Spring Training 2015: Day 2


Rachael Tank '18 (Novice Women)

Major: Writing Intensive English

Hometown: Indian Head Park, IL

Its only my second day on the water but the amount of progress that has been made since yesterdays practice is beyond fantastic. At this mornings practice, the novice women and I got a taste of what spring season is going to be like and also what it will be like to be a rower on varsity next year.

We arrived at the boathouse before sunrise and prepared our boats for our first round of practice which consisted of catching drills and focusing on maximizing our leg power. During our second round of practice, we got to race on the course against our teammates and I could tell that the anticipation for spring season is growing stronger with every stroke we take. At the end of the day, when we have reached levels of exhaustion we never thought we could reach, we push ourselves even more to fight beyond the limits our coaches expect of us.

Day by day, stroke by stroke, we are becoming the rowers we always envisioned we will become, but we will never lose our insatiable desire to improve ourselves. I can tell that every aspect of rowing has brought out the best in us and everything we have worked for so far this year, and on this trip, has been completely worth it. I think thats one of the best parts about being rower. It never takes more than it gives back. 

Spring Training 2015: Day 1


Elliott Sarich ’16 (Varsity Men)

Major: Electrical Engineering

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Today, March 8th, was the first day of our yearly spring break trip to Oak Ridge, Tennessee. This is my 6th trip to Tennessee for rowing and I have to say, every time I’ve been here has been completely different. It’s a great change of pace to go from doing nothing but erging and hiding from Milwaukee’s nasty weather for months at a time to finally getting in a boat again, and having a little bit of sun and heat.

Waking up at 6:30 (as opposed to our usual 4AM wake up call for practice) made me feel like a million bucks. Although the novice probably do not agree with me, we all managed to wake up and load up the van to drive down to the course. In my head, it was just going to be another practice with a few new faces, a new setting and nothing to do all day but think about rowing and enjoy the “break” from school. We were all a little bit rusty from the long drive the day before, but warming up with a quick jog and a few other things helped get us physically and mentally ready for the day. All of my expectations for this trip went right out the window as soon as we sat down in our boat and pushed away from the dock. Our first practice went well, but about halfway through, it was very apparent that everyone was exhausted from the day before. The steady-state rowing we did was a great way to get out some initial jitters but was tougher than expected.

Everything seemed like it did a 180 during the second practice of the day. Everyone was in a much better mood and practice just felt much smoother. Even our two brand new novice rowers looked and felt better. The fear and dread that came from the morning was gone now and we can all turn our focus to the reason we are here: to become better rowers and athletes for our team and for ourselves.

Now I know right now, as I sit in my room writing this, our coach is sitting in her room next door laughing maniacally about what we have to do tomorrow. I think getting into the rhythm of the day today will be the hardest part of our trip and whatever is thrown at us during the week, should be a lot better as it progresses.  I hope we can all keep having a good time while we learn a lot about ourselves, others and the sport that we put a lot of time into. I can say without a doubt that I’m really excited for the days to come and hope for nothing but the best.

“Life is not so much about beginnings and endings as it is about going on and on and on. It is about muddling through the middle.” Anna Quindlen

Joining Rowing Spring Semester

Lucas Henk '17 (Varsity Men)

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Hometown: River Falls, WI

As the start of spring semester arrives, people get to come back to school with a semester of experience already. They know more of what to expect for the school year. Last year, I was in the same position. I just came back to school from winter break and was ready for classes to start up again. Everything was going as planned, until I went to the spring O-Fest held in the AMU. One of my friends from first semester had told me about the Crew team he was on and had been trying to get me to join the team. I had refused to join all of first semester because I wasn’t sure I wanted to join the team. I wanted to figure out school first.

At O-Fest in the spring, I looked at some clubs and was thinking that I should get involved in a club that was a sport. I stopped by the swimming booth and a few others, but nothing really caught my eye. Eventually I ran into the crew booth where my friend was, along with another friend I knew. They started talking to me and telling me about how great crew was and how much I should join. I ended up talking to them for about two hours. I finally told them that I would sign up and join the crew team. This ended up having a huge influence on my life and I didn’t know it at the time.

I went to practice the next day to see what it was all about. The whole time I was wondering what they would do for practice since it was the middle of January. They had practice in the Academic Support Facility’s basement where they had these rowing machines called ergs. I had no clue what to do. I was introduced to everyone on the team and the coaches. The coaches asked me if I had rowed before and I told them I had no idea about anything. They quickly sat me on an erg and had me try it out. I attempted to row with only my arms, because rowing in my mind was all upper body. Boy was I wrong. They showed me that rowing was more legs than arms. I quickly picked up the basics for how to row and had to practice my form for a while. After the team had done their practice, we all went to eat. We all got a large table in McCormick, got our food and talked about rowing mostly.

>After a couple days of practice, I started to do the work outs with the team and jumped right into being part of the team. My teammates were a great group of guys who accepted me pretty quickly. It was more of a family than a team. So for five days a week we would practice indoors. This was weird for me, because rowing is actually an outdoor sport on a river and here I was doing stuff inside. I had no experience on the water or how different it was than being on land.

I wouldn’t get to row an actual boat until spring break when the team traveled down to Tennessee. We went to Tennessee for a week of rowing in a boat experience which was brand new to me. Getting on the water for the first time was one of the coolest experiences of my life. It is just so different from being on an erg. You actually move along the river and use an oar. Being on the water was a pivotal moment for me where I really decided that I was going to stick with this sport.

