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Master rowers see success at weekend regional competition
After months of steady early morning workouts along a 2,000-meter course on Quartermaster Harbor, Vashon Island Rowing Club’s (VIRC) masters women and men finally got to put their conditioning to work with great results last weekend at the 2014 Northwest Masters Regional Championship in Vancouver, Washington.
VIRC medaled in 10 separate events, bringing home two gold medals, three silver and five bronze.
“It was really pleasing to see that the hard work put in on the harbor this spring paid off,” said Vashon rowing coach Richard Parr. “Every Vashon athlete came home with at least one medal.
The weekend performance on Vancouver Lake was led by a dominating performance by Mark Ripley, who crushed the field with a powerful open-water win in the men’s single. Vashon also scored gold in the women’s pair, with Su DeWalt and Mary Rothermel winning by a full boat length.
In a race that brought back memories of their victory at the 2006 U.S. Masters National Championship on Seattle’s Green Lake, Bruce Morser and Colby Atwood earned a bittersweet silver medal in the men’s pair. While they were first across the line with a commanding lead, the two were ultimately awarded second place after the finish times were adjusted for age.
“The size of the regatta and the skill of the competition have both improved markedly in just a few short years,” said Parr. “Athletes of all ages seem to be discovering what a great sport rowing really is.”
Morser and Atwood continued their winning ways, teaming up with Ed Zapel and Bob Horsley to win a silver medal in the men’s quad. The next day, those four men hopped into an eight with Mark Ripley, Chad Magnuson, Mark McKallor, Gary Schoch and guest coxswain Joey Peter of Syracuse, New York, to score another second-place finish for Vashon.
VIRC won bronze in the mixed 8, mixed quad and women’s lightweight double. John Singer and Steve Haworth also took bronze in the men’s double, rowing one of the oldest combinations of the regatta at 70 years old. Haworth rounded out the Vashon medal haul with a bronze in the men’s single, his final race for Vashon before moving to the San Francisco Bay area next week with his wife Susan.
“With more than 40 rowing clubs competing at Regionals, the difference between most of them and the Vashon Island Rowing Club was really clear to me,” said Haworth. “Whereas most of them are rowers who establish a few friendships, we are a group of solid friends who also happen to row quite well together. I’m going to miss that a lot when we move to California.”
Coach Parr echoed Haworth’s sentiments: “One of the great things about Vashon’s masters team is the real sense of camaraderie. Everyone supports each other both on and off the water, and the whole experience is just really enjoyable.”
Throughout the weekend, competing clubs were overheard marveling at what Vashon has continually been able to accomplish with such a small contingent at Regionals. Haworth’s departure served as a reminder to VIRC members that there’s plenty of room for new adult rowers to join this growing sport on Vashon. Interested new rowers are encouraged to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Jeff Hoyt is a masters rower, who also medaled at the event.