Sports

New crew coach brings experience to the junior and master clubs

By MARJA HAFLINGER

For The Beachcomber

There is a new coach in town. Vashon Island Junior Crew lost its former head coach early this summer. Samuel Burns, a veteran rower, was recently hired to replace him.

Burns began his rowing career at the University of Washington.

“I decided to try rowing because I was getting a little big for a runner, and so I walked onto the crew team at UW,” he said. Soon after, he was hooked.

After his sophomore year, Burns and his rowing partner qualified for the Under 23 World Championships. They took home a bronze medal in the pair. Burns rowed four years at UW and one year out of Pocock Rowing Center training in a single.

After graduating from the UW with a degree in industrial engineering, Burns migrated out to Princeton University’s rowing center.

At Princeton, Burns tried out for the National Rowing Team. He went to the World Rowing Championships as a spare. The next few years Burns trained with the National Rowing Team.

In 2006 he went to Worlds as a rower. During his final race his rowing partner was injured and they could not finish the race.

Burns went back to

the World Rowing Championships in 2007 and was victorious. He rowed in the men’s four and won gold. While training with the national team Burns attended Princeton University and finished a pre-med degree. In fall 2010 he plans to attend medical school.

This year, however, Burns will be coaching the Vashon Island Rowing Club — both masters and juniors.

“I haven’t rowed since the Olympic trials,” he said. “I missed the team aspect and the competition, and I want to have fun with the team. I thought this would be a good way to get back into rowing.”

Rowing is hard work, and Burns said that to be successful a rower must push hard, striving to get a little better every day. Other than getting wonderfully fit, rowing opens doors, he said.

The junior crew program is a cooperative program between Vashon Park District and the Vashon Island Rowing Club.

For those interested in trying crew — open to eighth- through 12th-graders — there is an informational meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 7, in the Vashon High School band room. From 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, there will be a “Junior Water Daze” for those who wish to try out rowing at the Jensen Point Boathouse.

— Marja Haflinger is a junior rower with Vashon Island Rowing Club.

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