vans and made our way to Southern Wesleyan University for dinner. I had 3 plates of food and a bowl of ice cream while conversing with other rowers sitting at my table. After dinner concluded, we got into the vans to either make our way back to the hotel or to go get ice cream. My van voted to go back to the hotel since the dining hall had free ice cream and showers held a higher priority. 

I can’t believe it’s already Thursday night; this trip has been flying by. I am looking forward to building speed in the novice 8+ during tomorrow’s practice sessions before the 2k we have on Saturday against the other crews down here. 


Emily Fredericks – Novice Woman

There are no bad days in Clemson! I started the day at 8am, waking up way more tired than I should have been despite getting 2 more hours of sleep than normal. After sitting in bed for 30 minutes and waking my roommate up (sorry Lyssa), I ran downstairs in my pajamas to snag breakfast. I know I should have eaten healthier, but the frootloops were calling my name and I couldn’t resist. After breakfast, I hopped in a van, and we visited the rock museum and botanical gardens. At the museum, we spent a lot of time in the gift shop looking at crystals. Syd, our personal crystal connoisseur, taught a small group of us how to tell if you need a crystal spiritually. We gradually dispersed around the museum, looking at the dark room of fluorescent rocks, dinosaur bones, and crystals. At the botanical garden we all got into small groups and wandered the grounds. My group ended up following and feeding a small flock of ducks. After feeding the ducks, we decided we were also hungry and went back for lunch at Tropical Grille. 

Practice was really productive today for the novice women. We practiced rowing by 8 for one of the first times in months, learning to set the boat at different rates. While we had a couple of really good strokes, we mostly leaned towards port. Setting the boat is definitely something to work on, but it is great to see the improvements that we have already made. 

After eating dinner at SWU, most of the team piled into vans to go to Spill the Beans, the best ice cream place near Clemson. Because the line was out the door, we played song association as we waited to order. This time, I asked the employee what her favorite flavor combination was and ordered that. I ended up with a banana creme base with peanut butter, which was amazing. We all relaxed in the parlor before heading back to the hotel. A couple of my teammates and I reviewed some videos of us rowing with Coach Adam so that we can improve later this week before heading back to our room to stretch out and do some yoga poses. All in all, it was a fun day of running around Clemson, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the week goes. 



Categories: Rowing
Posted by Seth Williams on Permanent link for GVSU Rowing Club � Spring Break Blogs 2022 - Day 6 � Thursday, March 10th on March 14, 2022.

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