In August, Sammamish Rowing Association (SRA) announced a 3 year partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA). The PCA works to develop better athletes and people through resources for youth and high school sport coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes. Through its resources such as printable tools, videos, workshops, and audio tools, PCA strives to create a positive, character-building youth sports culture.
SRA’s partnership with PCA aims to help our coaches become and remain Double-Goal Coaches. A Double-Goal Coach strives to win while also pursuing the more important goal of teaching life lessons through sports. Our coaches continuously think about balancing the drive and ambition to win while also building a lifelong passion for rowing.
Just this fall our coaches have participated in a PCA workshop, and have been taking part in the ACCEL Sports Management Certificate at the University of Washington. In these courses our coaches have worked alongside other sports coaches to discuss team culture, leadership, and athlete development. They’ve learned creatively through engaging lectures, group work, role-playing coaching scenarios, and completing worksheets and assignments meant to explore all areas of their coaching.
PCA training has seen higher retention rates of both coaches and athletes which they attribute to the Double-Goal Coach Model Training that influences coaches to change their coaching behavior, enabling them to more positively influence the experiences of the athletes on their teams. We believe that our athletes deserve the best, and when we invest in our coaches we invest in our athletes.
The PCA also works with student-athletes and parents. Many SRA parents attended the Second-Goal Parent workshop in September to learn how they can best support their student-athlete. This Saturday, our rowers will attend their own workshop focusing on social media usage. All rowers are required to attend the PCA training this Saturday, November 17th, from 8:30 am-10:30 am.
In a world where social media is becoming increasingly used in our daily lives this training will be an opportunity for our athletes to examine their use of social media and its impact on the team, themselves, and the community as a whole. A certified PCA trainer will use a series of personal reflections and several real-life scenarios to help athletes think deeply about their use of the various social platforms. Rowers will consider their personal brand and how social media plays into other people’s perceptions of them, including collegiate coaches and recruiters.
Upon conclusion of this workshop, our student-athletes will leave equipped with social media guidelines that they can enact in their school community, personal life, or team. We hope this training helps carry on the goal of PCA to create better athletes and better people. By being deliberate in how our athletes present themselves at school, around the boathouse, and within their own communities they can work towards becoming a positive influence on others and leading by example.
We look forward to seeing all rowers present at this training, and we hope this workshop creates an open dialogue within friend groups and families on the importance of smart social media use. If you would like to learn more about the PCA and explore some of their 1,500+ free resources, check out their home webpage linked in the article. To read about our 3-year partnership visit our blog post linked below.
When I walked up the stairs after sending off my junior rowers, Susan Cameron was already outside my office and greeted me with a huge smile. Instantly I could feel her warmth, sincerity, and kind spirit as we sat down to talk. I would have never known that just a year ago she was diagnosed with Acoustic Neuroma, a tumor in her brain. Together we sat upstairs in the boathouse and she shared her inspiring story with me- her beginnings at SRA, her journey through the brain tumor, and everything that came after.
Susan has been a rower with Sammamish Rowing Association (SRA) for five years now. Starting at the age of 12, Cameron had been an avid runner. She focused largely on long distance running and often ran with a running group. At one point she was training for the Paris Marathon, but ended up injuring her Achilles that resulted in surgery. Always looking on the bright side, Cameron happily added that while it was unfortunate that she suffered from this injury it eventually led her to the sport of rowing.
Being a member of SRA for five years means that something has brought Susan back time and time again. When asked what keeps her coming back to the boathouse she cited off several reasons immediately. “Love for the sport, teamwork unlike any other sport, a strong community, the individuals, always something more to learn, supporting one another,” she said instantly. Cameron added, “The other thing that keeps me coming back is having a place to push myself to the maximum- my maximum physically, my maximum mentally, emotionally- just pushing myself and discovering what my limits are. I don’t think I’ve discovered what my limits are. I’ve touched them physically, but I want to keep pushing that and see how far I can go.”
