The University of Mount Olive athletic department kicked off the 2017-18 school year with a two-day retreat. The department gathered on Tuesday for an all staff meeting and traveled to Chapel Hill on Wednesday, where they learned the sport of rowing from the University of North Carolina Rowing coaches.
Coaches, trainers and administrative staff joined together on Tuesday for the first staff meeting of the year. New staff members were introduced and everyone shared highlights of major events that happened in their lives.
Guest speaker Ronnie Wise, Pastor of Unity Baptist Church and the new Fellowship of Christian Athletes representative, joined the group to help develop the relationship between the school and the church community.
On Wednesday, August 9, 2017, the University of Mount Olive athletic department spent the day bonding together on the water learning how to row from the University of North Carolina rowing coaches and team.
Led by Vice President for Athletics, Jeff Eisen, the coaches, trainers and administration of the UMO athletic department experienced what collegiate rowers experience in practice as a Tar Heel.
The rowing experience began with the Trojans learning techniques of the sport on the ergs, rowing machines, with instruction from the UNC coaching staff. Head coach Sarah Haney and assistant Anthony Brock put the UMO athletic department through the same gauntlet they would their freshman and novice rowers. Terminology, techniques and rhythm were all key aspects that were taught and would later be used on the water.
Following the morning's introduction to rowing, the staffs of both UNC and UMO gathered for a question and answer session over lunch. Topics of recruiting, team chemistry, nutrition, and more were presented to head coach Haney, who answered them all sharing her knowledge collected over 15 years of coaching.
After lunch concluded, the Trojan staff piled on the bus to head down to University Lake and the UNC boat house to put to action their skills learned earlier in the morning. The UMO staff learned how to properly place the boats in the water, mount the oars and board the boats before getting on the water.
Once all the staff boarded the boats in groups of eight, plus a coxswain, each team practiced briefly what they were taught in the erg room at Carmichael Arena. Teams quickly learned that balance and communication were two of the most important tools needed to operate the boats.
After getting the feel of the boats and how to operate them, the teams lined up for a couple friendly races on University Lake.
The day concluded with both staffs working together to return the boats and oars to the boat house and a debriefing of the day before a group picture was taken to commemorate the day.
"Having a meeting one day and then getting off campus for a retreat the next day was a great way to get the school year started," said Vice President for Athletics, Jeff Eisen. "We were able to provide updates and cover a lot of business at the meeting and then have a day of fun and bonding at the retreat."
Eisen also went on to say, "We are very appreciative that Coach Haney and the UNC Rowing program hosted us at University Lake. Rowing on the lake was fun and a new experience for everyone, and it also provided an excellent lesson on the importance of teamwork and communication."
Click here for pictures of the UMO Athletic Department's rowing experience.