Women’s Rowing Spring Training Blog

The Holy Cross women's rowing team spent the week training in Cocoa Beach, Fla. The Crusaders blogged from the trip.

Photo Gallery

Saturday, March 9, 2013
By: Bridget Schirripa (Class of 2014)

Today was our last day in Cocoa Beach and it was a very busy one. In order to get everything planned for the day in, we woke up at 6:00 a.m. and arrived at the trailer by 6:30 a.m. We were on the water and set to race WPI by 7:45 a.m. After all the boats were aligned perfectly by our very experienced coxswains the scrimmage began. All four boats participated in a pyramid set of pieces starting with one minute, then three minute followed by a five minute and back down again, against WPI's four boats, a few Clark boats and even one Virginia Commonwealth University boat. Our boats were very successful in each piece and it was a great beginning to the spring season. After the race we paddled the boats back in and began the process of loading the trailer and preparing the boats for the long journey home. The team completed this task in record time, and we were on our way back to the hotel by 10:00 a.m. Once we arrived at the Comfort Inn we went to our separate rooms where some of us finished packing, showered, or even soaked up the last few rays of sunshine. With our last meal from A N.Y. PIZZA PLACE in our stomachs (which was complete with a delicious cake!) we boarded the bus and began the journey home. When we landed in Atlanta we had an hour to grab some dinner before our next flight to Boston. Many of us enjoyed the local airport food and were happy to board the next flight with a full stomach. Both flights went smoothly and we arrived in Boston well ahead of schedule. Lastly, we grabbed our bags and got on the bus ready to head back to Holy Cross. All and all it was a very busy day and a great way to end a productive and successful spring break. The only sad part was coming home to a foot of snow and a frozen lake. We are all hoping to get on the water sometime next weekend, fingers crossed!

Thursday, March 7, 2013
By Kristina Giangrande (Class of 2014)

Today was another beautiful day at Cocoa Beach. This morning we went out for practice in shifts because we were having some trouble with some of the equipment. The second varsity eight and four had the earlier practice with the novice eight, while the varsity eight got to sleep in until the parts to fix their boat came. We worked on technique for a while focusing on our catches and releases. After working on technique we tried to apply the changes in some two and three minute pressure pieces. The boats are all moving really fast so we're looking forward to a great season.

The first varsity eight was able to fix their boat and went out around noontime. They worked on starts and went for a long stretch row which was much needed after all of the work we've been doing this week.

While the varsity eight was at practice, the rest of us had another amazing lunch catered by the restaurant across the street. There were cheese and egg potatoes, eggplant parm, waffles, bagels and pretty much anything else you could want or imagine. We then hung out by the pool for a little bit, some of us tanned while others played uno or swam. After about an hour, the rowers started to return to their rooms for a nap before practice.

We went out for practice again around three. The varsity eight did some longer pieces with starts while the second varsity eight and varsity four worked on starts with Lindsay. After we got more comfortable with the starts we added more and more strokes to the pieces, building up to about 250 meters of the start. We did a couple of one minute power pieces and focused on technique. The novices learned how to do their first starts today and then did some longer power pieces with Beth.

For dinner we had barbeque! They had a huge spread of ribs, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, black beans, clams and mussels. There was also the usual pasta with olive oil and garlic, salad, and the garlic knots, which everyone on our team is now addicted to they are so delicious. The seniors went out to dinner with the coaches for the annual senior dinner. Meanwhile, the juniors organized a t-shirt making activity which everyone seemed to really enjoy. After t-shirt making, we all headed to bed pretty early. We're all pretty worn out from this week so far. 

Wednesday March 6, 2013
By: Lauren Carlo (Class of 2014)

After the beautiful weather on Tuesday, everyone was more than a little sad to feel the return of the wind. We still had clear skies and sun, but with the wind everyone had to bundle up in their shells and brave the weather. After the first practice, the team spent time tuning up the boats and making sure all the nuts and washers were in place.

We had lunch as a team and then most people spent the middle of the day resting in their rooms. Today was not the best for tanning and even then too much sun can tire you out before the second practice.

The second practice was difficult with even more wind. The weather report said the gusts could reach thirty miles an hour and although we went the opposite direction on the canal, through a small bridge on our left and into a wide basin of protected water, all the boats were still getting pushed around. We worked on 1000m and 500m pieces in two eights and a four and fought the wind the best that we could. Even in the wind we could tell the boats are starting to pick up speed as we get back into our groove.

