Permanent link for GVSU Rowing Club � Spring Break Blogs 2022 - Day 2 � Sunday, March 6th on March 7, 2022

Sam Sommerdyke – Varsity Man

Today is our second day out at Clemson. We checked into the hotel last night, and I immediately fell asleep. Having a bed has never been more appreciated. I woke up a little groggy, but that’s just because I slept for so long. I began the day with breakfast at the hotel at 7am, and practice started at 8:20am or so. I was surprised by the quality of the food for a hotel. Before we got on the water, coach Dan emphasized proper form when working through our sequence. My boat was a little funky this morning because we had two coxswains rowing with us to fill out the boat! I was in a four with Carlos and Josie switching between coxing and rowing halfway through. We had drill work for the first half of the practice. We worked on pausing at mid thigh, when our hips aligned with our shoulders, half slide and finally built up to full slide. For the second half of practice, Carlos switched to rowing, and we rowed Clemson’s alternate 2k course. I thought that the course was pretty cool, and I had never seen a real 2k course until today because this is my first official spring season. It reminded me of what I have seen in the Olympics. Coach Dan gave me some advice on my finish and recovery speed when we were on the course, and then we brought it back to the dock. After lunch, I relaxed in my room and played some video games. 

Our second practice was much shorter, starting around 4pm and finishing at 5:30pm. It was ridiculously warm for this practice - 76 degrees and very sunny, so everyone was spraying sunscreen on each other while coach Dan went over our practice plan and lineups. I let one of my teammates, Anthony, borrow my sunglasses because he forgot his, and in exchange he sprayed my back! I was 3 seat in a boat of 7, and we rowed the other Clemson course that had a view of the football stadium. We got waked big-time by a surf boat, but I didn’t mind at all because it was so hot. Being with coach Dan both practices was very helpful because he gave a lot of pointers on my form in real time. He also told me to rearrange my spacers to make it easier to tap down, so I’ll be fixing that tomorrow. Dinner was really good - pasta and burgers! I’m glad I didn’t take a nap in between practices so I can go to bed on time tonight. I'm tired, but a good kind of tired.


Jo Patterson – Varsity Woman

Today I woke up at 7:00am after a great night of sleep! For hotel breakfast, I had scrambled eggs, sausage, strawberries, and cinnamon bread. The cinnamon bread was absolutely wonderful, so I stashed some in my practice bag for later. The strawberries were also huge, and I had to finish them in the van as we drove to the first practice of the day. After getting badly sunburnt yesterday, I lathered myself in aloe and sunscreen before the row. Luckily it was also a little chilly so I was able to keep covered with a long sleeve too. The varsity women kept the same lineups as yesterday - I sat 4 seat in the Schintzel. The focus today was on the recovery of our stroke. With coach Troy, we spent the first half of practice doing reverse pick drills. Afterwards, we had time for some steady state by sixes down the 2k course. Beka, my pair partner, and I spent a good amount of time marveling at how straight the buoys were and the fact that they weren’t sun bleached at all. Once off the water at 10:30am, we put everything away, grabbed some sandwiches from the trailer, and headed back to the hotel.

I made the decision to stay in my practice clothes for the rest of the day as we hurried out the door to lunch, stuffing my leftover cinnamon bread into my mouth while walking down to the van that was heading to Which Wich. However, on our way to Which Wich, we were stopped at a red light and spied Tropical Grill (your health alternative) and made the executive decision to eat there instead. I ordered a salmon bowl and had the best pita bread of my life. It was truly amazing. With a Dunkin across the parking lot, a couple of us could not resist the temptation of iced coffee. I had some leftovers from lunch that I happily took back to my hotel room and am about to enjoy right after I finish writing this.

With 3 hours until our next practice, I decided to read my book and photosynthesize by the window as my roommates napped. I only got a couple chapters in before I fell asleep on the floor. For practice pt. 2, I only had to grab my bag and head downstairs, once again shoving food into my mouth as I left - this time a PB&J. The varsity women were with coach Troy again, but this time in small boats. We took out six pairs and two fours. Sitting bow in one of the fours, I had my lovely roommate, Reilly, as my pair partner. It was a little wavy, but we went over to a secluded little part of the lake, sheltered from the wind. There, we went in continuous circles with waggle drills to work on our individual technical issues. We got to add in the feather too! I have trouble with dropping my outside shoulder at the catch, so I focused all of my attention on that. We were only on the water for about an hour before it was time to head back in for dinner.

 At the dining hall, I piled spaghetti, meatballs, and broccoli onto my plate. I got a couple comments about my excessive number of meatballs, but I did eat them all. After my plate was clean, I helped myself to a bowl of fruit and ice cream. For ice cream, I scooped cookies-and-cream ice cream into a bowl, put a healthy amount of chocolate chips on top, and added a cone as well. It’s delicious! Back in the van, we discussed and laughed about the “DID SOMEONE SAY EGGNOG ?!?” sign posted in the breakfast nook of the hotel. I still have no idea why it is there and what it means. If anyone has any clue, please let me know. Right after getting out of the vans, we had our meeting in the lobby to discuss expectations for the spring season and got the spring break guides. Everyone had a good laugh while reading them before heading up to our rooms. I chatted with my roommates for a while and now am heading to shower and go to bed. Goodnight everyone, I hope your first full day in Clemson was as good as mine!

