At least two or three times a month each spring and fall, a story is bound to show up in the Beachcomber about Vashon Island Rowing Club’s Junior Crew. From articles about success at regattas to stories of junior rowers headed off to a college […]
Tag: Steve Full
The Hardware Store Restaurant and Vashon Island Rowing Club are teaming up again for a “repechage” Guest Bartender Night on Thursday March 5th from 6 pm – 9pm. VIRC is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary with this FUNdraiser, that will include a signature cocktail and mocktail, […]
The 50th anniversary of the largest rowing regatta in the world witnessed best ever results for Vashon’s junior, masters and recent alumni crew members. Starting in a wide and exposed tidal basin the course heads up river increasingly twisty and narrowing as it goes. With seven multi-arch bridges hanging like slalom gates to navigate, the challenges mount for the coxswains while the spectating improves all the way to the finish line. Over eleven thousand rowers finished the five-kilometer race during the two-day weekend event that attracted 400,000 spectators.
Two junior and two masters boats were drawn in the lottery for this year’s regatta. The masters rowed on Saturday with each boat gaining a respectable middle of the pack finish. The women’s four consisted of Kim Goforth, Marilyn Kleyn, Nancy Foster-Moss, Debbie Jackson and Lisa Huggenvik (cox). The men’s four featured Bob Horsley, Ed Zapel, Mark McKallor, Colby Atwood and junior coxswain Olivia Mackie. There were more than 50 boats entered in each of these master events.
Although Vashon had entered more junior boats in the regatta lottery only two were selected, the men’s single and the women’s eight. This year is only the second time that Vashon has sent its junior crew to this event and a “top third” finish is considered an achievement. On Sunday’s course that saw an increase in wind from the day before, Liam McConnell led off the day with an 8:30 am start. By the time the race was over Liam had secured a tenth place (out of 34) finish – the highest finish ever for a Vashon boat and this was only his second time racing in a single shell at any regatta. As Liam approached the Elliot bridge (the last bridge and about 500 meters from the finish) the announcer identified him, his Vashon affiliation and that it was his first time at the Charles regatta. Then he said, “Welcome to Boston, Liam!” and the swelled crowd on and around the bridge and nearby stands erupted in cheers and applause.
The women’s eight started 79th and steadily overtook slower boats along the course. This low starting order had only to do with Vashon’s rowing in their last appearance at the Charles – not the expectations for the outcome. Nevertheless, it is tricky to pass along this course and definitely not an advantage to start that far back in the pack. When the final times were tallied the women’s crew came in 9th out of 85 entrants. Liam’s record finish lasted for only 5 hours. Vashon’s small program does not usually compete favorably in 8+ events but this group of young women showed what the crew can do on an international stage. Crew members were Riley Lynch, Rhea Enzian, Kirsten Girard, Kalie Heffernan, Maddie McEachern, Caprial Turner, Katrina Heffernan, Shannon Lipe and Ally Clevenger (cox).
Summing up the weekend Coach Richard Parr said “Again, Vashon’s Junior rowers were great representatives of our little island, both on and off the water. They are remarkable young people. I’m very proud of them for what are some pretty special accomplishments in North America’s toughest race.” As a result of Vashon’s junior race places the club automatically receives an invitation to next year’s regatta.
Several recent Vashon Junior program alumni also turned in solid performances on the Charles this past weekend. Jacob Plihal rowing in the 6th seat of the Northeastern University club eight won its event. Tate Gill rowing in the 3rd seat for the Boston University boat in the same event placed 5th. Olivia Sayvetz coxed the Princeton women’s eight to a 10th place finish in the Women’s Championship eight race – the premier event for Women at this regatta. Alaina Williams rowing in the 4th seat for Northeastern in this same Championship race placed 12th. Taegan Lynch stroked her University of Miami shell to a 12th place finish in the Women’s Championship Four race.
Boston is a long way from Vashon and it takes much planning and effort to get rowers there, keep them rested, healthy and fed. The rowers want to thank everyone for their support and a great team effort. The results were surely worth it.
By Pat Call
Established in 1981, the Head of the Lake regatta, hosted by Lake Washington Rowing Club and University of Washington, was held Sunday November 3rd and is the largest fall regatta on the West Coast. With 493 boats organized into 45 race categories the HOTL lived […]
VIRC sent five boats to compete at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, MA on October 20 and 21. The invitational is the largest regatta expo in the world, drawing thousands of rowers from around the globe and nearly 300,000 spectators. Vashon was […]
By NATALIE JOHNSON
Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Reporter
FEBRUARY 1, 2012 · 10:30 AM
The Vashon Island Rowing Club, which has seen increased participation and success in recent years, has hired an accomplished international coach to head its youth and adult programs.
