2022 Newsletter


Spring Lake Rowing is thrilled to be moving beyond Covid and out on the water again! After a year of having only limited land and machine workouts, it has been exciting to see our athletes develop a love for the sport of rowing. The 2021/22 season was a fantastic year with many achievements.

We continue to use the field behind the Spring Lake Middle School soccer field, which includes about three hundred feet of waterfront on the Grand River. With combined students from Spring Lake and Grand Haven, we continue to expand the team. Contributions from our donors have allowed us to grow from one borrowed GVSU boat to 19 boats of various sizes (six 8s, six 4s, a quad, four doubles, and two singles). We have had over 300 students come through our programs since 2015. In addition to the high school program, we have started a middle school program which continues to grow. We are thankful to have three generous donors finance the repair, repainting and acquisition of new sculling rigging for the boats. This allowed us to enter more races and also run a summer sculling clinic for members of our team which allowed them to gain invaluable skills.

Jeff Pipp, after five years as head coach, is stepping down to focus more time on a business with his wife . We are thankful for all of his contributions to the club and you can read his coach’s column below. Grand Haven alumni and former EMU Rower, Emma Boersen, will be taking over as head coach for Grand Haven and my son, Daniel Winter, a Spring Lake alumni and former GVSU rower, will assume the role of Spring Lake’s head coach. They will work together with both squads. We are excited for their leadership on the team!

Yours in Rowing,
Paul Winter


Fall 2021

It was the first chance for many of our new members of the club to get to experience fall rowing for the first time. Fall racing is a time trial based style of racing compared to the sprint racing which is done in the spring. Even though a large amount of the team was learning how to fall race, this past fall we had some really great results as a collective. Our team wasn’t the biggest as far as size goes, but we won or medaled in almost every event we entered. We were beating schools much larger than us and that have been established clubs much longer than us. The races we competed in were the Eastern Invitational in Ada, MI and the Leelanau Chase Regatta in Lake Leelanau, MI. We medaled in 8 events in both races, which is more medals than we have ever earned in a previous single season.

Winter 2022

It was great to be able to return to a full training schedule for 2022. This season we were able to move our training to the racquetball court at the Grand Haven YMCA and practice with our entire club at one time, al-lowing us to move back to the 2 hour training sessions. This is much tougher physically and mentally on the athletes, but we had a number of kids achieve their personal best scores for their 2,000 meter tests and indoor races at the end of winter training.

Spring 2022

After Spring Break, we were able to get onto the water and begin our training for the spring sprint races and the state championship. This spring was particularly exciting as a coach as with a smaller team than years past we were forced to train and compete in small boats. There is a different style of rowing in small boats called sculling. This is when there is no cox-swain in the boat and each rower has 2 oars. This is com-pared to the typical style of rowing we have practiced, sweep rowing, where each rower has only one oar. Thanks to a lot of generous members of the community and their donations we had been able to acquire the smaller boats we needed to train the whole team in small boats, every week. When the weather doesn’t cooperate, which it didn’t for most of April, we still train in our 4’s and 8’s to practice sweep rowing. Having the opportunity to coach both sweep and scull rowing in the same season was a new experience and very fun as a coach. Every day we were putting out 4-6 boats, singles, doubles, and a quad or four. With this being a new style of rowing for many of the rowers, we didn’t have the overall team results we were hoping to achieve on the water, but all the kids learned a new skill which al-lowed them all to become bet-ter rowers. Most of the lifelong rowers you meet scull a majority of the time as it is tougher to gather 4 people and row unless you are rowing a local club. I am lucky that I was able to teach our athletes the 101 of sculling this past year. We did have one standout accomplishment with one of our athletes, Grace Worthington, who was able to take home the silver medal at the Michigan State Rowing Championships in May. This was our first silver medal at the state championship, and as a sophomore, I am sure she will be a strong contender to win the race next year as a junior.

Next Year – 2023

The coaching experience left me with a bittersweet feeling for me this year as it will be my last sea-son as the head coach. I am leaving to focus on running a business with my wife. It has been a memorable 5 years as the head coach for the Spring Lake Crew Club. I’ve been able to watch many student-athletes progress through their high school years, with ups and downs for many of them along the way. I think there are many things to be excited about regarding the team moving into next year and beyond. One thing I am most happy about is that the next round of coaches coming to the club were athletes I was lucky enough to coach a few years ago. Both Emma and Daniel were skilled enough and loved the sport enough to move on and row at university. Learning the sport at the next level gives a different level of understanding of not only how demanding the sport can be, but also what are the essential parts of the rowing stroke. These two, in com-bination with Paul, are setting the club up to build on the successes of the past year and I couldn’t be more excited for the team’s future.

Thank you for 5 rewarding years and don’t be surprised if you see me at a team practice or race cheering on the club!

Jeff Pipp
Head Coach 2017-2022
Spring Lake Crew Club


High School rowing is one of the few co-educational sports in the MHSAA. While still a club sport at many high schools, here at Spring Lake, students may earn a varsity letter for their efforts. We are working with Grand Haven Area Public Schools to have the same allowed for those athletes.

Rowing is a life-long skill that keeps your body lean by focusing on the muscle groups in your legs.
There are two types of rowing that are taught: sweep technique and sculling.

We have boats for singles, doubles, fours (five, including coxswain) and eights (nine, including the coxswain).

For the past several years, we have also had a middle school rowing program to teach kids as young as sixth grade the fundamentals of rowing, ensuring a feeder system for our high school program.

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