Vashon crew teams row into winter
By Hank McSheehy, Reporter
Rowing is a popular sport that dates back to the early 17th and 18th centuries in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. After all those years, this sport is still heavily practiced today. The Vashon Island Rowing Club (VIRC) was formed in 1990 and the Burton Beach Rowing Club (BBRC) was formed in January 2018 to carry out a junior rowing program. VIRC was first known as the Vashon Island Women’s Rowing Club that consisted of fourteen women; when men started joining, it evolved to the club we know today. With winter coming up, both Vashon crew teams have tried to get the most out of the fall season.
Kaylee Radford, who rows with the Burton Beach Rowing Club (BBRC), has rowed for nearly a year, starting in lockdown.
“It was the middle of quarantine and I didn’t have a lot going on, and so one of my friends … [asked] ‘Why don’t you come try crew?’,” Radford said. Since then, she’s kept up with it and made a lot of friends.
BBRC had their last regatta of the fall season on Sunday the Nov. 7 and will soon be transitioning to winter training.
“We try to get on the water as much as possible, but when it’s too windy, we don’t go out for safety reasons and we stay inside. We erg [a machine that simulates the action of rowing] and do weights, or we run,” Radford said.
The team dynamic is very motivating and friendly, which can be helpful during stressful and difficult races.
“It’s very supportive, and we’re all … there for one another and encourage each other to finish strong and put in their best effort,” Radford said.
Baker Van Buren, the boys co-captain for the Vashon Island Rowing Club (VIRC), has rowed for four and a half years.
“I did a summer camp back in seventh grade … and I [had been] competitively swimming for a while. I then did crew and it was really fun and a good workout,” Van Buren said. “[It’s a] great community to be a part of, and it’s a great support group.”
Eva Cain, the girls captain for VIRC, has been rowing for three years and also started after joining a summer camp.
“My brother was friends with a lot of people on the team, and I just went to a summer camp with him,” Cain said. “I… [like] the community and the friendships that I have built.”
VIRC wants to end the fall season with a satisfactory finish. Recently, they participated in the Head of the Charles, a regatta in Boston that teams all over the world compete in. They also raced in their last regatta, Head of the Lake, during the first weekend of November. To keep up their strength, they as well do winter conditioning.
“Because the water and weather is really bad most of the time, we don’t row on the water too much, but we use this indoor facility where we have weights and rowing machines set up. It’s basically… a lot of weight lifting to become stronger for spring season,” Cain said.
VIRC has great sportsmanship, and everyone feels like a team and supports one another.
“Everyone on our team is super nice [and] super helpful,” Van Buren said. “Our coaching staff is great and it’s a great environment. [It’s an] incredibly supportive … close-knit team [and] we work really well together.”