SARASOTA, Florida – Two crews of Junior rowers from Bainbridge Island Rowing competed at the USRowing Youth National Championships last weekend in Sarasota, Florida, each one besting all other boats in their respective finals.
The championships, which serves as the premier junior rowing event in the United States, sees approximately 1,500 athletes competing in more than 350 crews, representing some 150 teams from across the country — all vying for national titles on the 2000-meter course.
In the time trials on Day One, the BIR’s Women’s Lightweight 8+ (Elsa Derrickson, Caroline Najarian, Lydia Goss, Ellie Genkinger, Gracie Dymoke, Sofia Wilkinson, Emily Fink, Mina Bianchi and cox Olivia Zachariah) placed 19th among 24 teams, including local clubs Mount Baker and Holy Names. That placed them in the D final against five other teams.
The final race, initially scheduled for Saturday, was postponed until Sunday due to thunderstorms.
That extra day of rest might have been just the ticket, BIR officials said, because on Sunday the girls came out strong and led the pack the entire race, with half a length of open water at the half-way mark.
At 1500 meters, the OARS club (of Orlando, Florida) challenged and looked for a moment like they might gain some water. But, the BIR girls dug in and pulled ahead even further, crossing the finish line with open water between them and second-place OARS, and a final time of 6:59:93.
The win placed them 19th in the nation among Women’s Lightweight 8+ teams.
The Men’s Lightweight 4+ (Noah Faust, Collin Oliver, Matthew Derry, Hudson Dore and cox Nikolai Sublett) qualified for the C final in Friday’s time trials, placing 14th out of 20 teams.
Their final took place on Saturday after inclement weather forced a delay and the postponement of multiple races.
Once racing resumed, the BIR boys led the pack for most of the race. With only 250 meters to go, Norwalk River started to challenge for the lead, pulling almost even. But the BIR boys gave everything they had in the final 150 meters to cross the finish line ½ boat length ahead of Norwalk River and with plenty of open water between them and third-place Austin.
Their winning time of 6:45:78 placed them 13th in the nation for the Men’s Lightweight 4+ category.
“I was pleased with both crews’ performance,” said Director of Rowing and boys varsity Head Coach Bruce Beall.
“The national governing body tried a new format for races with the first race a ‘time trial,’ which meant that the boats went down the course in single file to establish their initial rank. USRowing is experimenting with this format and it is the first time we had raced this way, other regions of the country tried this at their regional championships.
“Both crews were a little disappointed with this row but came back strongly with the side-by-side racing to post better times than some of the crews that had faster time trials than we did,” he said. “Both crews had only one senior in the lineup and we anticipate returning next year to move up the ranking.”
Girls varsity Head Coach Barb Trafton agreed, saying, “Racing in Florida this time of year is a real challenge. I talked to a number of coaches from our region and they all noted the contrasting weather between our spring and the heat and humidity of Sarasota.”