Every high school and college sports team goes through it. Seniors graduate and leave large footprints in their wake for others to step into and fill. For the Vashon Island Rowing Club’s junior program, two of their best competitors are taking the skills they’ve learned […]
Author: Joshua Rosen
VIRC provides children ages 13 to 18 with an opportunity to have fun, get fit and make new friends on beautiful Vashon Island. Summer rowing camp offers conditioning and hands-on rowing for new and experienced rowers that culminates in an optional summer regatta at Green […]
Rowers from Vashon Island Rowing Club soft launched their racing season with a scrimmage with Green Lake Crew. The scrimmage was organized by former Vashon coach, Tom Kicinski, who currently coaches for Green Lake Crew, and Vashon coach Ben Steele, who formerly rowed for Green […]
Vashon Island Junior Crew has been plying the waters of Quartermaster Harbor for 21 years–1996-2017! The first class of rowers is now in their mid-30’s! Come home to Vashon for the holidays and get together with your rowing friends. Attend an All-Club Row on Tuesday, […]
Winter is a season of short days and fickle weather, so for most crew teams, it means lot of training on rowing machines and not much time on the water. That makes it a bit of risk to invite teams to scrimmage in the middle of December, but that did not deter the Vashon Island Rowing Club’s (VIRC) Juniors program from doing so for the first time. They were rewarded with a lucky break in the weather this last Sunday, hosting three other teams, and finishing first in two-thirds of the contested races in which they rowed. It may very well turn into an annual thing.
Jensen Point’s boathouse was bustling, with teams from Olympia Area Rowing, Lakeside School and Seattle Preparatory School joining the VIRC juniors for a morning of races in small boats only— singles, doubles, pairs and just two coxed fours. The focus on small boats for the scrimmage is because they force rowers to hone skills that are unique to small boats, and that is the focus of the VIRC’s Winter program.
Having VIRC host what was dubbed the Solstice Scrimmage is something that evolved from previous scrimmages with Olympia and conversations with other teams. “The idea behind the scrimmage was really to break up the monotony of winter training and to try something different,” said VIRC Coach Richard Parr. “The feedback was great, and we’ll likely make it a regular feature.”
The initial plan for the scrimmage was to hold a 2K race where all boats leave at the same time. But wind in the morning, along with hazards on the water (including a large barge with a crane anchored directly North of the point) conspired to adjust the race course to a 4K head race, where boats leave one after another. By late morning, the wind picked up enough that the course was shortened further, but all racers finished without capsizing or colliding with water-borne debris. In addition to the club motorboats, additional boats were borrowed from junior parents to ensure safety on the cold, windy day. “Because of the shape of the harbor, we could do a circuitous 4k route that was semi-sheltered from the boat house, around the inner harbor by the Yacht Club, along by Judd Creek and back to the club,” said Parr.
Vashon’s rowers had the advantage of being more familiar with the harbor, came in first in a dozen races, two of them with no competitors from other programs. Of note, Aidan Teachout came out ahead of three singles from Seattle Prep in his race— just shy of a full minute ahead of the closest one. Riley Lynch won both a race in the single and in a pair with Rhea Enzian. Mabel Moses won the lightweight single and went on to race with Olivia White to win the U16 lightweight double race as well. The fastest race time of the day—14:44—was in a heat with only one boat—a VIRC men’s lightweight U18 four, with a coxswain. Parr says they rowed very well despite the rough water.
VIRC’s spring season starts in January.
Article by Anne Higuera
Vashon Island Rowing Club’s Juniors were divided last weekend, with regattas on opposite sides of the continent, traveling internationally, and with additional rowers in the mix from a visiting German rowing team. Despite the distance and logistics of all that, the team brought home a number of medals and placed well in a national event on Sunday.
A Women’s Youth 8 boat and Men’s Youth Coxed Quad were invited to the prestigious Head of the Charles (HOCR) in Boston, MA, where the 52nd annual race was held on the Charles River, buffeted by high winds and rain on Sunday, when each of Vashon’s races took place. “Great job by our two coxswains, Lucca and Josie, who steered really well in tough conditions on one of the most famous courses in the world,” said VIRC Coach Richard Parr.
