Novices Beat Coaches in Final Race of the Summer Rowing Season
For the past six weeks, nearly 130 youth and adult novice and veteran rowers have gotten up before dawn to learn the sport and strengthen their skills at the Alexandria Summer Rowing program in Old Town. Last Friday, they put what they learned to the test at the Blue Plains Sprints, an annual regatta, held at the Dee Campbell Boathouse, to mark the official end of the summer rowing season. The regatta featured the rowers racing against each other in a series of 500-meter sprints down the Potomac River.
Rowers competed in single sculls, doubles, fours and eight-person racing shells. The waters were calm, but the competition was fierce. For many rowers, it marked the first time they had raced 500 meters. For the more veteran rowers, the races provided an opportunity to show what they learned this summer and show off the skills they had developed in the past.
The annual highlight of the Blue Plains Sprints is the last race of the day, one that pits the youth novice rowers against their coaches. This year's event saw the pupils best their teachers, as the novice youth crossed the finish line with a time of 1:20 - two seconds better than their coaches.
This year's youth rowers were drawn from such area schools as T.C. Williams, Bishop Ireton, St. Stephen's/St. Agnes, Commonwealth Academy, West Potomac, Yorktown, McLean, Georgetown Visitation, St. Albans, Herndon and Howard Gardner.
The Alexandria Summer Crew program is directed by Lexye Hearding. This year's coaches included Pat Marquardt, Adam Soller, Chris Ottie, Audrey Shankles, Will Shankles, Ian Terrell, Emma Carlisle-Reske, Grace Barbara, Jobelle Cruz, Max Jones, Mark Kennedy, Christian Salcedo, Nora Willkomm, Allie Zickar, Josh Cruz, Cameron Pattisall, Rene Rodriguez and John West. Steve Weir also provided assistance.
The Summer Crew program is sponsored by the Alexandria Crew Boosters. For more information about rowing in Alexandria and the rowing programs that will be offered this fall, please visit www.tcwcrew.org or www.rowalexandria.com.