Rowing team will test the waters

The Bainbridge Island Rowing Club is about to make a bit of history.

BIRC – a non-profit organization founded last year – will enter five junior crews in Saturday’s Green Lake Spring Sprints. That marks the club’s competitive debut against established junior crews, and is the first of what may be as many as five spring regattas.

“Our goals are fairly modest,” said coach Jay Trinidad. “The important thing is to have the experience of the first race. We’re not going out to win, but to see how we stack up with other junior crews. Some of them send teams to nationals every year.

“We’re the new kid on the block. It would be nice if we surprise somebody.”

BIRC rowers between the ages of 13 through 18 years old began training for the spring race season last Thanksgiving with ergometer (rowing machine) work and strength conditioning five days a week.

Water practices began early last month, with the crews launching from the beach at Waterfront Park both before and after school in a schedule that allowed them to be on the water nearly every day. The configuration of Eagle Harbor provided protection from south winds.

A simulated race on Saturday morning was one of the final steps in preparing for the regatta.

“We started at 5:45 a.m. in snow and driving rain,” said coach Jay Trinidad. “At this point, the kids are used to it. We wanted them to get a dry run of what we can expect on Saturday, getting on and off the water quickly.”

The junior women will enter three boats – two eights and a four – in the Green Lake regatta. The stroke of the junior women’s A eight is senior Amanda Johncock, who plans to row in college. Other A rowers are Meredith Blumenthal, Callie Carver, Rachel Johncock, Julia Knight, Megan Magraw, Hannah Raymond and Lauren Rundberg.

Novice rowers include Karlyn Adams, Rachel Becker, Jeane Foy, Taryn Hadfield, Stephanie Holliday, Caitlin Kleinschmidt and Kira Pickering.

The two Johncocks, Rundberg and Knight will row the four.

Coxswains for the junior women are BHS freshmen Molly Jackson and Adrian Hodos.

“Technically, all our rowers are novices,” said Trinidad. “But we entered our A boat in the JV race, against boats with a year of racing under their belts. It’s a challenge, but we think our girls can hold their own.”

The junior men will field an eight and a four. Junior Peter Mandell is stroke of the eight. Others are Ross Henshaw, Rory Hiett, Seth Jacobson, Ethan Narimatsu, Kiel Reijnan, Josh Rosenberg and Francis Toglia. Henshaw, Hiett, Mandell and Toglia will also compete in the four. The cox is Alex Riede, a BHS senior.

Sue Trinidad and Morgan Seeley are the other two BIRC junior coaches.

Other rowing news:

* While the juniors teams are largely self-supporting, they are actively seeking corporate and individual sponsorships. Islander Kurt Frost, a former UW rower and currently an executive at Magnolia Hi-Fi, arranged for his company to donate a video camera to be used at practices to enable rowers to review and improve their technique.

* BIRC recently added an eight and two fours to its fleet, purchasing the new boats from the Seattle Yacht Club. The fours, less stable on the water than eights, provide an opportunity for rowers to improve their technique and balance as well as facilitating intra-club competitive opportunities.

BIRC boats are currently stored at Waterfront Park on temporary racks.

“The Bainbridge Island Rowing Club is grateful to the City of Bainbridge Island and the Public Works Department for their continued support of the juniors race program. Without their support, it is unlikely that the juniors would be racing this spring,” said Anne Seeley, an active BIRC member.

* The junior men’s team has room for more rowers for the 2002 season, which runs through mid-May. Any high school boy in Kitsap County is eligible. Information: Jay Trinidad, 842-9241 or Morgan Seeley, 842-2004.

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