Quick Catch (September 2015)

September 2015 Newsletter

Nhat’s Note

Dear Capital members and friends,

August has been a good month for Capital. Our club placed 4th at the Masters National Championship in New Jersey, an impressive feat given the high caliber of competition. The results show our incredible talents and depth of our collective team, from the competitive programs to our club programs in both sculling and sweep.  Not twenty minutes away from Masters National, Capital’s Adaptive athletes did some medal hauling of their own. All six rowers came away with at least one medal each!  Congrats to all who competed; you made us all very proud!

We celebrated the end of the summer with Pull for the Pig.  Headed by Joe Spruill, the swine crew kept our summer tradition alive with a succulent meal for hungry rowers, ergers, and participants at the event.  It was awesome to see people from various programs coming together in one place.  

The summer may be over but the Capital social calendar is just beginning to pick up!  Yesterday was our big happy hour/fundraising event.  Head of the Anacostia is at the end of the month — come for the row; stay for the pie. The gala committee is working to finalize dates and details for the event, so be on the look out for that info soon!

I hope to see you all at these events…and on the water.

Go Capital!

Nhat Nguyen


Upcoming Events

September 20, 11:00 AM – Bioswale Work Session (1900 M St., SE)*

September 20, 4:00 PM – CRC Board Meeting (Erg Room, 1900 M St., SE)

September 26 – Head of the Anacostia (1900 M St., SE)*

September 27 – Head of the Potomac (Thompson Boat Center, 2900 Virginia Ave., NW)

October 4 – Occoquan Challenge (2500 Treehouse Dr., Woodbridge, VA)

October 5, 7:00 PM – ACBA Board Meeting (1900 M St., SE)

*Volunteers Needed!

Volunteer Opportunity: HOTA

We can not pull off this regatta without everyone’s help! Please sign up for at least 1.5 to 2 hours of volunteering. If you have any questions about any of the shifts please email: tonikerns@gmail.com.

Link to Land Jobs

Link to Water Jobs


Final 2015 Learn-to-Row Session

The final 2015 Learn-to-Row session begins Sunday, September 20 and runs through October 25.  Spots are still open, so spread the word to your friends and family!  Registration information is available here.

Safety Corner

Well-maintained launches can make or break a practice (or a coach’s day), so this month US Rowing is focused on launch maintenance and safety equipment.  Read the latest here (and big thanks to Jim Aust for fixing Launch #3 recently!).

Meet a Member: Gary Dean


Club AM member Gary Dean (far right) with Coach Jon Clark, Jonathan Abrams, Marcel Bedard, Brandt Chvirko, and Cami Pease (seated).

Interview by Katelyn Polantz

Which program do you row with at Capital?

I row primarily with Club AM; however, to meet more people and get more practice and water time as I have been learning, I have rowed with PM for 2-a-day practices and SAW.

When did you first start rowing and how did you get involved with Capital?

I am in my 5th month of rowing, and after a few INR sessions, I have been rowing with Club AM since May.  Some years ago, I did some sculling at Thompson’s Boat House, and when I decided to take up rowing sweep boats in April, I fancied that I had the rudimentary sweep boat skills.  Upon first seeing my skills, Jon Clark more accurately assessed the extent of my experience as “watching my daughter row for AHC high school for 4 years.”  With immense skill and incredible indulgence, Jon has coached me to being able to compete for CRC – most recently in a 4+ at Masters Nationals.

What have you learned most from rowing, and what do you like about it?

Rowing has exceeded all of my expectations.  Coming from a long history of running, triathlons, adventure racing, long distance bicycling, and working out generally, I was pleasantly surprised with rowing truly being a whole body workout – aerobic and anaerobic.  On top of that, the mental and neuromotor pieces required for technique are amazing.  Best of all though is that rowing is a team sport, and what I have learned most is the whole picture synchronization rowing requires.

Where did you grow up and what brought you to DC?

I grew up in Arizona.  Through my Marine Corps career I have lived overseas and in many places across the country, and it was the Marine Corps that brought me to the DC area.

When you’re not rowing, what’s your day job?

Since my military retirement in 2009, I have been working as defense/government contractor and consultant.

What other sports and activities do you like to do?

I have been fairly active throughout my life, although I have not done team sports since college.  Through the years I have done triathlons (to include iron distance), adventure races (to include 48hr events), runs (to include marathons and ultramarathons), bicycling (to include 1200km+ distance), backpacking and mountaineering (to include Mt Rainier), rock climbing, racquetball, and power lifting.

What’s your favorite place in the DC area?

My favorite place in the DC area is the Mall with all of its sights and people.

What’s your favorite sight from the Anacostia River  when you’re out on a boat?

My favorite sight from the Anacostia River is seeing the runners, walkers, and bicyclists on Hains Point.

Do you have a favorite Capital moment from this year?

I am still so new to rowing and have been so lucky to do so much rowing-wise in a relatively short period that I have new favorite Capital moments every week.

If you could give Capital rowers a piece of advice, what would it be?

Staying mentally calm and focused on your crew mates who are counting on you makes the pain of exertion easy.

In case you missed it…


Masters Nationals 1st place Women’s Lightweight C 4+ Caryn Muellerleile, Dominique Carlier, coxswain Sarah Montgomery, Jenn Tujague, and Helen Chabot.

Quick Catch: August 2015


Nhat’s Note

Dear Capital members and friends,

I hope you all enjoyed a great summer rowing season thus far. Be sure you hydrate before, during, and after your row.

