Coach Shayla here! Wow, it's hard to believe that the Spring season is upon us! In the wee hours of Friday, March 18th, much of the team hopped onto a bus, a few people hopped into vans and we left the Copp's grocery store parking lot and headed South towards Tennessee. After a long day of driving, the team finally landed at the awesome Shanghai Resort and Marina. The next morning went off almost without a hitch - we ate, we unloaded the trailer and built the dock, and then we went rowing. Soon, our regular schedule would be solidified: quick breakfast, morning row, big breakfast, downtime, row, eat more, extra-curriculars, and sleep. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Overall, the week was full of lots of hard and good work, blisters, and found speed. Almost as important, however is that so many laughs were had and new friendships formed over "initiation" activities like choreographed dances and trivia, along with the now-expected CRRC hair salon which featured haircuts and color this year! Additionally, tons of treasures were purchased from the beloved Hammer's, half-marathons were hiked in record-time, and Big Ed's Pizza was taken over, again, by one crazy rowing team from Wisconsin.
Right from the start, all of the squads got right to work! On both the boys' and girls' sides, coaches were ready to queue up some new things: rowing quads (4 rowers, no cox, and 8 oars amongst them) and pairs (2 rowers, no cox, 2 oars). We put all of the hard work we put in on land to use on the water. I'm sure you've all heard about all of the erging, running, and lifting we did in the off-season - yes, it can get long and boring, but it also makes you strong and even from the first push off the dock, it was clear that this CRRC team is stronger than we have ever been.
One of the things all of the teams and coaches have been focusing on is putting out the best and fastest boats possible. We mixed lineups up and did some racing, tried new things (like quads and pairs), and rowed really hard. As coaches, after safety and fun, we are focused on putting together competitive race boats and this season will be no different. That could mean that you'll see races in the standard categories of Boys and Girls 4's and 8's - but it could also mean you might see some Camp Randall uniforms racing down the course in Quads, in a Lightweight lineup, or in another combination. An awesome thing about this sport is that it provides so many opportunities to go fast and be successful and we're all excited to prepare your rowers to do the very best that each and every one of them can be - both individually and as a team.
Our team has a strong history of being super supportive, and really go-with-the-flow and that showed through when we packed up and headed to St. Louis in anticipation of our first test of speed at the end of the trip. We wrapped up our time in Tennessee and amid all the highlights, there were also some sicknesses, injuries, and utter exhaustion that snuck up, which is inevitable after rowing two week's worth of practices in just 6 days. By Saturday morning, all squads put together the best races possible - showing some speed we haven't previously seen and some really strong races.
While I went into the week unsure of what to expect, once again, the community that is CRRC blew me away. We all worked together to figure out some boat and dock mishaps on the first day, ate well all week, and came home with new friends and a lot of really good rowing.
A huge THANK YOU to the parents who took time away from their regular lives to come along and cook, clean, and generally ensure order throughout the week. Thanks to: Cynthie Anderson, Barb & Jeff Beckett, Pete Fass, Mark Lilleleht, Angela Neidigh, Barbie Pietz, and Melissa Waldvogel. (I think I got everyone!) More thanks to everyone who made breakfast burritos and cookies - two of my favorite things - for us for the trip.
Mark Lilleleht was enthusiastically snapping photos of our adventures all week long and he's graciously compiled them all for your viewing and harvesting. Grab some popcorn and click here
to see all 1704 photos. Feel free to download the ones you love. Thanks, Mark!
I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but I can't leave without one more thanks - to the kids, families, and my fellow-coaches at CRRC - you rock. None of us could do this without this awesome community and I'm extremely proud to be a part of it all (Seriously, just ask my coworkers at my day job how much I gush about rowing any time any of them ask me about it!).
Now, bring on that Spring season! See you on April 24th, right here in Madison for the Monona Invite.
In addition to regattas, there are many important upcoming dates over the next few months. Please make note of the following Spring season events.