Inside Winter Training: Laurel Salisbury

TAMPA, Fla. – Throughout Kansas rowing’s week and half training trip to Florida, various Jayhawks will give an inside look at what’s happening each day during winter training with the ‘Inside Winter Training’ Blog.
Only a few practices remain before the Jayhawks return to Kansas. Another veteran tackles the winter training blog as sophomore Laurel Salisbury fills us in on Thursday’s practices.
This morning we broke our routine a bit, something that doesn’t often happen down here. We started off the morning separated, rather than our usual breakfast all together.
That’s because this morning was the prelims for the fours matrix. Essentially, the fours matrix is a seat-selection process that is used to evaluate the speed of different pair combinations. The coaches selected 12 pairs of rowers and then broke down those 12 pairs into two groups of six.
With direction from the coaches and the coxswains, the six pairs are grouped into three fours. We then race a designated course with our given lineup. After each race, we row back to the dock and switch into a different lineup. We repeat this process five times so that we get a chance to race with the five other pairs in our group.
At the end, the coaches total up the times for each race and determine the fastest pairs. The fastest three pairs from each group go to the grand final and the remaining three pairs will go to the petite final, which will take place tomorrow morning! (Whew! That’s a lot to explain. Shoutout to my lovely roommate, Bailey Blood, for helping me put it into words.)
While this matrix is undoubtedly tiring, I personally enjoy it because it’s different from any workout we normally do. The matrix gives us a taste of racing season in the middle of winter. It has a “race day” feel to it where we can’t help but be pumped up.
Both me and my roommate, who, as you all now know is Bailey Blood, were in the second group of the matrix, which started at 10 a.m. – after the first group was finished. So, in the morning our jitters took us to practice a little early, early enough to watch the first group’s last couple pieces and cheer on our teammates. Then, it was our turn the tackle the matrix and have our fun with some intrasquad competition.
In the afternoon, we reverted back to our routine and joined back with our teammates that we didn’t see this morning to get a nice long steady state row in. To be completely candid, this is the part of the trip where the work and amount of time starts to wear on us. This is a long trip and at some point it’s bound to happen. But, I am more and more impressed with this team everyday with how we handle ourselves after a hard practice when the exhaustion sets in.
I’m surrounded by strong women and I’m reminded of it on days like today. “On to the next” is the motto for these next few days, and “next” tomorrow is the finals of the fours matrix and I know we are all ready for some more racing!
My night ended with a few of our teammates gathered in our room, some on the floor and some on the beds, laughing and talking about anything and everything. This, to me, is the best part of this trip. I’ve had some of my favorite memories on this team while sprawled out on a hotel room floor. Having all of my favorite people in one place, spending some much needed and uninterrupted time together after a month away from each other. That is what it’s all about.
The end is in sight and I’m excited to finish strong, and see what more this team can accomplish when we return home.
Rock Chalk,
Laurel Salisbury (and Bailey Blood)




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