The San Diego Crew Classic (SDCC) has been around since 1973 and was created by individuals who sought to bring the nation’s top collegiate crews together for an incredible racing experience. One of the first attendees included the University of Washington. The university harbors an impressive and renowned collegiate team that Sammamish Rowing Association (SRA) has sent many of its high school alumni to.
Today, the San Diego Crew Classic has grown considerably since 1973. Over 4,000 athletes in over 100 races compete in this two day, nationally acclaimed regatta. Thousands of spectators flock to Mission Bay Park to enjoy watching races in person, but even more watch via live stream footage on the regatta website.
Early this April, SRA sent four masters boats and six junior boats to the SDCC ensuring that our presence was noticed in the west. Every single SRA rower gave everything they had and enjoyed impressive race results. One of the well earned finishes belonged to the Junior Girls JV 8+ that captured a second place finish in their grand final on Sunday, April 5th.
Coached by Kelley Pope and Dennis Ferrer- the entire girls team has been working hard during their practices to see results like this. Pope and Ferrer discussed how ever since this past fall they knew they had the potential for speed. The girls JV 8+ has had an impressive season and their hard work combined with unwavering teamwork and determination gave their coaches confidence as the girls headed down to California.
Pope said, “We knew that boat was going to do well. They’ve been working hard so to see them actually perform under pressure to their capabilities was awesome. That was the biggest success- they were able to execute their race against fast teams they’ve never beaten before.” The SDCC brings together top crews from around the nation. It can be quite intimidating facing crews you’ve never raced against. The junior girls were able to manage that pressure and come out on top of a difficult group of competitors.
In a pre-race meeting, Pope said the team’s focus was on having a good race and performing as well as they possibly could. She told the girls to be proud of how they finish regardless of what other crews might do. The girls were positive and excited to race, and ended up coming together as a boat to hold each other accountable. Ferrer said, “I knew they were going to do well, so it wasn’t surprising to see them ahead in the race. Watching the heat was exciting, but during the finish the biggest thing I was happy with is that they rowed well down the whole course. They maintained composure and what we’ve been working on.”
Pope was with the girls in California while Ferrer was watching the livestream up in Seattle. Pope watched the race from near the finish line and said, “I was excited to see them race Saugatuck all the way down. They fought with top teams and had a successful race.”
Following their race the girls were celebrating with hugs and big smiles. They always start thinking about what they could have done just a little bit better in the race, but were overall very proud of their performance. As the crews who went to San Diego reunited with the rest of the team the following week- positivity was high. Pope and Ferrer said that the entire team has been doing extremely well and this race helped validate all the hours, weeks, and months of hard work. Pope mentioned, “The biggest thing is they came away with the lesson that they play a part in each other’s success. Their attitude and mental positivity plays into how well they are going to do.”
Looking ahead the girls and their coaches know more hard work is needed to keep their momentum going. The route to the San Diego Crew Classic was filled with intense practices and tough work. Ferrer added, “the weekend showed their efforts paid off and they will continue to the rest of the year.”
Congratulations to the Junior Women’s JV 8+, and to all of the other SRA boats who competed at the San Diego Crew Classic. SRA is immensely proud of your work and can’t wait to see what we accomplish as a team in the spring racing months ahead.
The SDCC Experienced Girls 2V Lineup was as follows:
Coxswain: Lauren Lozier
Stroke: Kennedy Harder
7: Lexa Wendl
6: Megan Culbert
5: Kathryn Clemens
4: Alex Lalor
3: Kristina Snyder
2: Olivia Feistner
Bow: Grace Epp