|The News Page: 2006 Spring Break|
A new place, an enormous warehouse, and a 12 mile round trip of flat river to row each practice was the setting for this years spring break training. The team showed up to the Conshohocken location early on Monday morning coming fresh off a decent showing at Flick #4. The crews were a bit surprised by the new spot, but were quick to make their mark on it as if it were their own. The freshmen women quickly took over a back room in the warehouse for themselves. The varsity took over the porch area as the freshmen men explored around to find out how much space there really was.
The Varsity Men quickly recalled the practices from last year. The Varsity Women were being introduced to that same training program. Day 1 involved three practices. By the end of the day, the men had rowed 30 miles and the women had gotten in 24 of their own. The JV Men and Women were also training rigorously in this April's beautiful weather. It was interesting to see all of the crews facing off and working extremely hard.
The Freshmen Men and Women stepped up their enormous climb towards understanding the rowing stroke. They had twice the time learning to row this week than they had the weeks before. There was a drastic difference in how the freshmen crews were moving between the beginning and end of the week. We should be seeing more competitive freshmen LM crews in the next few weeks of races. For the Varsity, it was a grueling week that saw an enormous amount of jumpies, pushups, situps, hills, and rowing (a little more than 100 miles for the men 70 miles for the women). The large amounts of miles rowed are essential for the crews to flow together.
I am sure that the food bills for the parents drastically increased this week. We, the coaching staff, apologize. I think that I know how much it increased. For the Wednesday afternoon event, I bought pizza for the entire team. We started with 23 pizzas, and all that was left after the team ravaged the boxes was 7 slices.
When the week came to a close, the athletes were exhausted, the coaches were exhausted, I even think that the boats themselves were exhausted. There was nothing left for any of the crews to do on the water, as beautiful as it was. The trailer was loaded and packed up and the athletes got a nice three day weekend.
On Thursday, Coaches Mike Wood, Regan Broderick, and I went to Boathouse Row to tow the damaged boat from Sunday's race back from St. Joe's Prep Boathouse. The Prep was kind enough to hold on to it until we could come and get it. As soon as we started to take the launch up river, we all knew that going to Conshohocken for the break was a good decision. As Coach Regan described it, "you can't see the water because there were so many boats out there." The coaches greatly appreciate the parents and the parents association allowing the team to practice on such a nice stretch of river. This allowed the team to really pick up some serious speed. There was so much river that it was hard to be in anyone's way. And for the freshmen crews, there was no worry about a dam being nearby as they shoved off the dock.
Overall it was an extremely successful week of practices and building of team morale. We should see some faster LM Crews when we return to Boathouse Row. Bring on the last Flick race of the season and onto the medal races.
For the freshmen women, as for the entire team, spring break was a turning point. The many hours our squad spent together increased the crew’s endurance, speed, knowledge of the sport, mental determination and team bonding. Feeling confident about the girls’ ability to row, especially on such a calm and beautiful stretch of the Schuylkill, spring break practices shifted focus from learning the rowing stroke to increasing the crew’s endurance and speed.
The frosh girls saw some of their hardest workouts so far this season including long distance steady state rows and high-intensity sprints. The women’s freshmen 8+ even pieced against the men’s freshmen 8+, leading to some entertaining team rivalry. Luckily for the men, they were able to escape humiliation by beating the women…this time anyway.
Having extra long lunch breaks (while Varsity squads were doing land practices) left ample time each day for seminars on the rowing stroke, goal planning, nutrition and mental preparation. Coach Regan saw a big improvement on each girl's ability to concentrate and focus on her goals. The girls also found time to bond as a squad. During Wednesday’s pizza party, they tie-dyed t-shirts. “Got Spring Break?” the shirts said on the front. “We don’t!” exclaimed the back. That’s not to say the girls didn’t have any fun. As a special spring break warm up, the girls jumped and bumped with synchronized dancing. We thank Aly for bringing her iPod to play Cotton Eyed Joe and the Cha Cha Slide. More than just getting their heart pumping, the girls recognized that “if you can dance together, you can catch together!” Devin even tried her best to help Coach Regan dance without looking like an idiot.
The three-day weekend of rest was well-deserved, but there is much work to be done in preparation for the last Flick and the post-season regattas. So it is back to the water for more hard work beginning Tuesday.
Arriving at the boathouse in Conshohocken to drop off gas tanks before spring break, I found exactly what I was expecting; an old rundown warehouse surrounded by a wired chain linked fence, a lack of amenities found back in Bachelors boathouse like running water and electricity and an eerie desolate feel, which could be the perfect backdrop for a gun battle in a Hollywood action thriller. I could not have been happier. Conshohocken offered miles of calm river, free from the congestion of our lower Schuylkill River home. This was the perfect place for Lower Merion to pick up some speed for the upcoming medal races!
The Freshman Men greeted every practice with a short warm-up jog and 50 pushups and sit-ups. Along with a lot of work on rowing technique on the water, the Frosh were able to get in some intense pieces with the Women’s Freshmen 8+, who helped the guys push their limits. We were also able to get in a limited amount of seat racing because we had the use of two varsity fours in the early morning practices. These races help determine who can move a boat more effectively in the water relative to other rowers. On top of the many miles rowed on the river, every practice ended 5 minutes of jumpies.
All in all, this spring break went very well. We did have some guys miss practice due to sickness and vacation, which made it difficult to field two full boats. Thanks to the girls who came out and helped fill up spots. It wasn’t the ideal situation, but at least it was some water time and should help when we get our full lineups back. Regardless of all that, all the guys pushed themselves, improved on technique and had some fun as well. With a successful spring break under their belt, the Frosh have the opportunity to turn some heads at the big races coming up.
“Big things are accomplished only through the perfection of minor details.”
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