Vesper Summer Program 2024

Vesper Boat Club's Summer 2024 Program provides U23 and collegiate athletes with the opportunity to train along with our year round Racing Team, access to high end weight facility, D1 tier equipment, and science based holistic approach to training. Focus will be on sweeping and big boats (8+’s, 4+’s, and 4-’s). The goal of the program is to develop athletes to be competitive on the national and international level and enhance all aspects of training for rowing. The team will race both U23 and Senior events.


Areas of focus include:

  1. * Nutrition
  2. * Resistance training
  3. * Blood lactate testing and individualized heart rate zones
  4. * Injury prevention
  5. * Sports psychology
  6. * Technical development
  7. * Training/work/school/life balance


Dates and Deadlines

Application deadline: May 19th

Camp start date: June 9th


Program Fee

$1,600 per athlete

This encompasses entry fees, unisuit, t-shirt, equipment and weight room access, blood lactate testing and lodging accommodations in Canada


Capacity (updated May 10th!)

24 spots available for rowers (12 men, 12 women)

4 spots for coxswains (2 men, 2 women)


Training Times

AM 5:50-8:00

PM 5:00-7:00 or OYO (on your own) (tentative)



Morning sessions are Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. There will be two coached afternoon sessions on the water in addition to two lifts and some OYO (on your own) cross training.



Navy Day Regatta: June 15

Independence Day Regatta: June 28-30

Canadian Henley: July 28- August 4


*Applicants must have a valid passport*



Michael Orzolek

John Leekley

Ivo Krakic

Coach Michael Orzolek

Coach Michael Orzolek

Michael Orzolek is a dedicated coach and accomplished athlete, blending academic excellence with practical experience in the field of rowing. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Sports Medicine: Health and Fitness Promotion from Mercyhurst University in 2010, where his research focused on "The recovery effect of chocolate milk, skim milk, and Gatorade on rowing ergometry." He furthered his education with a Master of Science in Exercise Science and Nutrition: Human Performance from Sacred Heart University in 2014, delving into research on "Electromyographic and kinematic comparison of stationary and dynamic rowing ergometry." Michael holds the credential of CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) through the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association), demonstrating his commitment to excellence in the field since 2013.

With a rich background as an athlete, Michael's journey began at GMS Rowing Center in 2004, leading to a collegiate career at Mercyhurst University. Notable achievements include winning Dad Vails in 2009 in the varsity pair, claiming victory in the lightweight 8+ in 2010, and captaining the team his senior year. Michael's success extended to national competitions, winning multiple US National Championships, including: victories in the lightweight 1x, lightweight 4x, lightweight 2-, lightweight 4+; a silver in the lightweight 8+ in 2015 for Vesper; and a gold in the lightweight 2x in 2017 for PennAC. He also represented the USA at the 2009 U23 World Championships in the lightweight 1x.

Michael has since transitioned to coaching, significantly contributing to multiple rowing programs. He coached at Penn Charter in 2013, Malvern Prep in 2016, and Conshohocken Rowing Center in the same year. In 2016, he served as head coach for Conshohocken Rowing Center's U23 program, guiding the men's double to the U23 World Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Joining Vesper Boat Club's coaching staff in 2021, Michael led the U23 program to success with a gold medal at US Nationals in the U23 lightweight 4+. His leadership abilities were further recognized when he was appointed head coach of Vesper's Racing Team in May 2022. Under his guidance, Vesper achieved notable victories, including winning the Mariner Points Trophy at Independence Day Regatta and the Colgan Points Trophy at US Summer Nationals. Additionally, Michael coached the US senior lightweight women's 2- to a silver medal at the 2022 World Rowing Championships in Racice, Czechia.

Michael Orzolek, MS, CSCS
Head Coach
Vesper Boat Club

Coach John Leekley

Coach John Leekley

John learned to row in college in the 90’s after it was clear the NBA wouldn’t be calling on draft night. His coaching experience before Vesper includes time with all levels of the sport, and extends from Washington, DC, to the Eastern Shore of Maryland and up to New England. He spent nine years at Washington College earning six coach of the year awards and five Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference Championships. He is a certified personal trainer, avid golfer and tech entrepreneur.