Richard Parr, who is the process of moving to Vashon from New Zealand, has more than 20 years of coaching at all levels under his belt. He has worked with the New Zealand, Canadian and Irish national teams and has even coached Olympic athletes.
Parr, who speaks cheerfully and with an accent he calls Canadian with a bit of Irish, said he recently decided to move to the Seattle area to be closer to his partner. Though the move will be a big one, he said he has felt a pull for change in his life.
Recent earthquakes that have devastated parts of New Zealand have affected him, Parr said, as did his father’s recent death.
“It forced me to have a good look at where I am and what I’m doing,” he said.
Parr is looking forward to what he says is the next adventure in his life. He’s pleased to be closer to his partner, who will move to Vashon with him, to coach a promising team and — as an outdoors lover — to experience life in the Northwest. He added that Vashon Island is strikingly similar to New Zealand.
Parr hasn’t coached club rowing in about 20 years, but says Vashon has an impressive program that he’s excited to be a part of. Last year the junior crew sent a record number of rowers to nationals, where they took two medals, and one young rower made it all the way to the junior world championships.
“At a young age they seem to have some of that ‘we know how to work hard.’ In rowing that’s the key,” he said.
Parr said he was also impressed by the cadre of volunteers running the program.
“As someone who comes from a high-end, professional background, to see the Island club being managed so well was very appealing,” he said.
Parr, 49, was born in England, but moved to Canada at a young age. He was a coxswain for his Canadian college’s rowing team, and his subsequent coaching career has taken him around the world.
Parr was an apprentice with the Canadian Olympic rowing team in 1996 and went to the 2004 Olympics in Athens as the head of Ireland’s team.
He comes to Vashon from New Zealand’s University of Otago, where he spent the past 15 years teaching coaching and exercise prescription and was a consultant to other coaches in the region.
VIRC, which formed more than 20 years ago, has gone through a few coaches in recent years. Sam Burns, who is credited with boosting the program, was with the club from 2009 to 2010. Steve Full, a well-loved coach who also had success with the team, left last summer after just one year on Vashon to take a position at Georgetown University. VIRC found an Islander who was able quickly to take his place, but the club chose to not renew his contract for the spring season.
VIRC performed an extensive search for a new coach, and Parr visited Vashon to work with rowers before they chose him to head the club.
“It was almost unanimous that Richard had the chops that we were looking for,” said Jeff Hoyt, a master rower who was on VIRC’s search committee.
Parr said he plans to one day return to high-level coaching, but hopes to stay on Vashon for at least five years. He will also work to complete his Ph.D. in sporting talent development while on the Island.
When asked how he felt about coaching a small-town club after having worked with national champions and Olympic athletes, Parr said he finds joy and challenge in coaching at every level.
“Good athletes are good athletes, whether they’re from Vashon Island or the Olympics,” he said. “The thrill of coaching really is seeing any individual enjoying themselves and achieving the goals they want to achieve.”
Congratulations to Coach Steve Full with his new position as the freshman women’s rowing coach at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. “My decision to take this opportunity was certainly not an easy one.”, says Steve. “All summer I had been reconstructing the training plans, outlining […]
Eton, England: 2011 World Finals of the Junior Women’s Straight 4 Finalists in Race: Canada, Great Britain, USA, New Zealand, Germany and Italy New Zealand was defending World Champions. USA WON GOLD, New Zealand second and Great Britain third. Rowers: Chandler Lally (Bryn Mawr,PA), Lucy Grinalds […]
The heart of a rower: Attitude and athleticism take a Vashon girl far
Next week Mia, who is now 14 and has just a year and a half of rowing under her belt, will head to England as the youngest girl to ever compete with the U.S. team at the World Rowing Junior Championships. “It’s hard to imagine that all of this is happening so quickly,” Mia said last week, having just finished a day of training with the team at Princeton University. “It’s just amazing. It hasn’t all hit me yet.”
Mia, a 6-foot blonde with a sweet smile and a cheerful disposition, grew up on Inner Quartermaster Harbor, where she spent much of her free time swimming, waterskiing and wakeboarding with her two older brothers — one of whom went on to row for Santa Clara University.
The daughter of Tom Croonquist, director of development at University Village, and Elsa Croonquist, a marketing consultant, Mia excelled at basketball and soccer on Vashon but discovered a true talent for rowing almost as soon as she got out in a boat. Placed by the coach in a four-woman boat with other talented newcomers to the Vashon Island Junior Crew (VIJC), Mia and her teammates won all but a couple of races at regional regattas during her first year on the team, which included two seasons of competition. “I couldn’t have asked for better novice seasons,” she said.
