By Samuel Knight, Reporter
Four island rowers have been invited to a camp this summer to determine whether or not they will represent the United States in the Junior World Championships this summer in the Czech Republic: junior Connor van Egmond, sophomore Katherine Kelly, and freshmen Roslyn Bellscheidt and Gabrielle Graves.
The rowers previously attended Identification (ID) camps from which they were selected to travel to Connecticut and California. From these camps, they may be selected to be a part of the national team.
The camps have three tiers, the highest of which is the Selection camp, followed by the High Performance camp, which focuses on rowers on the verge of the Selection camp, and then the Development camp, which works to improve the abilities of rowers in order to prepare them for Selection camp.
Van Egmond, who rows for Seattle Rowing Center (SRC) and Graves, who rows for Burton Beach Rowing Club (BBRC), are headed to separate selection camps on June 12th in Chula Vista, California, and June 15th at Connecticut College, respectively.
Kelly and Bellscheidt, both of whom row for BBRC, will be attending the developmental level of the camp at Connecticut College on June 18th.
All four will be missing the last few weeks of the school year.
At the ID camps, the rowers did a two-kilometer ergometer test then rowed out on the water for three hours while the camp representatives observed their skills.
Their successful performance at these camps reflects the hours that they have put into their sport on a daily basis with their teams, as well as in additional workouts.
“The girls have taken it upon themselves to do extra work outside of practice, whether that’s erging, running or working on the rowing machines,” said BBRC coach Richard Parr. “One of the things that really impresses me is that on the windy days they are still out there working hard. I’m actually quite amazed how hard — whether it’s an [ergometer] or a body circuit or something else.”
Kelly and Bellscheidt will be attending the development camp, which works to teach the girls what they need to know in order to strengthen their chances of reaching Selection camp. However, once the girls reach the camp, they are not restricted to remaining at one level of the camp.
If they were to achieve the level necessary to attend High Performance camp while at Development, they can move up.
Kelly, now a sophomore, placed 9th at USRowing Youth Nationals last year with her pair partner Selena Mildon, who now attends and rows for Marist College in New York.
As a freshman, Bellscheidt is looking to prove herself this year.
“My goals this summer are to improve my rowing, learn what it is like to compete in a high-stress environment, and come back to my team a stronger and better rower,” Bellsheidt said. “As for my rowing career, I want to become a strong competitor, have fun and race well.”
“Roslyn is only a freshman, but is already putting down impressive erg times,” Parr said. “She has lots of dance training; she’s very coordinated; she’s six feet tall; and she’s a very hard worker.”
Graves is a freshman who has already established herself as one of the top rowers around the country in her age group. She will be attending the Selection camp, which means she will be one part of a group of roughly 40 girls, which will be cut down by to between 20 and 30 girls. Those chosen will represent the United States at the Junior Rowing Championships, held 30 minutes outside of Prague in the Czech Republic later this summer.
Riley Lynch, who rows for Vashon Island Rowing Club (VIRC), attended the Selection camp last year, and was placed on the national team. The team ended up taking third place at the Junior Rowing Championships last summer in Lithuania.
Since all of the girls have birthdays in 2002, they will have the opportunity to go back to Selection camp for several years to come. If they do not make it this year, their shot at Worlds won’t be gone.
“Gabrielle has the luxury of being able to do this [Selection camp] for three years,” Parr said. “So if she doesn’t make it this year, she will hopefully learn what she needs to in order to make it in the coming years.”
Van Egmond is the only boy from Vashon Island to qualify. He will be attending Selection camp in Chula Vista, California, where he and roughly 40 other boys will be training at the Olympic training center. Van Egmond made the switch to SRC in September of 2017.
“Rowing at SRC is what pushed me and that’s what I feel like got me to where I am now,” van Egmond said.
Van Egmond, a junior, is the only boy from SRC to qualify for Selection camp this year.
“It’ll be tough, but I’d like to think that I thrive in a highly competitive environment,” van Egmond said. “I’m excited about meeting some of the top rowers around the United States and rowing alongside them.”
The four rowers will attend the camps in June, but they still have plenty of work to do before then. Regionals are scheduled for the May 17th, and if their boats qualify they will attend nationals on June 8th — just days before they are scheduled to leave for their camps.