Vanderbilt Rowing Crew returns to train

Rowers from Vanderbilt University practiced their skills on Cane River Lake Thursday, March 7. Photo by Hannah Richardson

By Hannah Richardson

If you recall around this time last year, several rowing crews from outside the city visited Natchitoches to practice on the calm Cane River Lake. You may have noticed that several of the teams have come back to the city once again to spend their spring break on the water. Along with several other university rowing teams, approximately 32 members of the Vanderbilt Rowing Crew out of Nashville, Tenn., have been honing their skills since last Saturday.

Coach Miller on right
Photos by Hannah Richardson

Coach Jon Miller said how much they enjoyed practicing here last year and how good their training has been so far. “The combination of the water itself and the hospitality from the people of Natchitoches makes this a great town to visit and practice in,” said Miller.

The team will also take part in a friendly competition with the Tulane Rowing Team Saturday. According to Head Coach of the NSU Rowing Crew Jason Stelly, five rowing teams have confirmed their visits Natchitoches. Next week, teams from Wichita State and University of Georgia will come to practice. The next week we will see Central Oklahoma’s crew then the fourth week will be St. Charles Chicago. All teams stay between 6-7 days and all but one (Wichita State) will stay at the Chateau St. Denis. Currently, the NSU Rowing Crew is practicing on Chaplain’s Lake on campus, but will move to the front street riverbank location after the third week of March.

Jacob Gussert said it’s been great for the team to practice in a small town such as Natchitoches, as its quaintness and quietness makes it easier to focus on their goals. He also mentioned how he and his teammates have enjoyed walking to and visiting the Natchitoches Parish Library and bowling at Country Lanes Bowling Center.

NSU Rowing has 26 rowers and is preparing for their first regatta March 23 in Gainesville, Ga. Members of the Vanderbilt Rowing Crew mentioned that besides all of the training, they have been enjoying what Natchitoches has offered them this past week. A few said they’ve liked meeting with the NSU rowing team and interacting with them at the campus cafeteria, Iberville Café, while others spoke about seeing the recently Mardi Gras Parade while staying at the Chateau St. Denis and seeing Wednesday’s fireworks from the LA Tax Assessors Conference.

Kristopher Carey said it’s been nice getting to know locals and had fun seeing Saturday’s Krewe of Dionysos Mardi Gras Parade from the Chateau de St. Denis.

Rowers were also thankful to the Natchitocheans that have been so welcoming and accommodating to them during their stay.

Sandra Shaw and Henry Livingston said they’ve enjoyed meeting with the NSU Rowing Crew and getting to know them at the Iberville Café on campus.