Flash back to 2017 just before the Head of the Charles Regatta. Cameron was training for and competing intensely for this event. “It was 100% my focus and nothing was going to stand in my way,” she said. “The six months leading up to that I had felt some dizziness, experienced some hearing loss. After the Head of the Charles I just noticed more symptoms and the symptoms were more pronounced. So I decided to get checked out.” Her MRI was November 21st. Cameron had actually gone to the Internet for her own research and correctly self diagnosed herself before the MRI- one of the few times where looking up symptoms online has been accurate! Her radiologists confirmed that she had Acoustic Neuroma.
To recover, Cameron needed 24/7 care the first week home. Cameron had an inner circle of care that was comprised of her sons, former husband, and her sweet golden retriever Hobbes who recently passed away. Her outer circle was a small army of friends, a large amount who are rowers at Sammamish. “I felt that people were just there to catch me and carry me through. I had meals; I had people coming to take me for walks, because I had to re-learn how to walk. People signed up and would come take me for a walk.”
She then went on to describe all the people who helped her and the various ways they supported her during her recovery. There was Celine who made her a French meal and took her on a walk, Deborah gave her a courage necklace, Dennis, Lee, and Raina visited her before the ECM holiday party to bring a little holiday joy to her. There was also Marilyn and Jennie Proby who gave her fuzzy socks, a mug with the word “fierce” on it, and they provided delicious fudge. Jocelyn gave a coloring book and doughnuts, Lana provided dinners and a handicap parking pass, Mari was there to provide treats, dinners, and walks, and Sarah came by to visit and brought some meals as well. Yvonne, Niels, Chong, and Bronyn provided even more walks and meals. Finally, Debbie had someone pressure wash Susan’s driveway and also created the acronym FAN that stood for “F*#! Acoustic Neuroma”, a phrase that their boat rallied around. Cameron was amazed by the support she received from friends and the SRA community.
“My balance isn’t 100%, and the right side of my face is still numb. There are things I continue to feel and I do have a residual tumor, and I am going back to have an MRI and have it checked on November 26th. It will have either died, stopped growing, or continued to grow,” Cameron said when asked about how she is currently doing. “I think back to what we can control and what we can’t. There are so many things in life we can’t control, but what we can control is how we deal with it.”
“Pay attention to yourself. In retrospect there were things six months ago that I should have paid more attention to.” Cameron felt it was very important to add that we should take time to listen to our bodies and seek proper attention when things seem “off”. Some other advice she provided was to be open to receiving help. “For me it didn’t come naturally, but people want to help.” We circled back around to Sammamish right before Susan left for an ECM meeting. “The community is so incredible. I was just overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support. People were there. People were on it. I am incredibly grateful for this amazing community. We’re people first, rowers second – and I love how we honor each other as individuals.”
That is what it comes down to at SRA. People first, rowing second. Our community is made up of incredibly strong people like Susan, and incredibly devoted friends like some of the people mentioned in this story. We are a community, a family, a team. We are Sammamish.
Written By: Elizabeth W. Wilson
Meet Some of Your Coaches
Dickson holds a level 3 coaching certification from USRowing. Dickson has developed junior scullers at the Vesper Boat Club in Philadelphia as well as coached at the Craftsbury Sculling Center in Vermont.
Also in Florida, Dickson has been Director of Rowing at Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale and Manager and Head Coach of Miami Beach Rowing Club.
Dickson entered coaching following her college rowing career, becoming the first head coach for the Annapolis Junior Rowing Program. She also served as assistant women’s coach at Colgate University.
Liza spent 4 years in Oklahoma City. In 13-14 and 14-15, Dickson primarily served as the Women’s Rowing Coach for Oklahoma City University. During that time Liz Mathews medaled at the Head of the Charles and won the National Championship in the 1x at the Dad Vail Regatta twice. In 2015, the Women’s team finished 5th in the Women’s Varsity 8+ at the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Regatta (SIRA) – a highest ever finish for the women. Also in 2015, Dickson coached a Lightweight 2x in its inaugural year at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) to a fifth place finish.
