Master Rowers Beat the Heat at Regionals

Master Rowers Beat the Heat at Regionals

Rule one: Apply sunscreen liberally. Rule two: Stay continually hydrated. Rule three: Stay under the shade of the cottonwood trees whenever possible.

Racing in sweltering heat well north of 90 degrees most of the weekend, Vashon Island’s Masters rowers medalled in half the events they entered at the Northwest Masters Regional Championships June 26-28 on Vancouver Lake near the Columbia River.

Of the thirteen events in which Vashon placed first, second or third, five medals were claimed by Vashon’s lightweight women, a small “sub-group” of the club that has been rowing together on Quartermaster Harbor for years. Various combinations of Jan Peterson, Debby Jackson, Therese Smith, Carri Singer, Celia Congdon and coxswain Lisa Huggenvik won medals in every lightweight event they entered, including gold in the Lightweight women’s four and pair races.

“Lightweights row against all ages and the older boats get an age handicap“, said Congdon. “That means every second ends up counting so we have to keep our heads in our own boat and just row our race.“

Also claiming gold at Regionals this year was a women’s pair with Kim Goforth in stroke and Marilyn Kleyn in bow. A mixed four also took first with Su DeWalt stroking the boat in front of Colby Atwood, Chad Magnuson and Mary Rothermel, with Debby Jackson coxing.

Tom Kicinski stood in for Coach Richard Parr at Regionals this year and said that a Masters regatta is nothing like a Juniors regatta, where the same lineups prepare for weeks or months in advance.

“Vashon held its own in a lot of races where the crews had limited or no practice time before Race Day,” said Kicinski. “This was a nice surprise for me. It means that people are rowing a similar stroke and can jump into a lineup with most anyone and find a way to move the boat.“

Next, the Masters turn toward a long summer of warm weather practice rowing on flat, early morning water before beginning to tune up for the longer “head” racing season during the fall.

For Islanders curious about the sport, Vashon Island Rowing Club is offering a two-day Learn-To-Row class for adults ages 18 and over on Saturday, July 25th from 10am to 1pm and Sunday July 26th from 9am to noon. The class is an excellent introduction to rowing basics and will provide the knowledge and skills necessary to help interested rowers get started in the sport. Cost for the two days is $100. For more information, go to Adult Learn to Row or contact Debby Jackson at

Article by Jeff Hoyt

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