Vashon Island Rowing Club battled either windy or soggy conditions to medal in multiple events at last weekend’s Covered Bridge Regatta on Dexter Lake near Eugene, Oregon.
On Saturday, Vashon’s junior rowers took two gold medals while navigating their shells through a 12-mile-per-hour chop.
Riley Lynch continued on the championship path that will take her to Stanford’s rowing program in the fall, dominating and winning the junior women’s single race.
“The water was really, really rough, but I tried to stay as calm as I could because I knew that was the only way to get my boat down the course and pull out a first,” Lynch said.
On the junior men’s side, VIRC’s novice coxed quad also won gold, opening up a significant gap on the rest of the field for an open water victory.
The lineup of Lex Rosen, Renz O’Meara, Baker VanBuren and Ryan Weller responded to coxswain Joshua Kyles’ call to pull away after their nearest competitor tried to make a move for the lead at the halfway point of the novice race.
“That was the best we’ve done with this lineup, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement,” Kyles said.
This year’s Covered Bridge Regatta was attended by 537 athletes representing 25 rowing clubs from as far away as the Bay Area in California.
After two consecutive years of race cancellations due to weather, this year’s regatta, while not ideal, was at least rowable.
“You don’t even notice a constant rain when you’re racing — especially if you’re winning,” said Masters Men’s Captain Fred Sayer.
VIRC’s masters contingent was noticeably smaller this year, with only four masters men making the trip south.
Chad Magnuson and Bob Stewart took silver in the men’s pair race, losing to a much younger, unaffiliated boat featuring rowers from Stanford and Denver.
Sayer and Foss Miller earned a bronze in their men’s double race, and the four Vashon men capped off the weekend’s racing with another bronze in a “tight and fun” quad event.
“The juniors and parent coordinators are to be commended for keeping everything organized,” said Sayer. “And many thanks to the parents for keeping up a constant supply of hot, tasty food.”
— Jeff Hoyt