Masters row strong at Northwest Regionals Rowing Championship

On the weekend of June 25 through 27, the Vashon Island Rowing Club participated in its largest masters regatta of the year — the Northwest Regionals Rowing Championship, with 39 rowing clubs coming from as far away as Alaska, California and Colorado to race at Lake Stevens for three days.

Rowers showed that they have benefited from the great coaching of Sam Burns, which earlier this summer led to great successes for the Vashon junior rowing squad.

“Thanks to Sam we are a much improved club, and we showed it in this regatta,” said rower Bob Horsley. “We are one of the smallest clubs at this regatta, but we consistently raced neck and neck with the biggest and best clubs in this region.”

As a tribute to Burns’ great coaching, the club named its new eight-person shell after him. And in the inaugural race for the “Sam,” the Vashon boat was stroked by John Jannetty along with Jim Hauser, Celia Congdon, Karen Perla, Jan Peterson, Carri Singer, John Singer and Steve Haworth. They rowed with great determination and claimed first place, a full 10 seconds ahead of the second-place boat. This boat was also given a big boost by the excellent coxswain work of high school junior Sarah Warner.

Other first-place finishes include: Celia Congdon and Karen Perla in the women’s double; and Ed Zapel, Mark Ripley, Scott Engelhard and Bob Horsley in the mens’ quad. A second-place finish went to the women’s lightweight quad of Debbie Jackson, Therese Smith, Celia Congdon and Karen Perla. Third-place finishes were earned by Mark Ripley in the single and the men’s four — John Jannetty, Jim Hauser, Gary Schoch and Eric Gill.

But Vashon’s most spectacular race of the regatta goes to 78-years-young Murray Andrews.

He is a novice rower. Before this weekend, he had been rowing less than two years, and he’d never raced. On top of that, earlier in the week, Andrews had had a pacemaker put in. To make it even more daunting, as he rowed to the starting line to race against five other rowers age 70 or older (each with decades of rowing experience), the wind came up and the rowing conditions became very poor.

Many rowers were seriously considering dropping out of their races because of the conditions. Undaunted, Andrews did far more than go out there and race. He rowed spectacularly and finished the race in second place.

— Scott Engelhard is a

masters’ rower.

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