March 11, 2012

Women's Rowing Spring Training Blog

The Holy Cross women's rowing team trained in Cocoa Beach, Fla. The Crusaders blogged about the trip.

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

There's No Place Like Home…take two
By Mollie Sydlowski (Class of 2012)

Today we woke up, ready for a morning by the pool, but instead awoke to a lovely rainstorm outside our windows; the only rainstorm that has hit us since we've been here! With the option of a poolside morning out the window, we headed down for breakfast that was delicious! Possibly rivaling Kimball, the breakfast we had was exactly what we needed to prepare for another long day of traveling. We then packed up our rooms again and headed to the very spacious lobby for a few hours of studying. 

Also, today is none other than Beth Charron's 22nd birthday! She has been lucky enough to spend both her 21st and 22nd birthdays in Florida. The waitress this morning brought her a special birthday dessert and we all sang Happy Birthday.

If all goes according to plan, we'll be on a 3:30 p.m. flight into Logan and safely back to Holy Cross by around 8:00 p.m. tonight! This week has been anything but boring, and I think we've all made some awesome memories and significant gains on the water. I cannot believe this was my last trip to Cocoa Beach; it seems like just yesterday I was a novice! But every good thing must come to and end and I can't wait to get home and start up our racing season with such a great group of teammates.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Home Again, Home Again…….just kidding
By Mollie Sydlowski (Class of 2012)

Our last day at Cocoa Beach (or so we thought) started out like any other, except a bit earlier. Up before even the sun, we had breakfast at 6:00 a.m. and were on the water by 7:00 a.m., working on more starts and solid pieces. The team morale was great and everyone was excited to finish our last practice after having had such a successful week in Cocoa Beach. In the short amount of time we have had down here, we have improved greatly in so many areas of our stroke and have unsurprisingly become an even closer team. 

We de-rigged all of the boats and washed each and every bolt, shoe, seat and rigger clean before loading up the trailer. By about 10:00 a.m. we were back at the Comfort Inn, packing and throwing away all of our leftovers from our refrigerator (now I know how my Mom feels when she throws away uneaten food!). Soon after, we loaded the bus and headed for the Orlando airport. We all should have thought it was odd that none of our families could find our flight online when we told them it was a 3:40 p.m. on Airtran. Nevertheless, we waited in the check-in line for about a half hour before realizing that we weren't actually on the flight for Saturday the 10th, rather we were scheduled for Sunday the 11th!

Due to a mix up with the travel agency and airline flight changes, we were suddenly 35 rowers without a home. Thank goodness for Charlie, KB (former HC rower, coach for the week, and previous Team Mom) and Patrick, who all did some intense reconfiguring and quick planning! After only an hour or two in the airport, we were shuttled to a nearby Holiday Inn. 

Let's just say I could be stranded at the Holiday Inn anytime! The beds were so comfy and we had a delicious dinner buffet! After living on turkey and cheese for lunch and pasta with some sort of pre-grilled chicken for most of our dinners, this tasted like a feast. The night ended with some relaxation and TGI Friday's ice cream before we all settled in for one last night in Florida.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pigtails and Pancakes
By Ali Finn (Class of 2014)

For the last full day of double practices, the team decided to race some three minute, five minute, and seven minute pieces against the Worcester Polytechnic Institute women's team, who have also been practicing on Sykes Creek for the past week. In order to make our team look more "intense", we all wore pigtails before the races, which all helped us ease our minds off of the tense upcoming competition. After the races, which proved to be very beneficial to our team, we all treated ourselves to the nearby Denny's for a well-deserved brunch! After brunch, many of the girls soaked up the Florida sun while others went back to the hotel rooms to take naps. At 3:00 p.m., we headed back to the Banana River for the final practice of the day, where we began with technique drills that helped us habituate the form that we have been enforcing all week, followed by three minute and 90 second pieces with quick stroke ratings. Later on after practice, the girls from each grade performed skits that reflected on some of the hilarious banter that has happened over the past eight days, and we capped the day off with video, where we examined our form during the earlier morning races. This week has gone by too quickly; we don't want to leave the beautiful Florida weather, but we are all very excited to begin the upcoming spring season back on Lake Quinsigamond!

Thursday, March 8, 2012
By Catherine Roy (Class of 2013)

Today we had another long morning row where we did a bunch of three and five minute pieces. During these pieces we worked on getting stroke rating up as well as getting our catches locked in and not over reaching at the catch. The pieces went very well in all three boats even though we were nearing the end of the week and we were all really tired. We all know that working hard now is going to pay off for our upcoming season!
 
