The calm before the storm

The Grosse Pointe South rowing team has recently earned rapid attention and caused a storm in the sports community.

May 16, 2017

Photo Credit: Aidan Walsh

In the past season, the Rowing Team has gained recognition and a formidable status as an up and coming group that poses a serious threat to rival rowing teams, according to senior rower Stephen Malbouef ’17.

Operating out of the historical Detroit Boat Club building on Belle Isle, the team has developed into an organized program in the sport’s community who trains nearly year round, with the season proper being in spring according to Malbouef.

“We train in spring, summer, fall and winter. Spring and summer are standard 2,000-meter races, where you race side by side on a course that has six to seven lanes. Fall is long distance, between 3,500-5,000 meter head races,” Malbouef said.

Practices at the boat club are at 5 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. Monday through Saturday and sometimes Sunday at 7 a.m., according to Malbouef. He said he has been rowing for the team nearly four years, and has committed to University of Detroit Mercy. Although he will not be continuing rowing in college, he said he does plan on finishing the season strongly, preparing for a match-up against Y-Quad City from Illinois and Steel City from Pennsylvania.

“After that we will go to the Indianapolis Sprints and then the Midwest Championships, where every boat that finishes in the top three goes to the Youth National Championships on the new national team course in Sarasota, Florida” stated Malbouef.

The team is split into two groups, novice and varsity, based on experience and skill in the program, according to novice rower Asher Shreiber ’20. He said the men’s novice A-boat is currently the unofficial fastest boat in the midwest.

“Our novice program, our goal is not to settle for second place.” Schreiber said.

Mike Gentile, the novice team’s head coach, stated in an email the current size of the team, which has grown immensely in the recent season.

“The novice team consists of 13 boys and 13 girls from Grosse Pointe South, Grosse Pointe North and other schools across the metro area,” Gentile said.

The novice team, with 26 total members, has enough to fill up three eight-person shells, according to Gentile. Grosse Pointe South student and coxswain on the team, Noah Dakao ’20, spoke about the recent influx of members.

“I don’t know, I think it’s like the certain friend groups. Once people realize, ‘Oh, my friend’s doing it’ (they want to do it too),” Dakao said.

Dakao went on to talk about the relationships within the team,and what he felt made rowing so special he said.

The reason behind the seemingly random eventfulness and growth in the relatively small program isn’t exactly well-defined, but the rowing team has a bright and promising future ahead, according to Dakao.

“It’s more than just a regular sport, it seems to me” said Dakao.

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