The Vashon Island Rowing Club’s Masters women’s 8 powered to an impressive open-water victory at the Husky Open invitational regatta on Saturday, March 31.
Rowing at the official kickoff of the University of Washington’s spring rowing season, the Vashon women finished nearly nine seconds ahead of Mt. Baker and Pocock Rowing Center on the 2,000-meter race through the Montlake Cut.
“I couldn’t be more proud to be the one in the ninth seat,” said VIRC coxswain Lisa Huggenvik. “We had open water heading into the Cut where the waves bounce off the walls, so I told them to focus on getting their blades in together and push all that water back to me.”
Kit Gruver, rowing in the 7 seat, described what it was like rowing with a dynamic group of women from wildly different backgrounds and ages that span four decades.
“We all bring our full selves to the boathouse for every practice,” she said. “Our love of rowing is what binds us and allows us to work together, laugh a lot, and grow into better people. Racing well is a celebration of all that.”
The Vashon Junior men were also offered a race at the Husky Open. The men’s quad, with Cooper Py, Rohin Petram, Seth Rosen, Tor Ormseth and coxswain Aidan Teachout, took second place in a thrilling race through the Cut. Vashon found themselves five seconds down to Seattle Rowing Center after just 500 meters, but then made up most of the deficit over the middle 1,000 to enter the final 500 trailing SRC by less than a bow deck.
“Aidan did a great job letting us know where the other boats were and keeping the best line for the course,” said Rosen. “We were rowing a heavy boat in a headwind, which is a disadvantage for us, but we just went for it the whole time.”
At the finish, SRC was able to eke out a two-second victory over Vashon. Coach Ben Steele said he likes to emphasize the work it takes to make up a single tenth of a second on the water.
“Whether it comes from technical or physical improvement,” said Coach Steele, “both the Masters women and Junior men really showed their drive to fight for each and every tenth on Saturday.”
— Jeff Hoyt