By Ella Odland/USRowing
Vesper Boat Club of Philadelphia swept the competition, winning the men’s, women’s and overall team trophies at the 2014 USRowing Club National Championships for the second consecutive year. Vesper won a total of 14 gold, 12 silver and six bronze medals.
The 2014 championships were in Oak Ridge from Wednesday through Sunday. The 2013 championships were in Camden, New Jersey.
“We decided to shrink the numbers of the program this year and try to go for more quality,” said Sean Clarke, Vesper’s program manager. “It made things very exciting at the end for us, but everyone here really did a fine job of living up to Vesper’s tradition of ‘all together.’”
The Vesper men narrowly beat out New York Athletic Club, winning the men’s trophy by two points.
“We had a solid outing,” said Vesper men’s coach Colin Regan. “We had some good results in a lot of our races and some results we’ll look to improve on going into Canada.”
“We have a young group, so they can always just get better a rowing,” Regan said about preparations for the Royal Canadian Henley. “We have a couple more weeks of training to keep trying to get fast and find some more top-end speed.
“Overall, we have a tough, hardy group that’s done everything I’ve told them to do. I think we will only continue to get better.”
On the women’s side, Vesper was the clear winner, finishing 153 points ahead of second-place Thompson Boat Club.
“It went pretty well. We continued the streak of staying in the medals and doing a lot of work,” said Vesper open women’s coach Briana Pittman. “It’s very exciting that we got a lot of good talent and a lot of good athletes from around the country.”
Penn Athletic Club, another program out of Philadelphia, made the trip to Oak Ridge and had eight boats racing in Sunday’s finals. The junior men’s eight was comprised of a winning combination of rowers from around the country.
“Club nationals has been the culmination of our summer training,” said Penn AC coach Dustin Kraus, who has been training with the crew all summer. “We’re from all over the country, and it’s a cool way to end. They are really good kids, and they work really hard.”
Cambridge Boat Club had five boats in the finals on Sunday, including the victorious junior women’s quadruple sculls. Two seat of the quad, Hannah Knight, also won gold medals in the junior A eight and the junior A pair.
“The quad repeated last year’s win. They also won Canadian Henley last year,” said Cambridge Boat Club coach Boris Kusturic. “Two girls returned from that quad, and we got two more. It’s a product of long-term training over several years now for these girls, and they did well.”
Seattle Area Rowing Association is a summer program held at the Connibear Shellhouse on the University of Washington campus. The Seattle Area junior men raced to bronze-medal finishes in the junior eight and junior four events.
“So far, the racing has been fantastic all weekend,” said Seattle Area coach Bill Clifford. “The guys raced really well; there was fantastic competition not only in the junior events, but in the intermediate events we raced as well. It was nice racing against more seasoned athletes. It was great for those guys to have that opportunity.”
“We felt at right at home,” Clifford said about the rainy racing conditions in Oak Ridge. “It was actually really nice to be in warm rain, as opposed to freezing cold.”
For photos, results and press coverage of the event, click here. Follow USRowing Club National Championships on Twitter and Instagram with hashtag #clubnats14.
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