The huge headwind and difficult conditions that ruled the Charles river for most of Sunday's racing could have been expected to have greatly affect the youth crews who raced today--after all, the youth rowers are by definition about the least-experienced rowers at the regatta.
But far from it; while the conditions may have been daunting, the attitude of many of the Junior crews may have simply been, "bring it on!"
"It was brutally windy, and we got to the point where we weren't even putting our blades into the water," said Charlotte Powers, coxswain of Saugatuck's winning Women's Youth Eight. "They were really good at getting in quick, just like we do with headwinds at home, and trying to move the boat as efficiently as possible."
Noah Kim, from the winning Oakland Strokes entry in the Men's Youth Eights, had a similar view. "It just takes resilience and hard work, and you just gotta push through it, even when it gets tough and the wind is really pushing you to the side."
A lot of crews touched on their home-water prep as reasons for surviving in the chop. "Rowing on the Mississippi really prepares us for any type of conditions, like choppy water, flat water, if we have it all there," said Caroline Sharis of Iowas Y-Quad Cities. "We we're just really prepared for this race."
"We row on a pretty tough river at home," said bowseat Abbi Altman of Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Rowing Women's Youth Four, who also won their event. "So, we just kept going and we didn't let it stop us."
Her coxswain, Annika Christensen concurred. "Just as long as we stayed relaxed, that's what I told them. I think we stayed relaxed, and once we got through the wind, we were used to it."
The singles and doubles, who had the toughest conditions on the course today, all touched on similar points in talking to row2k. "You have to have a lot confidence in the boat, in the set of the boat, and just really know that the conditions aren't going hassle you too much," said Harrison Snow, stroke of the winning Narragansett Boat Club entry in the Men's Youth Double. "I think it can be a really big thing psychologically for people."
"You just gotta have to stay loose," added his partner, Toby Satterwhite. "Don't let it rock the boat too much, and just try to stay sharp and relax. Kind of counterintuitive, but you just row through it."
From the mouths of babes.