By Jeff Hoyt
Vashon Island Rowing Club sent two rowers and two coaches to compete at the Masters National Championship Aug. 15 to 18 on the Grand River in Grand Rapids, Michigan. VIRC’s Kim Goforth led the medal haul for Vashon, rowing with Chinook Performance Racing, a multi-national team with rowers from all over the United States and Canada.
“We train together a few times a year, but there is always someone new I’m rowing with at a regatta,” said Goforth. “The new person for me this time was Angie Schneider, who earned a silver medal rowing for Canada in the Olympics in 1984.”
To go from rowing with a small team on Vashon to sitting in a boat with a former Olympian left Goforth both “thrilled and nervous” about rowing with her.
Goforth, who only started rowing as an adult at age 49, proceeded to then win three gold medals with her boat mates under mostly ideal conditions on the Grand River. All were in women’s eights races, some of the most anticipated events at masters’ regattas.
“Angie is super nice and, needless to say, great to row with,” said Goforth. “It was a great weekend of rowing.”
In other masters Nationals action, Vashon coaches Ben Steele and Maya Krah won silver medals in multiple races rowing for Coaches Association, a team comprised of rowing coaches from around the region.
Krah took silver in the women’s double with her friend Jennifer Huffman, rowing to a photo finish with only .05 of a second separating them from a gold medal.
“We were working our way through the other contenders with every stroke of our sprint,” said Krah.
Steele and Krah rowed their mixed double to a silver medal finish with Krah laughing about catching a crab with both of her blades one stroke after crossing the finish line.
Then Steele paired up with his mom, Jeannette Bannink, to a third-place finish in the Mother-Son doubles race.
“I was very nervous, but we finished,” said Bannink. “It was easily the hardest three minutes and 43 seconds of my life.”
Gail Brownell also competed for Vashon, advancing to the finals in both of her doubles races before ultimately finishing fourth in each.
Next up for Vashon Island Rowing Club is their annual fundraiser bike ride, Passport 2 Pain. Hundreds of cyclists from on and off-island will roll out of Jensen Point on the morning of Sept. 14, with multiple “pain” options (distance and elevation gain) for riders of all levels. To sign up for the annual ride that benefits the VIRC Junior rowing program, go to passport2pain.org.
— Jeff Hoyt is a member of the Vashon Island Rowing Club.