Marin Rowing Association Dominates the Afternoon
June 12, 2011
The California-Based Crew Wins Three National Eights Titles
OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – Marin Rowing Association went into the women’s eight final at the 2011 USRowing Youth National Championships on Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tennessee having lost to the Connecticut Boat Club twice in the first two days of racing.
That was not to be repeated in today’s final.
The Marin women jumped into an early lead in the first 500 meters, built it through the middle and then won their second national championship in three years, leaving second place to James Madison High and third to Connecticut.
“I wouldn’t have picked this path,” said Marin women’s head coach Sandy Armstrong. “In the past years that I’ve come [to Youth Nationals], sometimes you have an easy path from the heats to the semis and then the finals, and sometimes you have a tough path.
“So certainly when (Connecticut coach Liz Trond) and I saw that we were in the same heat knowing we were top two, maybe, who knows until you get here, it wouldn’t have been the path I would pick. But we went for it knowing we haven’t raced since (the San Diego Crew Classic where Marin lost to Connecticut.)
“So fine, we get through the reps, no problem, we go into the semi thinking, if we can break them in the first 500, 600 meters, we’ll know that we can do it in the finals. So that was all we tried to do. We got closer than we were, we knew we had it and we shut down and by that I mean no more racing. And then we threw it all into today.”
The Marin’s women’s championship was the club’s third national championship of the afternoon. Before them the lightweight men’s eight claimed their national title and the heavyweight men’s eight followed suit in the final race of the day.
“That was brilliant. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Marin men’s head coach Graham Willoughby. “I’ve been coaching for 10 years, and the women’s coach Sandy has been coaching for 27 years, and she’s never seen anything like it. We’re very proud.”
While Connecticut missed repeating as national champions in the women’s eight, they did win a title in the women’s pair.
“We’re bummed,” Trond said of the third place finish in the eight. “But we had a great race, so we’re bummed that we weren’t the fastest crew today.”
Earlier in the morning, Connecticut sisters Rosemary and Lucy Grinalds, who also rowed in the eight final, dominated their event throughout the weekend and won gold with more than two lengths of open water between them and second place Saratoga Rowing Association and third place Mile High Rowing Club.
“We’re excited about that,” said Rosemary Grinalds.
“And we didn’t fight at all during the race,” added Lucy.
“We were trying to conserve a lot for the eight,” Rosemary said. “We definitely had a great start and we kept it steady throughout the whole thing.”
In three days of racing, 18 national titles were on the line in the men’s and women’s eight, lightweight eight, quadruple sculls, four with coxswain, lightweight four with coxswain, pair, double sculls, lightweight double sculls and single sculls.
The first championship final of the morning – the women’s single, set the tone for a day of fierce racing. Tempe Junior’s Sophie Heywood jumped into an early lead and crossed the 1,000-meter point with open water on the field.
As they passed through the third quarter, Tampa Training Center’s Taylor Burdge started to reel her in. Rowing into the last 500 meters, Burdge had pushed her bow past Heywood and held on to win.
“Once I had the red zone, two and three started to charge and I basically prayed to hold on to them,” said Burdge. “I tried to race my race and not get rattled when I was in third. I’m always behind and then I charge. I didn’t expect to do this well. I’m not very seasoned and I’m just getting used to it all.”
In a repeat of race strategies, Anders Weiss from the Narragansett Boat Club also jumped into an early lead. He was chased by Dallas Rowing Club’s Oliver Salonna and Saratoga Rowing Association’s Ryan Allen.
Salonna and Allen inched past Weiss and dueled to the finish with Allen winning, followed by Salonna in second and Weiss in third.
Allen said that he was confident going into the race because he had beaten all of the others in the previous races. “I just tried to stay relaxed and confident.”
The racing continued with dramatic moments throughout. In the lightweight women’s double sculls, Brookline High School’s entry was leading approaching the last quarter of the race when they suffered a boat stopping missed stroke, allowing Community Rowing Inc. to take the lead and win.
As it had the previous two days, bright morning sunshine pushed the temperatures through the eighties. But today, overcast skies kept the heat down in the afternoon. Storms threatened but never produced anything to interrupt the racing.
In the final men’s races of the day, the lightweight men’s eight and the men’s eight, Marin ruled. In the lightweight eight, Marin led through the majority of the race and crossed first with Canisius High School in second and Marina Aquatic Center Junior Rowing finishing third.
In the heavyweight eight, Marin, who was second in the event last year, jumped into the lead in the first 500 and pushed away until they crossed the line well in front of Phillips Academy in second and Mt. Baker Crew in third.
“This was a hell of a lot better than last year,” said Willoughby. “Last year we came up just short and we learned a lot from it. We learned a lot from the guys who were in that boat, the guys who graduated and the guys who were still in the boat.
“To come back a year later and strike gold, do it right and pretty convincingly was a great feeling.”
Complete results are available at www.usrowing.org.
Video clips of the finals will be available to download following the regatta at http://www.usrowing.org/Multimedia/VideoDownloads.aspx. Click the “Buy Now” link next to the race of your choice to be directed to payment and download information, powered by Amazon.
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