In the spring of 2016, Dickson coached both the Men’s and Women’s squads. At the SIRA Regatta the Women won the Petite Final of the Women’s Varsity 8+. Every Men’s entry collected a medal: the Men’s 2- notched OCU’s first SIRA gold ever, the Men’s 4+ finished 2nd and the Men’s Varsity 8+ finished 3rd. The Stars qualified for the IRA Regatta for the 2nd time. The Lightweight 2x finished 6th, the Men’s Varsity 4+ finished 26th and the Men’s Varsity 8+ finished 23rd.
Also, while in Oklahoma City, Dickson coached High Performance and Development Athletes at the Oklahoma City National High Performance Center. In 2015, she was named the Women’s Coach for the US Team at the World University Games in South Korea. In 2016 she coached athletes competing both at Olympic and world Championship Trials.
Collegiately, Dickson competed for Washington College (Chestertown, Md.) under Coach Mike Davenport. Dickson earned her degree in political science from Washington. Dickson is originally from St. Michaels, Md.
Steven’s rowing career began in 2001 at Winter Park High School in Winter Park, FL, where he won two state championships and a national championship in the Varsity 8+. After his freshmen year of rowing at the University of Washington, Steven hung up the oar and began coaching for Sammamish as the novice boys' coach during the 2006/07 season. In 2008, Steven returned to his alma mater Winter Park High School where he worked as a teacher and coach for five years, including two years as head coach. During his tenure at Winter Park, the program won three state championships and two national championships in 2009 and 2012. Steven returned to Sammamish in 2013 to lead the junior boys’ team and has since coached every program at SRA. In June of 2016 Steven was promoted to his current role as the Executive Director. Steven has a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Central Florida and a master’s degree in athletic administration from the University of Washington.
David's many years of hard work, smart training, and willingness to learn new things resulted in multiple medal-winning performances at some of the world's most prestigious regattas for masters, including the Head of the Charles, Masters' Nationals, and Masters' Worlds. Afterward, David shifted his focus to passing on his passion for rowing in the same way his coaches had done for him. He now coaches the Masters Sculling and Experienced Girls teams as part of his never-ending drive to help every rower reach their potential.
When not coaching, David uses his background in technology to create a better world for coaches and rowers through his work at RowHero.
On Wednesday, December 5, 2018 we will be hosting an Athlete Info Night for prospective rowers of all ages to tour the boathouse, meet the coaches, and learn more about the sport of rowing. Sammamish offers programs for all ages starting with our 6th & 7th grade team to our various adult teams. As you are aware, one of the benefits of rowing is that you can start at any age with no experience. Thousands of youth and adults have changed their lives by rowing for SRA.
SRA invites all to learn about our passion for rowing and commitment to serving our community and we hope to recruit the next generation of Sammamish rowers. Please share the Info Night invitation with your friends, family, and co-workers. Current members and rowers are welcome to bring a guest and show them around the boathouse.
Click on our social media icons above to learn a bit more about our teams and to see us in action. If you have questions you can contact our Director of Membership and Community by clicking the email icon above.
This weekend is going to be exciting and busy for most of the Sammamish Rowing community. On Saturday we have a regatta for our Novice Masters at Green Lake and Sunday will be the highly anticipated 39th annual Head of the Lake Regatta hosted by the Lake Washington Rowing Club and the University of Washington. We wish all of our rowers the best of luck in their races this weekend as well as some of our alumni who are partaking in an exciting endeavor of their own.
SRA and University of Washington alumni Sam Goertz and Madison Mariani are having the grand opening of their new business - Crew Cup Coffee Rowsters. Goertz and Mariani will be serving their delicious brew at the Conibear Shellhouse from 4:45 am - 3:00 pm. If their coffee is as anything like their rowing then it is definitely a beverage you’ll want to try out.