After practice, we went back to the hotel and went to Starbucks and the pool. Patrick set a limit that we could only sit outside until 12:30 p.m. so that the sun wouldn't tire us out for the pieces we would be doing the next day against WPI. We then took a team picture and got a nice surprise when Patrick told us practice would not be until 4:00 p.m. and we could have two more whole hours to sleep! Yayyyyyy!
 
We then headed back down to the water at 4:00 p.m. where we worked on racing starts. They ended up coming together very nicely and everyone was pleased with how the day ended!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

By Meiling May (Class of 2014)

Today we woke up as usual for breakfast at 6:30 a.m. and loaded up the vans by 7:00 a.m. We especially enjoyed the ride to practice because we had a greater appreciation for the vans after yesterday's run back to the hotel. On the way to Kiwanis Island, the voices of the girls singing along to the radio drowned out the sound of ripping tape as girls patched up their hands before practice. Two eights went out to practice in the morning while a few rowers remained at the hotel trying to overcome injuries and illness. The two eights battled windy conditions but still managed to work on proper catches, upper body positioning and shoulder height. The girls did a few 1000 meter pieces up and down Sykes Creek. After practice Patrick told all of us to make sure we were out of the sun by 12:30 p.m. He encouraged all of us to take naps as to rest up for the afternoon practice. Many girls struggled to wake up from their nap in time for the team meeting at 2:00 p.m. where we watched video of yesterday's practice and compared it to our first practice on the water here in Cocoa Beach. It was amazing to see how much progress we had made in only a few days on the water. Our catches and body positioning were much improved. After analyzing the video, we once more loaded up the vans and headed to practice. This practice, we did a few two-minute pieces and drills to solidify the proper catch timing. We returned from practice and were welcomed back to the hotel with a lovely pizza party. The girls gathered together to enjoy this delicious meal in one of the function rooms at the hotel. From there girls parted ways; many girls went to the frozen yogurt store called "I dream of yogurt" as a treat for their hard work. The night concluded with a team meeting and then the girls parted to get some sleep.

Monday, March 5, 2012
By Kate Broderick (Class of 2012)

Today we woke up at six to get an early start on our third full day at Cocoa Beach. Fortunately, the wind we faced over the weekend had died down and we were able to have a long, productive morning practice on flat water. We completed a series of both long and short pieces and some of us even spotted dolphins in the distance! After getting off the water we drove back to the hotel for some much appreciated naps and poolside time. To work out some of the soreness left from yesterday's land circuit, Amanda led us again in pre-practice yoga. As we seemed to be drawing crowds on the beach, we changed the location of our yoga session to the hotel's volleyball courts. After stretching out, we headed back to the water where we were all excited to unwrap our brand new boat! Despite being very tired, we took it out for its first row and finished the day with some short, high rating pieces. Back at the hotel, we enjoyed a team barbecue thanks to the grilling skills of Kelsey Marakovits and Lauren Carlo! We went to bed having made a lot of progress as a team both on and off the water.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Are We Tired Yet?
By: Jackie Hanna (Class of 2015)

This morning we woke up to the good news that we could sleep for two more hours but that we would not be able to go on the water because of the wind and rain. After a hearty hotel breakfast, we headed over to Kiwanis Park where we did circuits which included jump roping, eight minute abs, squat jumps and one leg squats in the park pavilion. That put our winter conditioning to the test- especially those eight minute abs! Luckily the sun came out in the afternoon and Mandy led us in yoga before heading out for our afternoon row. We went over some video last night which helped us to focus on making improvements, specifically concentrating on minimizing our layback, quick catches and coming out of the water squared. We also did some higher rating pieces that felt powerful and that were a good starting point for the week, but we know we have a lot more work ahead of us! "Are we tired yet?"

Saturday, March 3, 2012

"It Feels Good to be Back!"
By Bridget Schirripa (Class of 2014)

After a long day of travel and a good night sleep, we woke up at 8:00 a.m. to eat breakfast and then headed down to Sykes Creek to unload the trailer and rig the boats. Once we were finished we headed out onto the water for our first row of Spring Break 2012! The water was a little choppy and windy, due to the incoming thunderstorms, but we were still able to get a solid row in. It was very exciting to be back on the water and to see the boats moving together. This first row was a stretch row where we mostly worked on technique, thinking about quick catches and watching our compression. Moving from the ergs to the water, Patrick reminded us that we should make sure we are always thinking about what we are doing. With a good lunch in our stomachs, we headed to yoga on the beach, taught by our very own senior coxswain Amanda Woodgate. Yoga really helped us stretch out and relax before the long afternoon practice. For the afternoon we did some shorter pressure pieces, really focusing on the technique we worked on earlier that day, and applying it to higher rating and higher-pressure work. Overall the day was a great start to our trip and I think I can say for everyone that it was amazing to be back on the water, feeling the blade pull through the water and the boats moving again.