Crew wins bronze in New Zealand
By Katherine Poston, Reporter & Designer
The Burton Beach Rowing Club returned home from New Zealand on Monday, Feb. 25 after winning bronze in the New Zealand Rowing Nationals. Six members of the team volunteered to travel and compete in this international competition: sophomore Roslyn Bellscheidt, juniors Kate Kelly and Olivia White, and seniors Mabel Moses and Ruta Milewski. They were joined by Annie Wright sophomore Ava Lorentzen, who both lives and rows on Vashon.
The team flew into Auckland, New Zealand, accompanied by coach Richard Parr, who previously coached two New Zealand crew clubs: Canterbury and Otago Regional Rowing.
“I think it definitely was a bonding experience, because [we spent] two weeks with the same girls sharing the same experience[s] — climbing up a mountain, doing one of the most difficult hikes of our life, and then going and competing and doing really well. I think it strengthened us as a team,” Bellscheidt said. “It made us learn more about each other. It made us understand each other a lot more.”
Two teams were awarded the bronze medal this year, Burton Beach Rowing Club, as well as the New Zealand team Invercargill.
“I think [winning the bronze] really helped us prove to ourselves that we cannot only compete within America and within our small region, but we can also compete internationally and do fairly well,” Moses said.
The team wasn’t sure what to expect in the new country. Competing in a foreign country presented unexpected challenges, including the environment. The air was exceedingly dry, and many of the rowers found it painful to breathe. It was also intimidating to row against unknown competitors.
“We did not know how to feel, because when you compete in the Pacific Northwest and almost all over the United States, you sort of know what your competition is because you have competed against them before,” Bellscheidt said. “When you [compete] internationally and you do not know who your competition is, … it leaves you with a lot of uncertainty.”
Despite this, the rowers remained positive.
“I think our strengths are the fact that we know each other so well and we know how [we] row and fit together,” Bellscheidt said. “It just makes the flow of the boat go well.”
The team competed in three doubles races and a coxed four, the latter of which won the bronze medal. Kelly stroked the boat, followed by Moses and Bellscheidt, with White in bow. Milewski served as coxswain.
As a double, Moses and Kelly also won the B final and missed the A final by one place, proving they were competitive at an international level.
Looking back, the team values their shared experiences.
“I think we were all pretty close before, but I noticed that halfway through the trip, it almost felt like we were family,” White said.