When the River City Rowing Club went to the National Junior Championships earlier this month, most of the teams it faced were led by some of the best young rowers in the country.
The locals, however, used a more balanced approach to place in the top 16 in two events, including a fourth-place finish by the quad scull boat. The successful team effort was typical for an RCRC squad known more for its roster depth than for individual strength.
The great showing capped a recent string of success that saw the local club’s quad scull and double scull boats place second and third, respectively, in the Southwestern regional regatta. That earned the two squads their spots at the national finals in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
In crew, sculling is when each rower carries two oars; one on each side of the boat. When each rower carries only one oar, it’s called sweeping. In sweeping, there can be two, four or even eight rowers to a boat. Sculling has single, double and quad events.
Placing two teams among the top 16 in the entire country was no easy task. The quad team — made up of Davis brothers Cameron and Myles Cannings, local rower Capp Wiedenhoefer and Sean Callaghan from Roseville — and the RCRC double boat (manned by Cody Crawford and Austin Hagyard of Christian Brothers) practiced hard for two hours a day, six days a week.
With a successful spring under their belts, the local rowers will begin preparations for the long-distance season. Over the course of the fall, RCRC will take part in approximately six races.
The spring features shorter, more intense races — about 2,000 meters each — that force rowers to push every muscle in their body to the limit for the entire time, usually around seven minutes. In the fall, the distances go up to 5,000-6,000 meters.
“We train a lot, with not a lot of racing. It is just as much mental as it is physically taxing,” RCRC director and coach Tricia Blocher told The Enterprise. “The rowers must push through pain to win races and be extremely tough mentally. They must trust each other to do things that they never thought possible.”
That trust is especially showcased by balanced and tightly knit teams like the RCRC Juniors. In rowing, every team member must do their part to succeed and both local national-championships boats followed that mantra, using their dedication and camaraderie to advance through heats and semifinals to the finals.
While the rowers on the current roster are clearly performing well, the River City Rowing Club is always on the lookout for new athletes. Interested youngsters can find out more at www.rivercityrowing.org.
For their first year, new rowers are novices. They train together, work together and race together, building trust and honing their skills then move up to the varsity team the next year.