Last season one of Mia’s boats — a women’s varsity quad with Avalon Koenig, Charlotte Kehoe and Alaina Williams — took first at the district rowing competition, qualifying them for the national championships, where they came in second. Mia — who says she loves being on the water, challenging herself physically and being part of a team — credits her previous experience in sports, in addition to her height and strength, as helping her excel on the water. VIJC coach Steve Full, a national champion rower from the University of Washington, agreed, calling Mia a well-rounded athlete who is extremely coachable. “A lot of times in rowing you get people who haven’t played a lot of sports. … a great characteristic of any rower is to have that ability to adapt, and that comes from having a background in other sports,” he said.
But perhaps most integral to Mia’s success, Full said, is simply her attitude. “She’s really mature for her age, but she also has a bubbly attitude,” he said. “She smiles a lot and always seems to be laughing. A carefree attitude really helps in rowing because the sport takes a lot of mental discipline. If you can’t be fun with yourself and fun with others, it becomes a drain.”
Liz Trond, a coach for the U.S. junior women’s team, also noticed Mia’s attitude when she began following her in the eighth grade. “She’s strong and well developed,” Trond said of the young rower, “and her maturity is unbelievable for a 14-year-old.”
Last summer Mia was invited to a national training camp to prepare her to try for the U.S. team, which she did at a selection camp this summer. Mia said she was thrilled to attend the camp in Connecticut, but believed her age and inexperience would prevent her from making the cut. “You don’t hear about a lot of young kids making it … and I was still kind of new,” she said.
Not only did Mia make the U.S. team, but coaches put her in the priority boat — the women’s four — where they place the team’s top athletes in hopes of medaling at the world competition. The other girls in the women’s four were also in the boat last summer when it came in second place. “It’s the best situation she could hope for, to be in a boat with three retuning silver medalists,” said Trond, who coaches Mia’s boat. And though training to aim for gold at worlds can put a large amount of pressure on the young athletes, Trond said, so far Mia has taken everything in stride. “She has done better than we even expected,” she said. “She has a good way of remaining very balanced, which is important in high-level sports.”
Just a week away from leaving for England, Mia seemed anxious to compete, but not at all worn down from training. “I wake up every morning and say, ‘Yay, I get row,’” she said. “I still look forward to it. It’s not like waking up and going to school.” Full believes it’s Mia’s pure love for the sport that has taken her far in crew and will continue to drive her success. “Her time in rowing will be endless, as long as her passion stays there,” he said. “She’ll not only have a great time rowing, but it will take her on quite an adventure. This is just the beginning.”
And though Mia seems to be happiest on the water and already plans to one day row at the collegiate level, she says she recognizes the huge commitment that crew has become, and recently made the decision to take a year off from the sport. “As much as I love crew, it is so intense,” she said. “Some people have warned me don’t burn out, save yourself for college. … I knew I kind of needed to take a break because I’ve pushed myself a lot to get where I am.” Mia’s time off from rowing will be an adventure in itself, though, as she plans to spend the next academic year at a boarding school in Kona, Hawaii, a place she and her father have visited and loved. Mia said she decided to leave Vashon because she has always loved Hawaii and she’ll have little time to travel while rowing in college. She added that it would be too tempting to row while still living on Vashon. “I’d be miserable knowing I had the opportunity to row and I wasn’t rowing,” she said. “Going to school in Hawaii lets me cross train and do track, or soccer or basketball again.”
Trond, who said she has enjoyed coaching Mia and hopes to see the women’s four place again at the world competition, said worlds is just the beginning of Mia’s rowing career. Though she’s still young, she said, she has the same abilities and work ethic that she has seen take other young athletes to the Olympics. “She’s got an incredible path, and certainly the path of an Olympian,” Trond said.
Mia is just one of several talented rowers to emerge from Vashon in recent years. In 2006, Tom Kicinski was the first high schooler from Vashon to be selected to compete for the U.S. at the world championships. And this year, VIJC sent a record four boats to the USRowing Youth National Championships in May, a number those who are close to the sport say is phenomenal for a team with less than 40 members. Olivia Sayvetz, a 2011 Vashon High School graduate, recently earned a scholarship to be a coxswain on Princeton University’s crew team and just missed qualifying to go to worlds with Mia. Emmie and Charlotte Kehoe were also chosen to compete on highly selective teams at the USRowing Club National Championships, and Gus Magnusson participated in a preparatory West Coast training camp at the Seattle Rowing Center.
“It really comes down to the attitude we have,” Full said of Mia and the rest of the Vashon crew. “They discover they have a real passion for rowing, and once they discover they have the ability, they go get it.”
As reported by NATALIE JOHNSON
Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Reporter
Jul 26 2011, 12:32 PM
On Saturday, July 16, Emmie Kehoe rowed a quad competing for the boat racing in the 2011 CanAmMex Regatta. Emmies’ boat won the Gold! Charlotte Kehoe rowed an eight and won the Bronze! Emmie’s quad will represent the US at the regatta, August 11-12 at Welland International Flatwater Center, Welland, Ontario, Canada.