Spring Break Training

A 4 rowing at sunset
Looks like fun...

One of the key ingredients to the team’s recent success has been its annual spring break training trip. Since 2004, the team has trekked down to a rowing camp in South Carolina for a week of intensive on-water training and regardless of when the trip occurs—whether it is early in the season just after the kids get on the water or later, after a couple of the first regattas—the coaches all agree that it makes the season. There simply is no way to replicate the experience, with practices 2 or 3 times a day and few if any outside distractions. The kids eat, sleep and row, and row and row….

The camp, located in Summerton, S.C., on Lake Marion, is owned by Clemson University and is used by a number of other high school and college crews to hone their skills. The facility is perfect for rowing, with cabins lining the shores to house the kids, meaning they almost literally roll out of their bunks in the morning and into their shells. Food is provided in a typical camp-style cafeteria; the YHS rowers also have access to a Yorktown canteen run by parent chaperones for snacks and other goodies throughout the trip.

The weather is usually milder than it is in Northern Virginia at that time of the year, which gives the team a nice respite from the often-difficult spring conditions on the Potomac–many crews that remain in the D.C. areas during spring break are unable to practice every day because of poor water conditions.

Many palms-up hands showing blisters
A badge of honor at spring break…

The trip is not mandatory, but it is highly encouraged.  The reality is that athletes who do not attend are almost certain to fall behind their peers since they are effectively missing at least 2 weeks, and perhaps as much as three weeks, of practice. There also is a separate fee and although the cost is not yet set for 2015 it is expected to be between $515 to $550 to attend the camp.