Rowers compete in Ergomania

Above are rowers Alaina Williams, Mia Croonqist, Thane Gill and Will Kicinski, who won the gold medal in the Team Cup Competition. - Katie Burton Photo
Above are rowers Alaina Williams, Mia Croonqist, Thane Gill and Will Kicinski, who won the gold medal in the Team Cup Competition.
— image credit: Katie Burton Photo

The Vashon Island Junior Rowing Club traveled to Seattle University to participate in Ergomania, the Pacific Northwest’s premier indoor rowing competition, on Jan. 29.

Local teams compete to find out who is the fastest and strongest on an ergometer rowing machine. The machine mimics the movements used in rowing, measuring how long it takes an athlete to make a boat travel 500 meters.

Connolly Center at Seattle University was filled with about 100 machines, athletes and teams from all over the Seattle area, along with fans and parents. Everyone was screaming for the athletes to work as hard as they could. The excitement and level of competition doesn’t get any more intense.

Vashon’s coach, Sam Burns, had been preparing the team for Ergomania for weeks through calisthenics, weight training, and erg pieces designed to increase oxygen intake and leg strength.

Will Kiciniski won the junior men’s 2000-meter row, crushing the other competitors with a 2000-meter time of 6:23.1. The second-place rower came in 10 seconds later at 6:33.7.

Mia Croonquist, a new rower to the team, took first place in her heat and third in the overall junior women’s 2000-meter race.

Mark Ripley, a masters rower, came in second in his heat. There were 18 teams competing in a Team Cup Competition, including a University of Washington ROTC team, Fitness Club teams and one team comprised of former UW rowers. Alaina Williams, Croonquist, Thane Gill and Kicinski competed in the team competition and won their heat. They went on to take first place and a gold medal in the entire Team Cup Competition.

Vashon Island Junior Crew is a cooperative program between Vashon Park District and Vashon Island Rowing Club. Every day after school, the rowers condition their bodies and row from Jensen Point Boathouse for more than two hours. Islanders are welcome to come out and watch them row.

On Feb. 12, the whole team is going to participate in a fundraising “Ergathon” on Vashon. All team members will row 12,000 meters on an ergometer rowing machine.

The team is rowing to raise money for an eight-person boat. The team’s current boats are old and have been used year-round by both the master (adult) and junior rowers for many years.

The team has been raising funds for several years towards this large purchase and is hoping to garner enough money to purchase the boat in time for the spring competitive season.

Team members are asking families, friends and supporters to sponsor them. The money collected will go directly into a fund for a new boat.

All donations are tax deductible because the club is a nonprofit organization. Make out a check to VIJC and mail it to P.O. Box 254, Vashon, Wash., 98070.

— Janet Williams is a crew mom.

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