On this post we hear from Denise Rockett, mid-morning rower and mother to two junior rowers. Denise Rockett and her family have been incredible members of the Sammamish Rowing community, and have truly given back to the organization in so many ways. We are so fortunate to have many amazing members like the Rockett's, but we want to share their experience today. Read her story below!
When we first moved to Seattle, it was very difficult for our children to make friends at school as we moved in the middle of the school year. That first summer, Adam did the Learn to Row Camp and loved it! It was the first time we saw him truly smile since we moved to the area. The following fall, he became a Novice rower, where he trained with Coach Simon and made some like-minded friends who were good students, passionate rowers, and knew how to have a good time. After that, he became an experienced rower with Coach Steven Freygang and then in his senior year, with Coach Dennis Ferrer where he took the LtWt 8+ all the way from Regionals to Nationals, which I believe was the first time the boys sent a LtWt8+ to nationals! The friends Adam made through rowing are still his best friends today. The integrity, teamwork, grit, competition and mentoring he received from the SRA rowing program has shaped the man Adam has become today as he starts his career right here in Seattle.
Renee watched her brother work hard, be part of a team, and bring home medals. Being a swimmer, she was accustomed to competition but felt like rowing at SRA offered more of a team atmosphere and decided to follow in her brother’s footsteps making the leap to switch sports. Renee caught the competitive rowing spirit and pushed herself during her novice year and earned a place in the Varsity boat her sophomore year. She represented SRA and Washington by competing on the US Rowing team competing in the U17 8+ earning a gold and U17 4+ earning a bronze in Camden, NJ. She has been coached by the best- Molly Lawrence, Marilyn Proby, Kelley Pope, David DeWinter, Nicki Hughes and Dennis Ferrer and so many more leaders at SRA. Their leadership and coaching styles have definitely prepared Renee to be a great student athlete for next fall as a recruited part of the UW rowing team.
Not long after Renee started excelling at rowing and became more independent, I found my home to be far too quiet and decided to join the Master’s rowing team as a way to connect with my children, make some new friends, and work on my own fitness level. It was much harder than I thought it would be and I had a new respect for my family and teammates. Being on the novice team and competing at races like Tail of the Lake, Row for the Cure, and Regionals were some of the best memories I will ever have. I think being on the Row for the Cure committee for SRA was one of my proudest moments. Helping to plan a successful event, raise money in honor of my mom who is a survivor, and bring the Pink Erg back to the SRA boathouse were all personal highlights.
Our family certainly appreciates all of the influence and hard work the coaches and staff give to our kids. Volunteering was something I always wanted to do. Whether selling flower baskets back in the day, flipping pancakes in the food tent, or raising money for Coach Appreciation Week four years running, the Rockett family shows up. I quickly realized that by giving I received so much more through the life long friendships I have gained. SRA is truly an extended family for us and we are ever so grateful for all the years we have had at SRA and look forward to an amazing evening at the gala to celebrate the club!
Sally Solaro, Barb Calvert, Trisha Miller, Jennifer Teschke, and Genevieve Carrillo have rowed together as a boat for the past two Head of the Charles races in the Women’s 50+ category. These five women have been with SRA as long as eight years to at least four. All of them said that the reason they came together as a boat was because of their rowing coach- Tom Woodman.
What was also new was their coxswain, Genevieve Carrillo. Calvert met Carrillo on a plane. Calvert said, “We were coming back from the HOCR the year before. She (Carrillo) was sitting next to me on the plane so we had a few conversations. She had just coxed for the Cambridge Boat Club men. They had flown her out there and she spent the week going up and down the course with them. The men taught her how to cut every single curve and corner possible and what her sightlines should be. I asked ‘well would you ever be interested in coxing for us?’ We ended up exchanging phone numbers.”
They got an extra boost of motivation when they passed other boats. Solaro said, “We were bow 7 in that race and passed about 3 boats.”
Eventually the women finished and were told by Scott Winter that they placed second. Later on they verified it. They had won a silver medal at the HOCR. Calvert said, “We were very confident that we would make the top ten, but we wanted top five.” It turns out they certainly did make the top five with a boat from Cambridge being the only one to beat them. It’s important to point out that this Cambridge boat was comprised of Olympians and National Champions whereas the Sammamish boat had only one rower with collegiate rowing experience. Everyone else had learned as adults, two at SRA.
Fast forward to this year and the women again made top five, earning a bronze medal in the same race. While they still felt confident in each other, each woman experienced some setbacks. Miller said, “Going into 2019 I wasn’t less confident with the boat, I was less confident with myself.” Miller had been experiencing shoulder problems, and Calvert had broken her toe and hand earlier in the year so they had to work hard to keep up with training.
For all of these women, training was brutal. Not only did they practice as a team on the water and on the ergs putting in several hours of hard work a week, but on top of that they trained individually. To achieve the success they had each woman had to put in numerous hours on their own spending extra time in the gym. Sacrifices were made to go the extra mile, and training without a teammate constantly by your side can be hard. Calvert said, “Training by yourself can be boring but I find the focus and dedication in this process is important. It carries into the boat. When I get into the boat I think about all the hours, the focus, dedication I've put in. Now it's all about just getting the job done.”
Armed with the superior Sammamish Rowing coaching, and hours upon hours of training on their own, these five women were able to succeed year after year at the HOCR. Each of them had their own piece of advice towards creating a successful boat. Most of the successful characteristics of their boat included trust, chemistry, laughter, hard work, and practice.
Miller said, “I’m always talking to the juniors about this, but we always assume the best intent. The trust is there because I know they all trust me too. They know I’m working as hard as I can and they are too. There’s a seed of doubt in some boats whether everyone is trying hard enough and training on their off days, and with this boat there isn’t that doubt.”
This boat from SRA’s 5am team has enjoyed incredible success and they credit not only themselves, but a talented coxswain, loyal coach, and supportive team. These women who wear matching loud leggings on the Friday before their HOCR race, are both relaxed and intensely focused. Their training was an intense mix of personal dedication and trust in their coach, Tom Woodman. Their practically daily dedication to hours of difficult, and sometimes very painful, workouts yielded results to be very proud of.
They look forward to a growing masters team as Sammamish welcomes in new rowers every year. While they would love to row in more HOCR events together, they leave their future in the trusted hands of Tom Woodman. They trust his process without question.
Congratulations Sally, Trisha, Barb, Genevieve, and Jennifer! Sammamish Rowing looks forward to more success from you all and great memories!