Mariani told us a bit about her and Goertz’s new business. Mariani said, “Crew Cup Coffee Rowster’s is two ambitious rowers providing what everyone needs at 5:30 AM, a delicious cup of coffee at a price that doesn’t break the bank. We created this company because we love making, roasting, and sharing our coffee. We have always known we wanted to get into the coffee industry, and we felt that starting in a community we already know would be perfect.”
They have big goals for the future and hope to be a regular presence at all regattas in the Pacific Northwest and possibly expand further to national regattas down the road. Goertz is confident that coffee lovers will fall for Crew Cup Coffee Rowsters at first taste. He said, “Coffee lovers will love our coffee because we take great pride in the espresso we pull every day. We achieve the best flavors by sourcing raw coffee beans from around the world by targeting the local growth from around the coffee plantations. This delivers the most precise flavor to the coffee that we are looking for. The forefront taste of chocolate, notes of hazel nut, and a bright finish of caramel. We roast our beans strategically to bring these flavors to life, and tailor the grind of the bean to pull exquisite creamy espresso.”
Their catchy name directly ties to the sport that inspired them to become entrepreneurs in the first place. Mariani and Goertz credit their time at Sammamish Rowing Association for teaching them entrepreneurial lessons of teamwork, communication, and stubbornness. They also admitted that rowing gave them an incredible network of individuals who mentored them throughout their entrepreneurial career. Above all, Mariani added, “rowing and SRA taught us to push the limit on everything we do and to dream big. Because when you believe in something so much, anything can happen.”
Sammamish Rowing is incredibly proud of Madison and Sam and wishes them the best as they start their new endeavor. We encourage our community to seek out their coffee at the Head of the Lake, and hope to see them serving coffee at the SRA boathouse in the near future. When closing out our interview, Mariani finished by answering our question about what her favorite memory at SRA was. She replied, “There are so many! An easy one is all the life-long friendships and relationships we have built at SRA.”
The lessons, skills, and values of rowing extend far beyond the surface of a body of water. For Mariani and Goertz- rowing has given them the confidence to launch their own business. Whether it’s teaching rowing technique or business acumen, Sammamish Rowing has a little something for everyone to learn.
What an incredibly exciting weekend for SRA. Our rowing community sent a small army of athletes to the Head of the Charles Regatta this past weekend and it was one to remember. With challenging competitors, penalty overturns, and tough racing conditions- our rowers battled through it all to earn top spots among some of the best athletes in the world.
As Tom Woodman said in an email this past week, "it is the depth of rowers and how they all support the team that makes our group so successful at all levels, especially at big regattas like HOCR." Woodman went on to say that the head of the Charles is the most competitive regatta in the world for masters rowers. He had a special shoutout for the coxswains as he believed SRA sent the best group it ever has.
Our rowers overcame struggles both on and off the water. The Men's 4+ 40+ boat handled a boat collision mid course that was not their fault. They were given a minute penalty, but showed great determination and teamwork with Scott leading an appeal. Using Lia's GPS information, they achieved what Woodman thought was the first successful overturning of a penalty that he has ever heard of.
The Women's 8+ came together for this event and really showed us all that SRA is one big team. Women from different masters programs throughout the club did an incredible job of working out when to do extra practices and how to make the two team cultures mesh nicely together. Their hard work paid off in the end after placing top fourth of the boats in event 7.
Our Women’s 8+ 50+ placed 11th, our Men’s 4+ 50+ made the top ten with a 9th place finish, our Men’s 4+ 40+ also wedged into a top ten finished by placing 7th, our Men’s 8+ 50+ finished top five with a solid 5th place, and our incredible Women’s 4+ 50+ took home 2nd Place! Just incredible... our Men’s 8+ 50+ is believed to have been the first ever medal that an SRA 8+ has ever gotten in a Masters Event and the Women’s 4+ 50+ tied for the highest placing by a masters women’s SRA boat. Next year maybe they’ll even break that record...
What makes Sammamish such a strong and competitive team is our ability to come together with positive attitude, hard work ethic, no drama, and strong friendships among teammates. The fact that we practice at different times and days throughout the week is the only thing that actually separates us as rowers of the Sammamish Rowing Association.