We're looking forward to the next few days as the weather gets warmer and the wind dies down a bit.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Bridget Hager (Class of 2016)

The promise of warm weather and low winds that kept us going the past few days held true. Tuesday had finally arrived and with it came the perfect rowing conditions. Flat water with a low wind and warm sun was enjoyed for about five minutes until we found out the workout for the day was 5-minute pieces. Despite the grueling workout, it was satisfying to get in some full pressure pieces without the wind whipping at our backs. We definitely identified some technical problems and made big strides towards correcting them!

When we finally got back to the hotel a delicious lunch was awaiting us, and we all proceeded to consume our body weight in food and pass out in food commas by the pool.

When we got back down to the water for out afternoon row at around 3:00 p.m. a cloud of spray suntan lotion surrounded the trailer. The weather was even more perfect than it was in the morning and everyone was hoping for a tan! We got out to the canals and did some 1k seat races. Despite a few issues with the speed coach, the pieces went really well and were an end to a jam-packed day of rowing.

Dinner was once again awesome and we once again filled our plates to the brink. After dinner every dessert place within a two-block radius was inhabited by some Holy Cross rower, whether it was Dairy Queen, McDonalds, the fro-yo place and even 7/11! It was no shock that when the evening film session was cancelled everyone sleepily walked to their room and were out cold for the night!

Sunday, March 3, 2013
By Abbey Wilkman (Class of 2015)

We wake up to the dreadful time of 6:00 a.m. for 6:30 a.m. practice but are pleasantly surprised by a text from Roy that practice has been moved to 7:45 a.m. We immediately went back into a comatose state until we enjoyed our continental breakfast before practice. We had a rough start when some of us (myself included) showed up at 7:47 a.m. (in the bathroom) and ended up having to chase down the vans before the coaches drove off without us (not on purpose). The new theme of this year is punctuality and efficiency and some of us have to learn the hard way.

We arrive at the boats to temperatures that mirror what is occurring in Worcester and winds to give the ones on the hill a run for their money. We loaded up on all the warm gear we had. Many of us (again myself included), did not bring enough Worcester weather clothing. We did our typical wet launch many of us tying our long spandex around our neck as a fashionable scarf to keep them from getting wet. Also, some of the coxswains perched themselves on a rock and waited for one of the rowers to piggyback them to the coxswain's seat.

The conditions were less than optimal for our first row since the fall. I assumed rowing in today's conditions feels similar to trying to drag some sort of large animal (such as a bison) through the water. After the battle of the first part of practice, we finally reached some water that was somewhat acceptable and we were able to get some decent strokes in. At the upper part of the canal we got our first glimpse of dolphins! We rowed back again, just trying to get back into the swing of things (a few power 10s and 20s here and there). We quickly put the boats away so we could get back for brunch.

The brunch was excellent as usual. It is also so great not to have to worry about making our own food not to mention it is free!!! The team is very appreciative about that. After, some of us went to mass in a nearby church.

We met again for practice at 3:00 p.m. (we were all on time this time). Conditions were again not optimal. We one tense moment with the wet launching when one of the novice boats was still figuring out the logistics behind it. It seemed the conditions were even worse than this morning (switch the bison with an elephant). We did drills such as all 8 on the square, pause drills and other things. We then did some short pieces (1m or 2m). The sun was shining and many of us came off the water with red faces but it is still a question if it is sunburn or windburn. We quickly put away the boats and changed into warm, dry, clothing.

We came back to enjoy a delicious dinner. Some of us later enjoyed desert at the frozen yogurt shop down the street. We then curled up under the covers with the heaters on (not kidding, we are in Florida and the heat is almost all the way up in my room). Tomorrow morning is supposed to be colder…

Saturday, March 2, 2013
By Colleen Sharry (Class of 2013) and Catherine Roy (Class of 2013)

We're back in Cocoa Beach and loving it. We are not here on an I Dream of Jeannie pilgrimage or here to see the NASA Space Station (Cocoa Beach's two tourists attractions), but to spend our spring break rowing our little bums off. Unfortunately we haven't done any rowing yet… March 2 dawned cloudy and windy in Florida invalidating our pre-spring break mantra "At least it will be warm."

After a forty-five minute debate as to whether or not we could feasibly go on the water, it was decided that we would do a nice little Pilates workout. The Pilates workout ended up not being quite as little as some had hoped, but it got the job done. In order to keep things interesting, we decided to run back from the water to the hotel, making for a five-mile trek—this was the only point today when we were happy that it wasn't too hot.

This year we have had our meals provided for us by a loving band of caterers, which we greatly appreciate—the hotel kitchens had never been ideal. We are going to bed tonight well fed and ready to get onto the water tomorrow.


Colleen and Roy