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GLRF at the 2008 USRowing Club Champs

21 July 2008 | glrfcentral
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View of the Cooper River and the regatta course from the Hyatt Hotel.


Check out all the images from the GLRF booth at the 2008 Club Champs here.


This photo courtesy of Alan Andrews and his flickr account, as well as his blog.


The five-day event had some amazing competition with a huge number of junior programs from the east and west coasts, as well as collegiate and senior races. There were a number of entries from summer rowing programs, including Thompson Boat Center, Boston Rowing Camp, Mobjack Rowing, Penn AC, Los Gatos Rowing Club, and Milwaukee Rowing Club to name just a few, and of course, some big name senior competitive programs like Potomac Boat Club, and Community Rowing.


This is the regatta to be at in terms of energy: sixteen rowing vendors and a great layout with lots of foot traffic: JL Racing , Rubini Jewelry , Wintech Racing Boats , Hudson Boat Works , Sykes Racing North America , Empacher North America , Vespoli Racing Boats , Kaschper Racing Shells , Nielsen Kellerman Electronics (the Cox Box company) , Connect-A-Dock , The Rowers Edge , Regatta Sport , USRowing , Row Balance , Sport Graphics , and Klinger Engineering Boat and Trailer Repair . The USRowing staff should be awarded the “Golden Oar” for an amazingly well organized, totally easy regatta. All vendors’ spaces were marked upon our arrival, the tables and chairs we reserved were ready, and the Camden Country Parks department was soooooooo supportive, including providing a water truck every day to help control the dust.


The weather was hot, hot, and hotter, with some humidity mixed in for extra measure. The GLRF booth had the best vendor geography, in terms of location, view, and shade. The booth was positioned under the overhang of a huge tree so the shade was wonderful. The daily wind gusts made our many paper displays and brochures into flying objects that needed continuous recovery.


We saw some familiar faces and GLRF members: Tom C. from Rhode Island swung by everyday to say hi, and gay-friendly straight guy Matt from Chicago’s Lincoln Park Boat Club swung by to say hello – he won a silver in his double competition, of course … (ahem, some of us have been personally left in the wake of ‘Mr. Filippi Flash’ at the Chicago Sprints in 2006…). We had a number of new faces stop by the booth and look around, including two guys (juniors) who held hands inside the booth (but … not outside the booth). They were doubles partners as well as supposedly bf’s. Were they gay or just yanking our chain? Who knows but they were both super nice, bought some GLRF gear, and were quite the amazing ‘super rowers,’ competing in singles, doubles, and quads, sometimes racing the 2,000-meter course three times in one day. They both went home with some clinkage around their necks. We had a lot of girls stop by the booth some of whom shyly inquired about what GLRF was all about, and perhaps, maybe, and we are so hoping, a registration will be forthcoming from Mexico.


Tom Gallagher from Sykes Racing North America was a few booths down so we chatted everyday, when it got quiet. He unloaded a Sykes quad rental for the Southwest Development Camp, and rigged it with the Sykes “quick disconnect” riggers . Wow, wow, wow. So quick: click, click, and rigged. We cannot believe every club in the country doesn’t opt for this configuration. With quick disconnect riggers, you can switch out a quad to a coxless four in a blink of an eye (Tom says it takes less than three minutes), and the same with a double/pair combination. Essentially, you get two boats for the price of one. In addition, you can stack more boats in a tight racking environment by eliminating the rigging. We helped unload the DC Strokes Rowing Club’s latest acquisition, a Sykes split eight. The boat just came off of a long-term loan but you wouldn’t know it. The reconditioned boat just gleamed and looked absolutely new. The boat was transferred to one of the two massive Klinger Engineering boat trailers that was loaded with newly repaired boats headed out for delivery.


Jeff McIntyre of Hudson Boat Works, was our leftside neighbor for the duration of the regatta. We can now recite all the advantages to a Hudson boat and hull design in our sleep. Jeff seemed super busy helping kids and their parents demo some of the Hudson singles – it seems that parents are now buying their kids brand new singles to row in high school. Geez, wouldn’t that have been nice back in the day….?!


Speaking of sculling, it was hard not to notice some of the lean junior bods parading past the booth, stripped to the waist in their uni’s due to the heat. Whoah, relax there incensed parents… we’re not turning lecherous, just observing. Most of the boys were typically built: lean, almost skinny thin, but some showed the signs of sweep rowing at an early age and a predisposition to musculoskeletal development problems. One arm was built, almost bulky, while the other was so thin that it appeared to be almost atrophied. We observed one rower with a defined, v-shaped torso, more muscular than most junior rowers for his age, walk past. His lats were so disfigured it was almost shocking: the left side was normal while the right side looked like it had implants it was so big. The Europeans seem to have it right: no sweep rowing until age 17. One father who stopped by the booth commented that his son was already enduring musculoskeletal problems after his son’s coach had switched him from port to starboard. Within two weeks, he was in to see the doctor with major body problems. A rowing rule change from sweep to scull under a certain age would have profound implications to the United States rowing communities’ under18 racing circuit, the junior club programs and their equipment investments. Still, it is something to think about. We know that Xeno Muller likes to start his kids in sculling and from the talk at this regatta, the collegiate coaches definitely favor juniors with a sculling background.


Roger, Rob, and Tyler from Klinger Engineering were our rightside neighbors for the regatta. We only saw them for the last couple of days but you couldn’t ask for a nicer group of guys. It’s always nice when the rowing community doesn’t blink an eye when they see the GLRF booth. It’s called acceptance .


Good news about the new Community Rowing Inc. (CRI) boathouse in Boston. We talked to several CRI parents, one of whom serves on the board, and the word is that the new boathouse will celebrate its grand opening at the 2008 Head of the Charles in October.


Laura from JL Racing was in the booth directly facing us so we had some fun chatting about California rowing, the GLRF penchant for listening to Broadway show tunes on Sirius Satellite radio while we unloaded each day, and reviewing pics of her gorgeous (very blond!) male Rhodesian Ridgeback dog. Her husband runs a development camp out of Lake Natoma east of Sacramento, mainly for juniors. Given the number of GLRF members in California, Oregon, and Washington, maybe we should set up a west coast rowing clinic there, just for women, in the winter?


When we arrived at 6:45 am on Sunday morning to set up, the main ‘big top’ tent just across from us had all the tables arranged in rings of inner and outer circles for the 11 am College Fair. Nothing could have prepared us for the crowd of parents and their “rising senior” juniors that gathered for the recruiting session. A rising senior is defined as a junior rower preparing for their final year in high school (secondary school). The event, sponsored by USRowing, was packed. The parents and their kids lined up in front of the GLRF booth and then stretched back for a good city block, allowing everyone to notice the Gay + Lesbian Rowing Federation booth as they awaited their turn for admission into the tent. One benefit to this positioning was that the coaches had a chance to observe the GLRF booth. It is amazing how youthful, attractive, and very athletic all these recruiting coaches appeared. Ahhh marketing! Let’s hope our coaches’ membership category sees an up tick ! http://glrf.info/leblogglrf/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif


Oh, didn’t you know? We now offer four categories of GLRF membership: rowers, coxies, coaches, and race officials.


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