GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Competitors that have raced in multiple events were definitely feeling the burn on Friday, race day number two, at the 2014 USRowing Masters National Championships in Grand Rapids, Mich. The four-day event, hosted by Grand Rapids Rowing Association and the West Michigan Sports Commission, will see 199 national titles awarded before racing concludes on Sunday afternoon.
Friday’s finals were followed by a very special occasion, as Detroit Boat Club Crew toasted to its 175th Anniversary with local craft beer on the banks of the Grand River.
“On the occasion of the Detroit Boat Club Crew’s 175th Anniversary, all of us keeping the rowing tradition alive and well in Detroit salute those competing in the USRowing Masters National Championships in Grand Rapids,” said Friends of Detroit Rowing and Detroit Boat Club Crew President Todd Platt.
“Started in 1839, two years after Michigan gained statehood, the Detroit Boat Club Crew is delighted to see national level competition return to the state. Best wishes for a tremendous success to the Grand Rapids Rowing Association and the West Michigan Sports Commission in their hosting of this year’s event. We look forward to a return engagement in the Detroit area in the not-too-distant future.”
Stephen Lovett, who raced in the Detroit Boat Club men’s A double sculls and men’s club C four with coxswain on Friday, echoed the pride of his team’s legacy.
“We are so pleased that everyone is here to help us celebrate our very special 175th Anniversary,” said Lovett. “It really is amazing to wake up every morning and build on such a strong, powerful legacy. I feel very privileged and honored to be able to pick up our oars and row on a river that so many people have rowed on for years.”
With several close finishes in men’s, women’s, mixed and adaptive race categories, medals were awarded in events 51-100. More than a few rowers were seen, and heard, walking through the boatyard and vendor areas with multiple medals clanking together around their necks.
Vesper Boat Club’s Alix James, with three silver medals, was one of those rowers.
For James, who is competing in five events in two days, racing in multiple events is all about “good team boats.” The former Yale University rower and CEO of Neilson Kellerman since 2008, won silver medals in the mixed C double sculls, women’s C eight and women’s E quadruple sculls Friday. And she’ll be back for more by championships’ end.
“I didn’t race my single this week, so that made it a little bit easier, but I have excellent partners and we have a lot of fun,” said James. “With NK, I’m also a vendor here, and it is a really nice venue. The volunteers did a great job, and we’re really pleased.
“Vesper brought a very small group this year,” said James. “We only had about six or seven people travel, and everybody is racing at least five or six times. We try to get them all in.”
James said her favorite race of the championships so far was the mixed C double with her “fairly frequent double partner” Jeff Cutler from neighboring Malta Boat Club.
“There were 18 boats, so it was three heats with two to advance, which is a little bit more challenging. In the final, we were fourth at 250 (meters) to go, and we came in second. It’s nice when you can do that.
“I’ve been masters racing for 10 years or so, since college racing and some time off, and the increase in depth of quality across the board is really fun to see. In the C and B women’s eights, there were six eights of women racing straight across and nobody was giving an inch.”
Racing continues Saturday with heats and finals in 50 events. For complete results, click the event page links below.
Race schedule and results
Photos and press coverage
Live streaming of finals on USRowing’s You Tube Channel