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!