A huge congratulations is in order for our athletes. It’s incredible what you can accomplish when you discover your unbounded potential. Now it's time to get back to the boathouse and practice to make next year's Head of the Charles Regatta even better!
On a cloudy day early in October, four eights swept across Lake Sammamish for a total distance of over 24,000 meters during a Saturday morning practice. This row was less of a practice and more of a dedicated amount of time to honor SRA member Trista Becker who had recently completed her final round of chemotherapy treatment during her battle against breast cancer.
I heard about Trista through Coach Lee Henderson and Coach Dennis Ferrer. They sent me photos from the Length of the Lake Row, the name of the honorary practice, and told me a bit about Trista's story. Amazed- I had to know more. I reached out to Trista to see if she would be comfortable sharing her story with me and she graciously made time to share while still recovering from her last round of chemotherapy.
The story begins just this past May when Becker was diagnosed with breast cancer. Not even yet 40 years old, Becker admits she was surprised to find out from her doctor about how common breast cancer is in the Seattle area. Becker hopes to encourage women (and men) of all ages to get checked for breast cancer by their doctors. She remembers being told by physicians that she was too young to need a mammogram.
Her treatment started just a week after masters regionals. Although her chemotherapy is over, Becker will still undergo surgery and radiation, but she says "stay tuned because I'll be back!". When asked about how she has been handling her diagnosis and treatment, she admits it has completely changed her life, but she sees it as only a temporary setback.
Upon further reflection, Becker is extremely grateful for the role that Sammamish Rowing Association has played in her life just these past months. She said that talking with other rowers who went through breast cancer or who had family members with breast cancer was helpful, but the most profound impact was the meal train set up by her fellow teammates. Her teammates kept her company, cooked her meals, and created thoughtful care packages for her all throughout her treatments. She has plenty of fuzzy socks, chocolate bars, and coloring books.
Becker also acknowledged her friend and fellow SRA member, Celine Suzzarini, who Becker says, "has been the best friend a girl could ask for in supporting me emotionally through this time." Suzzarini helped organize the meal train, came to every chemotherapy treatment with Becker, and also came to other appointments and surgeries. When talking about Suzzarini, Becker said, "if I had not met her and the other rowers at Sammamish, my husband and I would be going through this process mostly alone."
When talking more about Sammamish, Becker stated, "I am relatively new to where I live and made instant friends and a huge support group through the Sammamish community. My family lives far away so Sammamish has been like a family helping me battle cancer locally." Her teammates helped her know about hospitals and where to go as well as provided places to stay when she needed to travel longer distances to receive treatment.
Despite the whirlwind that has been her life the past few months, Becker still rows when she feels up to it. "I have been coming to practice during times in the cycle when I am feeling up for it. The stress relief of crew as an outlet and keeping my activity level up through rowing has helped me with the side effects of rowing." Becker has taken a break from races, but she did row in the Row for the Cure regatta with Celine Suzzarini. They won first place in the costume contest and their pink flamingo decorated double will be used on the website for next year's event!
Sammamish is more than just a rowing association. Our boathouse caries more than just boats and ergs. Our boathouse serves you- individuals with your own stories to tell. Trista Becker's story is just one of hundreds that perfectly illustrates what our organization is about. Thoughtful stewardship, team success, safety, and personal discovery are our values, but our members blend their own values in every day through their actions. Sammamish Rowing Association sends its full support out to Trista Becker and her family, and hopes to see her out on the water more often.
Please follow Trista's advice and get checked for breast cancer regularly. For more information about the Row for the Cure regatta you can visit their website at https://seattlerowforthecure.org.
The purpose of the Junior Rower Committee (JRC) is threefold: to act on behalf of and to represent the rower body, to serve as a formal advisory committee to the executive director, and to foster leadership development throughout the team. In this first year the committee will be focused on building processes, procedures, and systems that will lay the foundation for the future. The average monthly time commitment is anticipated to be 10 hours.
