Wait for it, and the time will come.
It took awhile for their boat to hit its stride, but a group of Sammamish Rowing Association athletes firmly locked themselves into place at the biggest event of the season.
At the US Rowing Youth Nationals on June 8 at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida, the Redmond-based men’s youth 8+ boat won the C final with a season-best time of 5:56.009 and wedged its way into 13th place in the nation.
Adam Schadt, a recent Redmond High graduate, noted that the crew — consisting of half seniors and the rest underclassmen — wasn’t displaying cohesion at the start of the season and the rowers had to keep plugging away to make their mark.
They turned a corner at the San Diego Crew Classic in early spring.
“We definitely felt something click together,” said Schadt, adding that they strengthened their performance and confidence at the Windermere Cup at Montlake Cut.
Recent Bellevue Christian High graduate Landon Fick concurred with Schadt’s assessment of the squad.
“I think it just took a lot of mistakes,” said Fick, adding that while training for regionals and nationals, they had to harness all of the rowers’ talent, energy and knowledge into a solid boat.
At nationals, “each race, we kicked it up another notch,” Fick noted.
Head coach Eliza Dickson feels the team displayed growth during training, and their maturity, patience and tenacity all figured prominently at nationals. She said it was challenging for the rowers to string together three consecutive stellar races at nationals — and nail faster marks each time.
“They really stood by each other, they trusted each other, they believed in the process from the coaches and it really came together in a really special way,” Dickson said.
Along with Schadt and Fick, the squad consisted of Max Mason (Redmond High), Carson Wright (Issaquah High), Adam Hamshou (Bellevue High), Peter Tsirushkin (Newport High), Sam Lalor (coxswain, Eastlake High), Quinn Cooney (Tesla STEM High, Kirkland resident) and Parker Raines (Skyline High).
Mason, another recent graduate, credits his mom for signing him up for rowing three years ago after she read “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.” The former football player had sustained injuries on the gridiron and went full bore into rowing.
“Rowing was a different kind of animal, it was a lot more intense, a lot more volume and hard work constantly,” said Mason, who will next compete for the University of Washington.
Mason welcomes the hard work that comes with rowing and unleashing maximum effort for his teammates.
“I look forward to coming here and being with everyone,” Mason said of the rowing community that revolves around the SRA Hod Fowler Boathouse near the Sammamish River in Redmond. The 12,000-square-foot facility features a weight room, 35 ergs, four Row Perfects, an extensive fleet of rowing shells and more.
Fick, who will next row at Oregon State University, entered the SRA program six years ago after playing football and other sports.
SRA is an ideal place to train and bond with friends after a full day of myriad activities, he said.
“Just the community it’s given me outside of everything else, outside of my school, outside of work and other stressful things,” Fick added of SRA.
Schadt will be attending Boston College in the fall and isn’t sure if rowing will be a part of his future there.
The former swimmer and track runner has been rowing for four years. It’s been a fun and grueling experience, especially the training leading up to regattas.
“These last couple years, it’s very satisfying to work hard for something and see it come through,” he said.
For information on SRA, visit www.sammamishrowing.org.