First Champions Crowned at the 2017 Club National Championships

BETHEL, Ohio — Standing at six feet, eleven inches tall, California Rowing Club’s Michael Clougher is hard to miss in a crowd— even when surrounded by rowers.

A former basketball player, Clougher began rowing his junior year of high school. He continued to excel in the sport at Connecticut College while balancing his majors in computer science, math and economics.

In the final of the men’s elite/senior single sculls, Clougher overtook John Graves, Joshua King, Tom Graves, Mihailo Malowany and Wes Vear to win the first race of the U.S. Lotman Challenge with a time of 6:53.042.

“There was some real talent in the field but I knew that John [Graves] in particular is quite a passionate competitor and would be a real challenge to pass.  Luckily things worked out for me, but I know they easily could have gone another way,” said Clougher, who has his sights set on rowing for the U.S. at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Today, his first place finish in the single made him more than just a National champion; he became a winner of the first of three Lotman Challenge events, qualifying himself in a top position for the 2017 Head of the Charles Regatta. Clougher will be racing at the 2017 U.S. Senior World Trials, August 5-9 in West Windsor, N.J.

Starting early Friday morning, 220 boats took to the water for the first half of this week’s finals. Racing was seen from all angles, as spectators were to watch both on land and via an overhead drone live stream on USRowing’s Youtube Channel.

For Kyra Patterson of Wayland-Weston, the final of the intermediate lightweight pair was a redemption row. In 2016, Patterson failed to advance for the event, finishing in last in her heat.

“[Last year] it went poorly, it was almost embarrassing how bad it went,” said bow seat, Patterson. “This year I realized I wanted to come back and I didn’t want that to happen again. It went pretty well, I’d say.”

Their determination was evident on the water as the pair of Patterson and her pair partner Jamie Cook won their race in a time of 7:52.083.

“We thought we were going to get by with second—we would’ve been happy with second—but this is really great,” said Patterson. “We’re just grateful for each other.”

Now a national champion, stroke seat, Cook, has been rowing for 11 months. Though she still doesn’t fully understand rowing, Cook is positive that joining the team is the best choice she’s made.

The pair’s goal for 2018 is to become better scullers, come back and place in more events at Club Nationals.

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As racing throughout the day continued, Vesper Boat Club proved strong, looking to retain the Colgan Cup team points title for the fourth consecutive year. In the finals, 13 out of their 18 boats racing earned medals. Vesper has hoisted themselves into the spotlight at Club Nationals as a team to watch.

Men’s and women’s team points titles will also be contested at Club Nationals. In 2016, the titles were won by the New York Athletic Club and TBC Racing, respectively.

Racing continued through the afternoon with time trials in the second half of events being held contested week.

Following the end of racing on Sunday, July 16, USRowing will host its 14th-annual College Fair for rising seniors and collegiate coaches. The event will run from 2:00-4:00 p.m., providing an opportunity for high school athletes interested in collegiate rowing to connect with coaches following a week of racing.

Athletes are encouraged to bring a rowing resume – an example can be found here.

Watch the live stream broadcast for today’s racing on USRowing’s YouTube Channel.

Schedule | Entries | Results

@USRowing | #clubnats17

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