Rowers race against tough international teams at British Columbia regatta

The Vashon Island Junior Crew men
The Vashon Island Junior Crew men's 8 rows at the Brentwood Regatta.
— image credit: Peter Milovsoroff photo

About 30 miles north of Victoria, British Columbia, Vashon Island Junior Crew competed April 24 to 26 against rowers from all over Canada and the United States at the 2009 Brentwood International Regatta.

At this three-day event, billed as “the largest athletic event hosted by a single high school,” 37 different teams, representing more than 1,500 rowers from as far away as Tempe, Ariz., and Bermuda, came to race against some of the best competition in North America.

In the end, Brentwood took first place overall in the “schools competition.” In the “club competition” Sammamish Rowing Association took first place. Vashon Island Junior Crew (VIJC) did not place or bring home any medals, but Coach Lucas Ridinger was still very pleased with their achievements.

“No Vashon varsity team has ever made it to the finals, but this weekend the boys 8, the girls 8 and the boys lightweight 4 qualified for the finals,” he said.

The Brentwood International Regatta, one of the premier regattas in North America, is held annually at Mill Bay, which is on the west coast of Vancouver Island. This location might explain the rough water that both the boys and girls 8 had to deal with on Saturday during the finals.

“The conditions were rough, and the winds were high,” said one parent of the boys 8 finals race. “During their race the boat took on a lot of water, but they made it across the finish line. They had to pump it out before they could lift it out of the water. One boat from Lake Oswego was not so fortunate. Their boat was totally swamped, and they had to swim out to the rescue boat.”

Because of the dangerous conditions, there was a six-hour wind delay.

On Saturday, April 25, British Columbia’s Premier Gordon Campbell was in attendance, providing encouragement and photo opportunities to the rowers.

Previously, on April 19, team members competed in the 2009 Northwest Sculling Regatta in Lake Stevens, Wash. As of press time, however, official results were not available.

All practices and regattas up to this point have been in preparation for the NW Junior Regional Championships on May 15.

This event is sponsored by US Rowing and will be held at Vancouver Lake, Vancouver, Wash. All members of the community are invited to come cheer on their hometown team.

Vashon Island Junior Crew is a program of the Vashon Park District.

— Joseph Pringle is a crew dad and the juniors’ publicity coordinator.

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