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Rowers race and place at Green Lake regatta
By JOSEPH PRINGLE
For The Beachcomber
At 4:50 a.m. Saturday, March 21, about 35 novice and experienced members of Vashon Island Junior Crew (VIJC) and about 20 members of the Vashon Rowing Club left Vashon Island to join 1,100 other rowers and participate in the 2009 Green Lake Spring Regatta.
This was a sunrise-to-sunset event, with 65 races scheduled from 7:20 a.m. to 6:05 p.m.
Because of a blanket of fog, 18 races were cancelled or rescheduled until later in the day. At about 10:30 a.m., the fog finally lifted, the schedule resumed and a good time was had by all.
The junior boys performed very well, with strong second-place finishes in the junior men’s quad (four rowers; two short oars per person) and the junior men’s eight (eight rowers with a coxswain; one long oar per person).
Coach Lucas Ridinger, in his fourth year as the club’s head coach, said he was pleased by the results.
“This year, the boys have been doing some juggling and have had some challenges. It was not until last week that they were able to solidify their boats,” Ridinger said.
Despite the challenges, he expects big things, and added, “for the most part, this is an advanced group of guys that are mature and have been rowing for quite a long time. They should do well.”
The girls turned in the most exciting race of the day with a come-from-behind second-place finish in the junior women’s JV eight. In this race, first and second place were decided by less than two seconds.
Several of the girls noted, “If the race had been a few meters longer, we would have won.”
“At the end the girls were walking through the other boats and went from fourth place to second,” Ridinger said. “They could have taken first place if they had started their sprint sooner.”
The coach added that this year’s crew team “has more potential than any team I have seen since I started coaching here.”
“The sky is the limit for them,” he said. “They can take it as far as they want, if they will be committed and do the work.”
“It was great to see rowers of all ages working together,” said Bruce Morser, master rower and past captain of the Vashon Rowing Club. “It’s a lot more fun when we realize that we are all in this together.”
The rowers’ next events are the Lake Stevens Sculling Regatta on April 19 and the Brentwood Regatta in British Columbia from April 23 to 26.
—Joseph Pringle is the father of a junior rower.