The LOCR Masters and Juniors teams had a fine showing in Vancouver at the July 29th Row For The Cure (RFTC), with several athletes earning medals in their events.
The Masters program in particular has gained tremendous momentum in the past several months under the guidance and leadership of Masters Head Coach, Matt Dorio, who was absolutely thrilled with how the team performed at the regatta.
"Last year, we had four members of the Masters team race at this event, and this year we almost quadrupled that number with 15 members of both the Masters team and coaching staff filling seats in singles, doubles, quads and even an eight. It was amazing to see so much support, and to see a tent full of Masters rowers eager to get out on the race course and to have a great time."
Dorio's pride and enthusiasm comes through loud and clear as he talks about the individual races. "Our women's quad had an amazing race, taking the overall win in their race, and earning a silver medal after the age handicap was applied. However, even more impressive, they took six seconds off their US Rowing Pacific Northwest Masters Regionals time of 4:06, to finish at 4:00 minutes! Lightning Fast!"
"The top mixed quad entry was impressive as well. Even though they were in the race with only one other boat, which happened to be another LOCR entry, they didn't let that stop them from posting a personal best time of 3:40, the fastest time I have seen a Masters quad post since I have started coaching the team. And even better, for the first time since I have been the coach, LOCR was able to field a mixed 8! Recovering from a rocky start, the 8 was able to stay composed and walk through the field, coming back from last place off the start to second place raw time. After the age handicap was applied, the boat took 4th overall, and everyone had a blast rowing our first race together in an 8!"
Youth team Novice Women's Coach and former Syracuse University rower, Meryl Engler, who stroked the eight was equally enthusiastic saying, "That was without a doubt the best race I have had since college!"
Dorio went on to talk about LOCR legend, Roger Stevens who, at 81, rowed a single for the second time in competition, "After fighting through the rough conditions of Regionals in June, Roger stayed determined to get back out on the race course to improve his time. And he did just that, posting a nearly three minute faster time at this race than at Regionals. An absolutely amazing improvement!”
Last but not least was the women's double, "Our women's double rowed a solid race, and it was a hard fought battle. They ended up taking away a bronze, only five seconds behind the 2nd place crew with age handicap applied!" said Dorio.
Dorio has big plans for the future of the Masters program, "Moving forward the future of the team is extremely bright! We have more people on the team than ever, and the focus is going to be fostering the growth we have and to keep improving on the results we have posted in the past. Moving into the fall, we are looking forward to fielding more sweep boats. The goal being to field either a Men's, Women's or Mixed 8 at the Frostbite Regatta in Seattle in November. Definitely a lofty goal. However I believe we have the numbers and the interest to do so. We are getting fast, and are looking to keep improving on results seen in the past. With personal best times in the Mixed and Women's quad, I am excited to keep seeing our times drop, and to keep competing against top notch competition in the Northwest region. I am beyond excited for the future of our club, and as we grow and continue to get faster, it is going to be fun to watch the team become more unified and push each other to new limits and heights."
Not to be overshadowed, the Juniors also had much to be proud of at the RFTC this year. "The Junior rowers showed up with smiles on their faces and racing on their minds," said Youth team Varsity Men's Coach, Preston Reep. "We trained hard leading up to this race and it showed in our performance. All crews felt their races were executed according to plan, everyone stayed in their lanes going down the course, and most importantly we had fun racing hard with our teammates.
"Also, a big shout out to our Junior parents who got everyone to the course on time and stayed late for the awards ceremony. We absolutely could not be successful without your support and generosity!", added Reep.
Junior team rowers entered boats in several categories, including both men and women's singles (Adrian E /Finn P/ Madison M) and doubles (Alex E & Isabel C, Emma M & Mika K, Jack W & Ben C), a men’s quad (Felix G, Ben S, Jack W & Ben C) and a mixed eight (Cox: Madison M, Emma M, Mika K, Finn P, Felix G, Dylan C, Ben S, Alex E & Isabel C).
- Karen Norgaard