Local Youth Participate in USRowing Nationals

By Andy Piper

Whether on the water, in the weight room, or on a rowing machine (often referred to as an erg), the typical high school rower trains 2-3 hours per day, 5-6 days a week for months at a time. Oar blades and rowers must act in unison to propel the boat forward 2000 meters, often doing so in 6-9 minutes. For this reason rowing is often considered the ultimate team sport.

This past June 8-10, the USRowing Youth Nationals were held at Lake Natoma near Folsom, CA. Three local area high school rowing clubs – Atlanta Junior Rowing Association (AJRA), Lake Lanier Rowing Club (LLRC), and Saint Andrew Rowing Club (SARC) – each sent rowers to this prestigious event.

Upon entering the venue, you notice the parking lots full of trailers and shells (boats) in various stages of rigging. Continuing on, you hear the event announcers informing you of the current crews on the water, where they’re from, and how well they’re doing. You spot crews getting into/out of shells while waist high in the water – as it turns out, there are no docks to launch/recover boats, just the shoreline. As you near the water, you discover that you’re approaching the finish line with its enormous orange buoys strung northward across the lake, paralleling Nimbus Dam located just a couple hundred yards to the west.

Tents line the southern shore where thousands of families and rowers congregate. A noticeable buzz is in the air as only the top 378 crews from around the US are here competing in one of 18 sets of events; the excitement and cheers of encouragement elevate as the crews go past, first in a series of individual time trials, then in 133 head-to-head 2000m sprint races (17 being photo-finishes) spread over the course of the 3-day championship weekend.

AJRA’s Men’s Youth 4x boat finished 6th in the country, while their Men’s Youth 8+ and Women’s Lightweight Youth 4+ crews both finished in 15th in their events. LLRC’s Women’s Youth 2x crew did well placing 9th in the country. Despite an oar coming apart during the time trials, the SARC Men’s Youth 4+ crew rallied to finish 14th in the country, while the SARC Women’s Youth 8+ crew ended the season finishing 19th in the country.

Congratulations to these crews, the clubs and their coaches for such incredible achievements this year making it to USRowing Youth Nationals.