GAINESVILLE, Ga. -Senior rower Natassya Bedos writes the concluding blog from the women's rowing team's spring break trip to Gainesville, Ga...
Friday: Coming into Friday's afternoon practice everyone was beginning to feel the effects of a long week of solid hard two-a-day practices. The aches and pains that are usually felt in small degrees become magnified by the intensity of the mileage and hard strokes pulled. But as Coach Lane would say, it's just helping us build character. Despite our fatigue you can sense the excitement within the team as some semblance of a first and second varsity lineup are put together, while the fours and novice eight continued to practice their lineups.
Mother Nature continued to work against us, gracing us with a monsoon shower as soon as we began our pieces. We started working up the ratings, doing multiple sets of 20 strokes on 10 strokes off in pyramid fashion. All rowers pushed beyond their comfort zone, fighting mentally and physically as the rates moved upward of 48 strokes per minute. This practice reminds everyone of the speed that comes with spring racing, and the adrenaline rush of sprint pieces. All boats worked hard, and while performance improved during practice the weather followed suit. It was one of those perfectly cheesy nature moments when you really can't help yourself but smile -- with a slight warm mist, bright sunshine by the finish line contrasted the dark cloud of the start, and a perfect arching rainbow sprung directly over the two boats.
Before getting on the bus after our last two-a-day, Coach Lane decided to surprise everyone with a small but awesome piece of gear. Everyone walked out loud and proud advertising their new long-sleeve tee bearing Penn's classic "split p" with crossed oars. It was a great way to end the day, and got us all pumped for one more hard practice on Lake Lanier.
Saturday: Race time: 8:45 a.m. Game faces on. Everyone in matching outfits, although that was unintentional. We were all secretly pleased to have received clean dry clothing (a.k.a. sweet new gear), as the rain had seriously depleted our stores of clean clothes. With a little intrasquad competition ahead, each crew approached the morning like race day. All boats had a their race plan, rowers knew the necessary hard work had been put in, and now all that was left to do was leave it all out on the course. Several 2ks later, while proud of the hard strokes pulled, everyone sighed with relief to know it was the official last practice of spring training. The racing atmosphere pumped everyone up for the coming season, and reminded us all that our first race is not so far off.
To add to the excitement of Saturday morning's racing atmosphere, we had Penn '09 alum and Heavyweight Rower Jim Daughdrill grace us with his presence. It's nice to have continued support for all aspects of our program, no matter where we travel. Many thanks again for coming to watch us, and you can bet he didn't leave empty handed as Coach Lane presented him with his very own 'Penn Women's Rowing' shirt.
As the bus pulled away from Lake Lanier, we all took one last look at the course. We were satisfied with our efforts throughout the week, and having made the most out of this trip. We are coming home better rowers, tired for the moment but excited about the possibilities of the approaching season. Now, all that stood between us and our home on Boathouse Row was a lovely 13-hour bus ride. See you on the other side. Lake Lanier Spring Training 2010!
Amy Matta: "It felt so good to get into race mode. I'm excited to see what this season has to bring for Penn women's crew."
Coach Lane: "BOOM!!"