Sebastian Daughty – Novice Man

Hey everyone! To briefly introduce myself I am Sebastian, or Seabass/Sebas/Seabas, and I did row in high school but only for the spring season; now that that’s out the way, let's get into the stuff you came here to read. The morning practice session was actually really necessary because I still felt rusty from not being on the water; the single pause, double pause, and half feather drills really helped with knocking that rust off a little more. Today I was 4 seat in the 8 which is about where I’m used to sitting; I particularly enjoy 4 seat because as we rotate pairs, I end up setting the stroke rate. It gives me time to fix what I feel is wrong and really focus on my form by slowing the rate down a half-beat or so. We went up and down the 2k course 3 or 4 times. Each time we went down the lane, we would implement the drill work; on the way back to the start, we would steady state row. By the end of morning practice, I was ready to just take a load off and relax back at the hotel. 


However, rather than taking a load off at the hotel, I decided to go shopping at Walmart with a van full of other guys. The day prior, I had a total of 7 blisters on my right hand, and I knew I couldn't just leech off of one of the other guys’ athletic tape and bandaids. After spending what felt like a fortune at Walmart (really starting that whole “broke college student” saying) we went to one of South Carolina’s fast-food restaurants, Zaxby’s. This was my first time having Zaxby’s and honestly, I wasn’t disappointed – but to be fair, who can mess up a signature chicken sandwich and fries. Also, on a side note, I probably hit my head on the lamp above our table at least 3 times; for those of you who don’t know, I am within the range of 6’3”-6’6” (I stopped paying attention two years ago when the doctor said I was 6’3”.) When we got back to the hotel, I decided to be a little productive and get some homework done. When I finished, I played this mafia-like card game with a handful of other rowers that was actually pretty fun! Granted, I did only play one round, but each game takes one night and rounds typically last about 10 minutes, give or take a few. Afterwards, I got ready to head to afternoon practice. 


For afternoon practice, we were focused on the feather and the path the blade takes as you feather. Coach Kyle had told us after morning practice that we had to study a diagram about the path of the blade as you feather and square; we had to be able to explain this diagram because coach was going to draw one of our names from a hat and that person had to explain to everyone else what the diagram was showing us. Luckily, even though I was fully prepared, my name was not drawn, and instead our coxswain Brendan had to explain it. Once that short presentation was over, we were ready to get on the water and actually practice what we were just taught. Once again, I was 4 seat in the 8. While my feathering didn’t improve how I had hoped it would, it did put the idea in my head of how feathering should look; I knew that if I kept thinking about it, I would soon be able to feather like a varsity rower. Towards the end of practice as we were on our way back to the docks, coach Kyle let us row by 8 which went about how you’d expect. But that’s what practice is all about, and by the end of this trip I guarantee we’ll be back in the swing of things.


Sydney McNeill – Novice Woman

This morning was our first wake-up in Clemson! It was a perfect temperature out, making it a great morning to get out on the water and get some work done. The novice women took out an 8+ and worked a lot on lengthening our stroke. From the coxswain seat, I led some bob drills at the catch to work on this and with each bob, the girls reached further and further. After we finished drills, we moved on to practicing just rowing in the lanes on the 2k course. This was my first time steering on a 2k course, and I was a bit nervous at first because being surrounded by buoys is a little intimidating. However, I survived and was able to go through the course without hitting any of the buoys! The girls did great on the course too, took instruction well, and really focused on lengthening and reaching at the catch. We have been rowing on the square for the first few practices so at one point during our morning practice, we went to the feather just to see where we were at. We still need to work on balance and tapping down at the same time along with having control up to the catch, but I have no doubt that these girls can do it. 

After practice, we had some downtime. I used this time to chill and decompress a bit. I still am trying to recover from not getting a good night's sleep during the trip down, so I really enjoyed just laying around and doing nothing. I even took some time to go out and lay in the sun! 

For our second practice of the day, it was beautiful out. The sun was shining, and we had a nice breeze. The novice women's team was able to put in more miles out on the water this practice. We kept our focus on lengthening our strokes and our catches. It was a nice night to be out on the water and just row. After practice we got dinner, then came back to the hotel for our spring break meeting where we got our spring break guides which were super fun to read! Overall, it was a great day here in Clemson.


Categories: Rowing
Posted by Seth Williams on Permanent link for GVSU Rowing Club � Spring Break Blogs 2022 - Day 2 � Sunday, March 6th on March 7, 2022.

View all Blog entries

Page last modified March 7, 2022