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Banyoles Training Camp 2012

On the 25th of January 2012 an excited Rowing Team from Jacobs University left for Spain for its very first winter training camp outside of Germany. Together with its cheerful Club Advisors, Verena and with the very supportive Director of Campus Activities, Larissa, the team arrived at a rustic house in Banyoles, a small town close to Barcelona. After some much needed sleep, the rowers got up early to prepare for a long day. And since nothing gets you ready for sports better than… well sports, they endured the cold and dark morning and went to run on the hills surrounding the house before enjoying a nice breakfast. They arrived at the Natacio Club just in time to see the sun rising over the peaceful lake on which they were going to row for the next days. But first of all they had to rig the boats. Eights, fours, doubles and even singles, they all got ready to go. The day was full of new experiences since some of the rowers had never been in a racing boat. For them, rowing in a single was something very different from anything they had tried before. A few even returned to the team after a longer break and for everybody it was the first time on the water since the beginning of the winter. It took the team some time to get to its former shape. Obviously, some capsized before getting used to balancing a single. But they were fortunate to have Larisa keeping an eye on them. She was brave enough to jump into the freezingwater to help the first rower who lost his focus for one second and capsized. After some more practice the fear of falling into the lake was replaced by excitement and there even was a race between the singles at the end of the day. The loser had to jump into the mostly feared cold water. In the evening the girls tried “The Flying Dutchman”, an exercise newly discovered by Lars, our coach. Exhausted and having a severe muscle sore, everybody was happy to relax while watching “True Blue”, a movie about the renowned boat race between Cambridge and Oxford. Throughout the years, watching the movie in the training camps became a tradition for the Jacobs University Rowing Team.

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Next day it was time for more people to try the shaky singles while others continued to train in the other boats. One more rower capsized, but the girls felt very comfortable knowing that they had four strong guys on the shore ready to save them if anything happened. In the evening it was the boys turn to try “The Flying Dutchman” while the girls were analyzing the videos filmed during the day together with Lars. They were only interrupted when the guys, exhausted from training and craving for a break, came into the room shouting “Mother Theresa!”. After a good laughter they all got back to finding out what they could improve to their technique before having a good night sleep.

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The third day was the hardest that far. Three mixed crews were getting ready to race in eights while Lars and Stephan were competing in a double against four experienced rowers. The morning was spent by the crews getting used to each other and preparing for the four races that were going to take place in the afternoon. After lunch the fun began. Jens was in the motor boat to give the start and to announce the winners. The boats started with a stroke rate of 24 and increased it with every race. During the last one, the rowers in the four pushed their limits to reach an amazing stoke rate of 37. Frieda, coxed by the very experienced Matze won three out of the four races, while Hassan managed to lead a rental boat from the Club in Banyoles to another win. Larissa also experienced coxing for the first time in El Ganador. The double had to put up a good fight to beat the four each time. After such intense races, the rowers had loads of blisters since the tape they used was easily ripped off by the power of their strokes. It was time for a break from rowing so on Sunday most of the team went to visit Barcelona. They walked around the city enjoying a sunny day. When they reached the beach, they tried the water with their feet and ran over the warm sand. They also visited the biggest football stadium in Europe, Camp Nou. For the few of them who decided to stay and row in Banyoles it was a difficult outing with wind starting to blow out of nowhere. Although the lake had waves high enough to get into the boats, everybody managed to stay calm and return to the dock safely.

Monday it was time for more rowing and also for some people to fly back to Bremen. Because they wanted to spend as much time as possible on the water and allow their crews to row until the end of the day even after they had left, two of the captains had to switch places in the middle of the lake. Thus, after an impressive demonstration of balance, Stephan took Adriana`s place in one of the eights so she could return to the dock in time in his single. The coxes experienced rowing for the first time. They had the rowers supporting them from the dock. It was unusual for them to receive instructions from the people they normally commanded, but they enjoyed it and got a better idea about what their orders felt like.

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Now, all the rowers are packing and preparing for one last outing before going home. It will probably be some time before the Lesum back in Bremen will be calm enough for them to enjoy another day on the water, so they want to make the most of their last hours in Banyoles. Until then the ergs are waiting to be used.

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