Spring Training: Day 5

Wendy Ballent (Varsity Woman)

Major: Civil Engineering

Hometown:  Naperville, Illinois

Our last day on the water was the perfect culmination to a long, hard week of spring training. Our morning practice included mixed novice/varsity boats and we did a variety of drills up and down the 2k course. The coaches even let us pick our favorite drill to end the practice. Katy Longee and I (stroke pair for the morning) chose a juggling drill, where you switch holding the oar with either hand. After our morning practice, we headed back to the hotel to rest and carb-up for the impending scrimmage between the novice and varsity for our afternoon practice.

1:45PM came faster than any of us were ready for, but the women loaded up the minivans and drove back to the river for the last time. The novice women and varsity women split into separate boats and prepared ourselves for three brutal races that could only have one winner. The excitement was tangible as we shoved off the dock and our coxswain, Christine, steered us to the course. The varsity and novice boats lined up at the end of the line of buoys marking out the 2k course, and we all sat up at our catch awaiting our start. Our coach started us with a “3, 2, 1, ATTENTION, ROW”, and we were off. The varsity women appropriately put the novice women in their place in every one of the races, though I have to admit that it would have been a little embarrassing if we had lost. It was great to feel all our hard work come together as our boat glided across the waves and our oars clicked together with every stroke. Christine urged us on with a power-ten for tater-tots, and even worked a few food puns into her coxing (some highlights included “You guys are hungry rowers…hungry for victory!” and “make them eat your wake!”). After our races, we paddled back to the dock and put the boats away for the last time. Before leaving the river, we gathered all the women together, stripped down to our sports bras and spandex, and did our own “polar plunge” into the icy river. The Navy men erging by the docks did not object. About 0.1 seconds later, we all scrambled back on to the dock and took one final dripping-wet picture. We ended our 2014 spring break as a stronger, faster, unified team.

Spring Training: Day 4

Jacob Dahleen (Varsity Man)

Major: Computer Engineering

Hometown: Manitowoc, WI

Greetings from Oak Ridge!

Wednesday was a great day here with the Marquette rowing team, making the most of everything that gets thrown our way. While the first three workout days here brought us near perfect weather, things started to get a little worse on Wednesday. The morning was the warmest we experienced, but the wind started to pick up as novice practice ended and varsity practice started.

During morning practice we put some work in on our starts and the set. After the warm up and some drills we did some five-and-glides and managed to have several solid ones with perfect set. After that we worked on starts, and they also went well with novice man Cristian in the varsity men's 4+ and Annie from the varsity women filling in as our coxswain. Annie performed particularly well, even with no working cox box in our boat, she still managed to make herself heard. We finished off the morning with some of our cleanest rowing on a long piece back to the boathouse even as the wind continued to pick up.

In the afternoon the wind was too strong and kept us off the water. Instead of rowing we completed what has affectionately become known as "fat camp" among several of the rowers. The coaches organized a series of stations for us to complete a variety of ab, leg, and arm workouts. While everyone was tired and the workouts were challenging we managed to complete all of them with our spirit intact.

In the evening we enjoyed the traditional team dinner at Big Ed's Pizza, taking over their dining room and enjoying lots and lots of pizza.

Spring is almost here!

Spring Training: Day 2

Hattie Van Metre (Novice Woman)

Major(s): Political Science and Economics

Hometown: Edina, Minnesota

After finally getting our sea-legs back, the novice teams parted from the varsity to work in our individual squads. The men and women each took out an 8-boat and began to work on our drive to recovery ratio. We started with the classic pick drill and inches drill and then worked on our body swing and position with the cut-the-cake drill. During our longer pieces we brought it up to all eight on the feather to get back to working as a team. It was a bit rocky after being on the ergs for so long, but with focus and confidence we found our groove, surprising ourselves with the improvement we have made. Coming off the water there was a collective excitement for the practices to come.

After I beat Yousif on the car ride home, we gorged ourselves on carbs, carbs and more carbs. Once we got our less than satisfying naps, we went back for PM practice. We fought what felt like 20 foot waves and still managed to return unscathed. We got our first taste of spring racing when we took to the lanes and scrimmaged against each other. Shout-out to Ale, one of the novice men’s coxswain, for her first race cox and victory (one she hasn’t let me forget yet). The highlight of the day had to be the 40 minute run along the course. We scaled the “mountains” of Tennessee as a team, pushing each other with every step. Although Monday brought us blistering heat we finally gave in to applying sunscreen and loved every minute of soaking up the sun.


Spring Training: Day 3

Yousif Maizy (Novice Man)

Major: Biochemistry

Hometown: Detroit, Michigan

On the third day of Spring Training the Novice Men were able to practice with the Varsity Men. I was in the four, with Dan from the Varsity Men's team as my stroke seat. Being in the four was a bit difficult at first with having boat set, since there are less people in the boat, which puts more pressure on each individual person. I learned that it was important to always be attentive and prepared to do whatever my coxswain commands.

From the launch, our coaches, Megan and Gina, worked on making sure our hands were quickly moving down and away, so that we had plenty of time to not rush our legs back to the catch. We did a drill called "the goldilocks drill". In this drill we had to do twenty strokes as fast as we could, without tipping the boat… After the twenty fast strokes, we did twenty strokes as slow as possible. My boat was able to reach 46 strokes per minute (SPM) for the fast twenty strokes, and 8.5 SPM for the slow twenty strokes. The whole point of doing the fast strokes and slow strokes was to feel the difference between having rush and no rush at all. So after these forty strokes we dropped down to a normal SPM, and made sure there was no rush in the boat for the rest of the practice. All in all, the rush was a very important topic for the whole team.

As the day was very hot compared to the Milwaukee weather we have all been accustomed to, a lot of the Novice Men believed that we deserved a treat, so we had McDonald's for dinner. Overall, Tuesday's hot practice was very important to a lot of the Novice, and I am sure we all will benefit from the drills that were practiced. I can't wait to be back on the water.

Spring Training: Day 1

Katie Turek (Varsity Woman)

Major(s): Speech Pathology and Spanish

Hometown: Chicago, Il

Day 1 of MU Crew's Spring Training in Oak Ridge, Tennessee was a great success! After months of indoor erging in snowy Milwaukee, we were eager to get on the water and enjoy a little sun. The Women's squads took out two mixed boats, putting both Varsity and Novice in each lineup. The goals of practice were posture and timing, so the coaches, Gina and Megan, incorporated lots of pause drills into the workout. They threw in an extra challenge by keeping us on the square for the majority of the row.

When we docked the boat, our practice was far from over! Gina and Megan had a circuit ready for us that our team has named "Fat Camp." After some minimal whining, the women ran a 2-mile course, completed an ab circuit, and inch-wormed and frog-jumped down the river. We then piled into our vans to enjoy our break at the hotel until our second practice of the day began.

All in all, it was a fantastic start to spring training. Every squad is excited to make the most of our time on the water and in the sun. With hard work and positive attitudes (and plenty of food), the rest of the week is sure to be just as great for MU Crew.


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