Despite the challenging gale conditions on the water, the Men’s boat placed 11th in a field of 27 boats on the 3-mile course. Most impressively, they placed well despite being a mostly lightweight boat in an open weight race. The Men’s boat included David Nguyen, Seth Rosen, Beckett Reid and Cooper Py, with Coxswain Lucca Shattuck.
The Women’s 8+, coxed by Josie Slade, placed in the middle of the field of 85 boats, in 45th place. Junior rowers invited to compete do so in the midst of Masters, collegiate and national teams. ”Our launching area was the same one as used by this year’s Olympians, so it was great for the Vashon crews to meet and be in really close proximity with the best rowers in the world,” said Parr.
The HOCR typically includes more than 2,000 entries from over 700 clubs nationwide, and spectators numbering in the hundreds of thousands line the river to see the race. Clubs whose entries place high enough are invited back the following year to race in the same category. The balance of spots are determined by lottery. The Men’s Coxed quad received an automatic invite for 2017 based on their standing.
With one-third of the team in Boston, the balance of the VIRC Junior rowers competed in Victoria, BC at the Head of the Gorge and Tail of the Gorge races, sponsored by the University of Victoria. They were joined by rowers and coaches from the Berliner Ruder-Club Aegir. The club is visiting the island for two weeks with nine student rowers and coxswains.
The German rowers had the dual challenges of speaking and understanding English in high-pressure situations, and in some cases rowing with just one oar (known as sweeping), which is something they don’t train for until they are 15 or 16 years old. Younger rowers first master sculling, which is with two oars. Even with the lack of familiarity with sweeping, they were skillful contributors to many of the medaling boats over the weekend.
“This is a great opportunity to broaden their horizons athletically and culturally, “said Hannes Heppner, Berliner Ruder-Club Aegir coach. “It is great the way that rowing can connect people from around world.”
VIRC Assistant Junior Coach Tom Kicinski agreed. “I’ve been very impressed with how the two clubs have come together as rowers and athletes in general.”
The 3,800-meter Head of the Gorge is held Saturday and involves one of the most unusual starts to any regatta in the world. That’s because the Head and Tail races are held on opposite ends of the Gorge Waterway, which is a tidal river dividing the city of Victoria. To reach the start of the Head of the Gorge race, rowers must make it upstream through rapids caused by the incoming tide at a narrow bridge without crashing into rocks on the side. A coach familiar with the rapids calls out commands to rowers so that they can position themselves in the rapids in such a way that they can make it safely through. It’s difficult enough that some boats try multiple times to make it up and are finally disqualified.
All of the VIRC boats made it up the rapids, and back down without incident, and three medaled on Saturday. The A Women’s 8+ came in first with a time of 15:21.95. Rowers Olivia White, Ivy Jaguzny, Kate Lande, Tiffany Huestis, Emma Greenlee, Sam Zeigler, Mabel Moses and Maya Gould were coxed by Hayden Rosen.
The Junior A Men 8+ won a bronze medal, as did the Junior A Women 4x+. Each included rowers from the German team, and the Women’s 4x+ included Berlin coxswain Helene Aign, along with rowers Pippa Slade, Maria Abe, Lucie Hartfiel, and Ava Lorentzen. That boat also had the distinction of being rigged as a “Fuad”—a combination of a Four and a Quad, with two seats having two oars and two with a single oar. The unusual rigging was due to a lack of enough sculling rigs, but worked just fine on the course.
The Tail of the Gorge held on Sunday lacks all of the drama of its counterpart, but the same serene scenery, starting at the terminus of the tidal waterway and making its way 3500 meters across mostly calm waters. Sunday’s sunny weather and light winds made it a great day for racing.
Both silvers for the day were earned by boats that included both Vashon and Berlin rowers. The
Junior A Women 4x+ and Open Novice Women 8+ came in second in their respective races. The Junior A Women 8+ earned bronze with an all-Vashon crew.
“It’s difficult to gauge our success, as we are rowing against mostly Canadian teams, who we won’t see again during our regular season,” said Kicinski. “It’s great to see us out here being competitive and rowing at a high level.”
VIRC’s next regatta is the Portland Fall Classic this coming weekend. The club is actively recruiting for an assistant coach. Contact the club at firstname.lastname@example.org with your resume.
Article by Anne Higuera