Long Beach Junior Crew competed at the 2019 USRowing Youth National Championships in Sarasota, FL on June 6 – 9. In order to qualify for this regatta, crews from all over the country had to place in the top three in their respective qualifying regional championships.
More than 1,500 athletes in 350 boats from 150 teams qualified from 12 different Regional Qualifier Regattas. LBJC was fortunate to qualify three boats for the National Championships: The Women’s Lightweight Double (WL2X), the Men’s Lightweight Double (ML2X), and the Men’s Quad (M4X).
The team arrived in Florida on Tuesday in preparation for Time Trials on Thursday. This is the first year that the Nationals was pushed out to a 4 day regatta as opposed to the usual 3 day format. On Thursday, there were Time Trials held for all events. Each boat was sent down the course one after the other and clocked from start to finish. This style of racing can be difficult because during the race the athletes do not know how they are doing relative to their competition. They must race all out and hope they have enough speed to make it to the next round. The race progression was the top eight or nine crews advancing directly to the Semi Finals on Saturday, while the remaining boats would go to a Repechage (second chance race) on Friday. First up for LBJC was the Men’s Lightweight 2x of Logan Chakos and Zachary Friedrichs. After having won the Southwest Regionals, our guys race a solid time trial and finishing in 8th place, snagging the last qualifying spot by 0.6 secs to advance directly to the Semis! Next up was the Women’s Lightweight 2x of Charlotte Burnham and Ella Scales. The girls finished in 11thjust 3 seconds shy of qualifying directly for the Semis.
After that, the Men’s 4x of Isaac Medina, Cooper DeRudder, Andrew Mathison, and stroke Benjamin Chait-Walter finished in 10th place just 0.9 seconds out of qualifying directly to the Semis. All in all, these were very solid performances across the board for LBJC in the time trials. On Friday, the Women’s Lightweight Double was up first racing in the 2nd of 3 repechages. The progression was pretty cutthroat, Top 1 to Advance. The girls turned in a blistering time of 7:47.7 and finished just 0.6 secs behind Seattle Preparatory School. The girls should be extremely proud of this race as they beat crosstown rivals RowLA by 40 seconds. The girls showed tremendous improvement since the Regional Championships a month earlier. Their 2nd place finish qualified them for C final (places 13-18).
Next up was the Men’s Quad. In a must win race, Ben, Andrew, Cooper, and Isaac really put the hammer down leading from start to finish. They finished in a time of 6:20.5, their fastest time of the year and qualified for the Semifinal. LBJC’s first race on Saturday was the ML2X Semifinal. This was truly a nail-biter of a race. Zach and Logan needed to place top 3 to qualify for the final on Sunday. With 500m to go, they were in 4th place and 2 seconds behind the next boat. With everything on the line, Logan and Zach sprinted like madmen and melted not one but two boats. They sprinted through Pocock and then kept going through Belen Jesuit Crew. They finished in 2ndplace and qualified for the A final on Sunday. Just amazing.
Next, the LBJC Men’s 4x raced in their semi final. The guys raced well but finished in 6th place, two lengths out of qualifying for the A final. Their final race would be the B final on Sunday (places 7-12).
The last race on Saturday for LBJC was the Women’s Lightweight 2x C final. The girls raced their hearts out and rowed very well. They finished in 3rd place after aggressively pushing into the top two boats the whole way down the course. You can watch their whole Final race (bow #3) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6945F1IBO8&feature=youtu.be&t=289m12sThe girls performed very well and finished 15th in the country. Well rowed ladies! On Sunday, we had LBJC’s final two races, the Final A for the ML2X and Final B for the M4x. First up was the lightweight 2x of Zach and Logan. This race was for all the marbles. You can watch the entire race here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvwPnAcJQw8&feature=youtu.be&t=33m23sLast year Zach and Logan finished 5th at nationals. This year, they were 8th in the time trial and had the 5thfastest time in the semifinals. The guys knew they would need a big effort if they wanted to realize their dream of medaling at Nationals. Zach and Logan delivered big time and took destiny into their own hands. They pushed incredibly hard in the 1st 1km to put themselves in 2nd place and then rowed a gutsy last 1km to chase down Seattle in 1st and push away from Belen Jesuit in 3rd. It was an amazing performance and awesome to see these young men cap off a great career at LBJC with a Silver Medal and a personal record of 6:47! Well rowed gents! The last race of Nationals for LBJC was the Men’s Quad. Their B final can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvwPnAcJQw8&feature=youtu.be&t=214m00sThis was a great last race for these guys. The guys were in 5th place at the halfway mark. Then in the last 500m they really turned on the afterburners. In the video you can see that they were the fastest boat on the course in the last quarter of the race. Their last 500m split was 1:31, that’s some juice! They finished in a time of 6:17, their fastest time of the season and 9th place in the country. What a great way to end the season. All three of our boats showed big improvement at Nationals. Each boat turned in their fastest time of the season on the biggest stage in the country by a significant margin. I know these times might not mean much to most people out there, but to a rowing coach it is really important and impressive: The WL2X went 7:47, the M4x went 6:17, and the ML2X went 6:47 and collected a silver medal. Well done to everybody: athletes, coaches, and parents alike. LBJC was represented well at the 2019 Nationals. Now time to regroup for next year! See you at summer conditioning!
The LBJC Coaching Staff