The minimum eligibility requirements and application process is outlined below:
Eligibility Requirements & Desired Attributes
All rowers who meet the minim experience requirement and possess the desired attributes are encouraged to apply.
Sammamish Rowing Association has established a three-year partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), a national non-profit developing "Better Athletes, Better People" by working to provide all youth and high school athletes a positive, character-building sports experience.
The partnership provides SRA access to PCA’s training for coaches, sports parents, student-athletes and administrators, comprising live group workshops, online courses, books by PCA Founder Jim Thompson and additional online resources, such as e-mailed follow-up tips and reminders.
PCA has partnered with roughly 3,500 youth sports organizations, schools, districts, conferences, and park-and-rec departments to create a Development ZoneTM culture, where the goal is using youth and high school sports to develop Better Athletes, Better People, Thompson said. “We look forward to working with SRA to create the best possible experience for the youth athletes. Our research-based materials combine the latest in sports psychology, education and practical advice from top pro and college coaches and athletes that help improve athletic performance while also ensuring kids take life lessons from sports that will help them throughout the rest of their lives.”
“Our coaches and staff are driven by the opportunity to positively impact the lives of our rowers,” SRA Executive Director Steven Freygang said. “The PCA partnership will help us expand on that opportunity and strengthen the connection between coaches, parents, and rowers.”
The workshops are scheduled to begin on September 8. For information about the dates and locations, please contact Steven Freygang and click here to learn more about the partnership.
About Positive Coaching Alliance
Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) develops BETTER ATHLETES, BETTER PEOPLE through resources for youth and high school sports coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes. In addition to more than 1,800 free multimedia tips and tools at www.PCADevZone.org, PCA has partnered with roughly 3,500 schools and youth sports organizations nationwide to deliver more than 20,000 live group workshops, along with online courses and books by PCA Founder Jim Thompson that help those involved in youth and high school sports create a positive, character-building youth sports culture.
PCA resources, which have reached more than 8.6 million youth, strive to transform high school and youth sports into a Development Zone® culture, where the goal is to develop Better Athletes, Better People and the following become the prevailing models in youth and high school sports:
PCA gains support from a National Advisory Board, including National Spokesperson and 11-time NBA Champion Coach Phil Jackson, and many other top coaches, athletes, organization leaders and academics who share PCA’s mission.
Sammamish Rowing Association is excited to announce the hiring of Ethan Currie and Elizabeth Wilson. Ethan and Elizabeth will be filling positions with the junior men's team and the 5am master's team starting this fall.
Ethan comes to SRA from Vesper Boat Club in Philadelphia and the Forman School in Litchfield, CT. He is currently the head coach of the junior summer program at Vesper Boat Club and worked as an assistant coach and history teacher at Forman, a private boarding school that specializes in students with learning differences. Ethan also worked for Mendota Rowing Club in Madison, WI for three years coaching their masters programs. Ethan will be coaching the junior experienced boys with Head Coach Eliza Dickson, and also the 5am masters with Head Coach Tom Woodman.
Elizabeth joins SRA having recently graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in sports management. While at Florida Elizabeth served in student government for four years and was also a program assistant and lead fitness instructor for University of Florida Department of Recreational Sports. Elizabeth is currently working for the PGA Tour in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL in human resources. Prior to college, Elizabeth rowed for Winter Park High School in Winter Park, FL.
"I am so excited to be joining Sammamish Rowing Association and I am ready to get back into the rowing community," Wilson said. "This sport has given me countless friendships and memories that I will cherish forever and I am so excited to create more. Rowing, in my opinion, is the most physically demanding sport there is, but it teaches you so much about grit, leadership, teamwork, and humility. I am thrilled to be given to opportunity to pass on the lessons I've learned from the sport to others." Elizabeth will be coaching the junior novice boys with Novice Coach Simon Williams, and also the 5am masters novice rowers with Head Coach Tom Woodman.