This entry is a continuation of a previous post: catch up here GRP ROW- 2018 Season Update (Part 2)
Part III: GAINESVILLE, GA TRAINING CAMP
The GRP rowers have been training in Gainesville, GA at Lake Lanier Olympic Park for a little over two weeks. When we arrived in Atlanta on the evening of March 14th, we were greeted by a familiar face – Joe Ledvina – a recently retired elite sculler – who, while competing, trained at Potomac Boat Club after his four years as an oarsman at Georgetown University. Joe graciously picked us up from the airport and made us a hearty pasta dinner. Thanks to Joe, we had a place to store our boat trailer and passenger van (Moby) when we left Florida to train in Craftsbury for a few weeks. Thank you Joe!
Since arriving, we’ve been getting in productive and focused training – mostly in singles – in preparation for NSR I; but, occasionally, we’ve had a few rows in the 2x and 4x as well. The weather and water in Gainseville are cooperating nicely. We’ve had some flat water days, and some rough water days; and, ultimately, both are helping us become better scullers. We’re now only two weeks away from racing at National Selection Regatta I (NSR I) on April 17 – 20.
NSR I is a USRowing Senior Team selection event for the heavyweights (M1x and W1x) and a speed order for lightweights (LW1x) which means that the winner of each heavyweight/openweight event will be qualified to race at any FISA World Cup I, II, or III, and the Speed Order events will have the opportunity to petition to go to a World Cup, depending on their finish order. In order to be named to the 2018 Senior National Team, and go to World Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, however, the athlete must place in the top 6 at a World Cup. If there are fewer than 12 entries in the event, however, a finish in the top 50% of the field is required.
Other than thinking about racing, the team has been forming good relationships with the Gainesville Rowing community. For one of our group community service projects, we helped install and remove starting platforms for the 6-lane race course under the direction of John Ferris – coach & assistant Executive Director at LLRC, and a lifelong contributor to the sport of rowing – for the John Hunter Regatta. We had a GRP-led yoga classes for the Saratoga and LLRC juniors this week; and, plan on having at least one more class for them before heading north next week. Collectively, we’ve been working on fixing the ergs at the boathouse and YMCA, taking on recycling efforts, and organizing plans to revive the beehives at the COC.
We’ve been getting in solid strength-training sessions at the local YMCA – focusing on movements and anti-movements aimed to increasing power output on the water. We’ve been making new friends – like Mario – a LLRC member who, in 1961, got to row for the first time in an eight-person shell in his home country of Cuba. Since then, he’s been hooked; and, now has a single of his own in which he rows as much as he can out on Lake Lanier. Mario is just one of the many people that have enriched our training camp experience with his kind smile, and hunger for competition.
On Easter Sunday, Bob and Julie Mudd – two of the amazing junior parents at LLRC – invited the Saratoga juniors, ARION rowers and us, to lunch at their Adventures in Missions business not too far from the boat house. We felt the love, and the southern hospitality, as soon as we arrived on the 40-acre property where rows of outdoor tables were prepared for a feast fit for rowers. Pastel-colored cups, DIY sweet tea and lemonade in large glass drink dispensers were set outside, while inside waiting for us were troughs of sliced salty ham, deviled eggs, strawberry salad, cheesy potatoes, homemade rolls, and green beans – all prepared by the Mudd family. Feeding a group of 70 + people is no small task. Thank you for your generosity – everything was amazing!
Following lunch, we held an Easter egg hunt for the juniors. It was up to them to find the 250 candy-filled eggs we hid moments before their arrival. We went high, low, and everywhere in between by utilizing tree branches, tail pipes, storm drains, and on top of door-frames. At the end of the hunt, participants counted their eggy cachés – some stashed the eggs in pockets or scarves, while others removed their shoes in order to hold their egg treasures. One lucky junior girl found the prized golden egg – kudos! From the bottom of our hearts and happy bellies – thank you again to the Mudd family, LLRC Juniors, and Saratoga Rowing for inviting the GRP to join in on your Easter lunch. We had a great time.
Our week ended with speed-work in singles. Friday morning we simulated race day with a 1900 m time trial; two hours later, we lined up in two heats for an all- out 2000-meter piece. As we take steps forward in our training, we humbly take time to thank the people that have so graciously helped us so far this year.
Special shout-out this week goes out to The Mudd Family, The LLRC Junior Team (plus Coach Tracy!), The Saratoga Juniors & The ARION Scullers (don’t forget Coach Eric Catalano), and to our own hard-working coaches Steve Whelpley and Troy Howell. As always, thank you to our amazing team of supporters : Craftsbury Outdoor Center, Concept2, JL Racing, and Julbo Eyewear.