Looking back, joining crew in the spring was one of the best decisions I have made. I gained new friends, kept in very good shape and was a part of something that was more than a club. It’s a tough sport to be in, but I believe it is worth it. As of now I have only been in Crew for a year, but it had really changed my life. Crew is a great sport to join and I highly recommend it.


Rowing in the Tanks

Hannah Mullett ’16 (Varsity Women)

Major: Writing Intensive English

Hometown: Wabash, IN

On Saturday February 21, I had the opportunity to travel with teammates and a few coaches to Madison. We met up with St. Charles and were fortunate enough to practice in the tanks. Coming from small town Indiana, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this practice. I’m currently in my third year of rowing, so I was really excited to experience something knew. I remember the first time we were at Madison for Midwinter Meltdown. The novice women’s coach, Gina, showed me the tanks. My immediate response was, “When can we get some of these?”

It’s kind of difficult to explain the reactions of my teammates and myself when we first walked in. Everyone was off the wall excited, talking, and wanting to touch everything. We knew it was going to be a different experience, but we were ready to have a blast putting in the work. We were first split up into three different groups for the three stations that we would rotate through, two times each, throughout the duration of practice. The tanks are split in two halves: one side being all starboard, the other being all port. The third station was erging; the part of practice where we were told to “sweat a little more.” I started out on the starboard side, which is the side that I normally row in the boat, so I felt comfortable before we started. We began with simple drill work allowing us to get used to the feeling of the tanks. It was weird at first; to feel the water, but not actually move anywhere. Then we switched to port, which I’ve only rowed a few times, and I felt like I forgot how to hold the oar altogether. It didn’t end up being as bad as what it was when we started, but I definitely needed to pay closer attention to the minute details on that side. The drills allowed us to work on our drive and applying pressure like we would on the water while simultaneously forcing us to be conscious of blade work. The ergs are so different from the boats, and a lot of times during the winter season we lose the blade technique. After being on the ergs for so long, it was crucial to get a break and do some work with the oars. Focusing on technique for the entire practice time was really beneficial. Each rower sat in a different spot each rotation, which doesn’t typically happen during normal practices. It was really cool to see the improvement in everyone’s strokes by the end of practice. I haven’t been that sore in a really long time, but that’s the best part. At practice the following Monday, everyone was saying how sore they were. It’s the most satisfying part of rowing. When you’re sore, you know you worked hard. Hard work means getting better, and getting better means doing well in
races which is something that this entire team is striving for.

Madison’s facility is unbelievably nice, and I’m very happy and thankful that our team had the opportunity to travel there. I greatly appreciate Madison allowing us to use their boathouse for practice. It was an experience that allowed us all as a team to learn from. I also want to put in a quick thank you to St. Charles. Without them, we would not have been able to go. Thank you thank you thank you to all the coaches, rowers, and coxswains. We really enjoyed working with you guys! I sincerely hope we get to share this experience again in the future!

Alex's Lemonade Stand, Northwestern Mutual, and MU Crew - A Winning Partnership

Mary Cordes '17 (Varsity Women)

Major: Political Science & History

Hometown: Houston, Texas

This fall, I had the opportunity to serve as Fundraising Chair on the board for our team. I leapt at this chance because I know that fundraising is a key part of how our team can continue to afford to operate and travel to compete. In addition to raising money for the team to spend, I also am in charge of our team philanthropy. It is tradition that every year Marquette Rowing chooses a charity to give back to as a team. My job as Fundraising Chair is to pick a charity among the many suggested by our rowers and then have the entire team vote to decide where we will concentrate our efforts. We seek to raise money and awareness on Marquette’s campus and in the Milwaukee community. In the past, we have chosen charities that our rowers are involved in or charities based in the Milwaukee area. This year was a little special for us. We unanimously chose to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, an organization that raises money for childhood cancer research. We chose Alex’s Lemonade Stand because it hits close to home for the team this year, as one of our rowers’ siblings is battling leukemia. Each fall brings a new class of Novice rowers, and Kaitlin, one of our Novice Women from Seattle, has a younger sister who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. Once we knew, it was an easy choice. The entire squad wanted to do anything we could to help our teammate.

As a fate would have it, our Novice Women’s coach Gina Pagán is a Financial Representative at Northwestern Mutual, and Northwestern Mutual’s corporate charity is Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Coach Gina told her coworkers what our team wanted to do, and we received an immense amount of support from the Northwestern Mutual Greater Milwaukee office. The office has partnered with us to put on events, like our Erging for the Eagles fundraiser, where we erg outside of the Marquette basketball games to raise money for our philanthropic efforts. With Northwestern Mutual’s help and the enthusiasm of the team for such a great cause, we raised a record-breaking amount of money this fall.

This cause brought all of our squads together in a way that fundraising has never done for the team before. Any rower will tell you the crew is the ultimate team sport. I can truly say that I have never witnessed how strong our team bonds are until I saw every one of our rowers shivering outside of a basketball game with a genuine smile on their face, asking for donations to Alex’s Lemonade Stand. I honestly believe that our fundraising numbers were so high because our team wants to do everything they can to support Kaitlin and her family,  as she is one of our Marquette Crew family. That being said, I see a bright future for the partnership between Marquette Crew, Northwestern Mutual, and Alex’s Lemonade Stand. More information on Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation can be found on their website, in case you’re curious about all of the great work that they do. To those of you who have supported us this year, I want to thank you on behalf of the board and the team!


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