Tail of the Lake Regatta 2016
Imagine a race where you miss winning silver by 3/10 of a second and can’t actually see your closest competitor. That is the beauty and the maddening part of a head race, and that is exactly what the Vashon Island Rowing Club’s (VIRC) Junior Women’s Quad boat had to contend with at this year’s Tail of the Lake Regatta on Lake Union last Sunday, finishing with a bronze medal in their race along the 4,000 meter course.
VIRC brought home 12 medals overall, 6 of them gold. The head races are especially challenging because rowers do not leave all at once. They have staggered starts, which makes it impossible for rowers to know how their boat is doing during the race, except to compare their progress to the boats immediately behind and in front of them. It means rowers and coxswains have to imagine a competitor at their side through the entire race, and often not know the outcome until they come ashore.
For VIRC this year, the outcome was quite good for both Master and Junior rowers. Standout Junior pair Rhea Enzian and Riley Lynch easily won first in their race, besting the two closest boats, both from Lakeside School, by more than 30 seconds. The Junior Women’s Under-17 boat with rowers also won gold, with rowers Maya Gould, Mabel Moses, Kat eKelly, Ruta Milewski, Sam Ziegler, Olivia White, Ivy Jaguzny, Brigit O’Rourke and coxswain Josie Slade. They edged out the closest boat from Pocock Rowing Center by just 1.4 seconds.
The Junior Novice Women also earned first place in two races, the Junior Novice Womens 4+ and 4x+. Selena Mildon, Aria Mildon, Ava Lorentzen, Pippa Slade, easily won with one oar each and Hayden Rosen coxswaining. With two oars each, and the same coxswain, Lorentzen, Selena Mildon, Slade and B Timken also won gold.
The Juniors’ Varsity Mens’ quad came in third in their race, but in an “open age” field that included juniors and adults, which makes it all the more difficult to medal. A number of late changes to the lineups due to injury and illness also threatened to have an effect on results. “Even though it’s been a rough week for the Juniors with a lot of illness going around, they really fought hard and came home with a lot of medals and four 1st-place finishes,” said Head Coach Richard Parr.
Master rowers also triumphed on the open course looping around Lake Union. Men’s Master Mark Ripley beat 15 other rowers in a singles race just based on his raw time of 16:45.2. Age-adjusted, he still won. Ripley went on to be a part of the Mixed Masters quad team that also won gold, including Mary Schemeta, Chad Magnuson and Lea Heffernan.
There were a number of Masters rowers competing in their very first regatta, which makes Tail of the Lake a bit unusual this year. “Our Masters program continues to grow,” said Parr, “and it was awesome to see so many racing not only for the first time, but having so much fun and being so competitive.”
VIRC’s next regatta is October 16th at American Lake in Lakewood. The VIRC is hosting a 2-week exchange visit in October with 9 rowers and 2 coaches from Germany, who will accompany the team to Head of the Gorge in Victoria, BC the third week of October. That same weekend, Junior rowers will also compete in the Head of the Charles in Boston.
The rowing club is currently interviewing for an assistant coach. If you are interested in this position, please email your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org
Article text by Anne Higuera.