I am happy to share some great things happening around our club:

  • With the assistance of a grant from the DC Trust, Capital will be concluding its first summer rowing and academic camp for youths in Wards 6, 7, and 8.
  • Our rowing squads took home two team trophies at Diamond States Master Rowing regatta for having the most team points in sweep and the most overall team points.
  • In mid-August, our team will travel to US Rowing Masters Nationals and Bayada Regatta, a premier regatta for adaptive athletes. Good luck to those who will be racing!

We have also done a better job with publicity this year. There has been more exposure for our club through news articles, videos, and radio coverage.  Of course, we could do more to let people know about our great organization.  If you have experience in media or publicity, we would love for you to help get the word out to the community about our organization.

Similar to the past few years, we will conclude the summer with the “Pull for the Pig” event on August 29.  Come row, erg, eat, and drink at this fun club combine and show your red, white, and blue team spirit.

Go Capital!

Nhat Nguyen, President

Upcoming Events

  • August 13-16 – Masters Nationals (Cooper River, Camden, NJ)
  • August 15 – Bayada Regatta (Schuykill River, Philadelphia, PA)
  • August 23, 4:00pm – CRC Board Meeting (Erg Room, 1900 M St., SE)
  • August 24 – Fall Season Starts
  • August 29, 2:00pm – Annual End of Summer Season “Pull for the Pig” (1900 M St., SE)
  • August 30, 11:00am – Bioswale Work Session (1900 M St., SE)*

*Volunteers Needed!

Fundraising: Adopt-A-Rower


Recruiting season for Juniors is coming up and it’s a great time to Sponsor-A-Rower!  Check out how to make an incredible difference in the lives of our Juniors.  Sponsor for 1 season, 2 seasons, or all year!  

Capital Juniors Featured on the Steve Harvey Show


On August 6, the Capital Juniors were featured on the Steve Harvey Show on WHUR (96.3) in a brief interview with Capital’s Executive Director Harlan Trevithick.  Prior to the interview, Harlan invited Darryl Haley, a former Patriots, Browns, and Packers player, who has worked on WHUR 96.3 Howard University Radio for the past 15 years and hosts “Fitness Fridays” on the Steve Harvey Show, to visit a Capital Juniors camp day this summer.  He accepted and was thrilled to see the Juniors in action. The radio spot briefly explains the Capital Juniors program, when the upcoming tryouts are, and where to donate to the program. 96.3 broadcasts to all the historically black colleges and universities and has a roughly 8-million person reach.


Information about Capital Juniors is already posted on the show’s website and video footage will be added soon!

Congratulations to Harlan and the Juniors!

Coach Spotlight: Elena Bratichko, Comp Men & Women

Interview by Georgia Bullen


Which programs do you coach at Capital?

I coach the men’s and women’s competitive sweep program.

How and when did you first get involved with Capital?

I joined my husband coaching at CRC in 1996.

How would you describe your coaching style or philosophy?

I coach alongside my husband (Coach Guennadi Bratichko) to encourage athletes to work as a team. I assist each athlete individually based on their specialized needs. Sometimes it’s as easy as showing them a video of themselves to help them better understand what they are doing wrong and how to correct their form. They might not fully understand the whole picture as I’m coaching during practice, so when they are able to see what I see during practice, it ties everything together. I’m very particular in my coaching style because I observe every little detail.

When did you first start rowing? What drew you to it?

I first started rowing in 1978, absolutely by accident. An acquaintance at the sports college I was attending encouraged me to try rowing. I attended one practice. When I sat down in the boat for the first time, I thought to myself that I could be great at this and I fell in love. Within two years, I became a silver medal Olympic Champion at the age of 19. My passion grew as well as my achievements; I finished my education and went on to win more medals as part of the national rowing team for seven years. Rowing opened a lot of doors for me and was truly my passion.

What other coaching experience do you have outside of Capital?

When I was on the Soviet national team, as the most experienced athlete in my boat, I took leadership and coached the girls in my boat. I was their mentor, coach, and teammate. After I left the national team, I coached a junior club team in Minsk, Belarus. When I came to the United States, I coached for one season at Jeb Stewart High School as an assistant head coach.  In 1997, I was hired as the head women’s coach at George Mason University, where I built the program from club to varsity within five years. I coached the DC Strokes sculling program at Thompson’s from 1997 to 1998. I also coached CRC winter sculling for a few years in mid-2000.

When you’re not coaching, what’s your day job?

I work at the Aquatic and Fitness Center at George Mason University as well as several locations as a massage therapist.

Favorite place in the DC area?

I enjoy the Waterfront especially at sunrise or sunset.

What other hobbies or activities are you involved in outside of rowing?

Some of my favorite hobbies are drawing, painting, making mosaics, going to the spa, hot yoga, biking through scenic trails, and spending time with my family.

Where did you grow up and, if you aren’t from DC, what brought you here?

I grew up in Russia and came to the U.S with my family in 1995.

If you could listen to just one song or album while you rowed, what would it be?


What is it about Capital that encourages you to return each year?

I am very encouraged by the dedication and hard work that the CRC athletes exhibit. I admire their ambition to continue to give it their all and strive to be the best they can be.

Share a favorite Capital moment.

I feel so proud after every regatta in which our athletes perform to the best of their abilities and bring home medals.

What are you looking forward to this year as a Capital coach?

I look forward to our team getting top 3 at Master’s Nationals and Head of the Charles and enjoying the victories from daily hard work.

If you could give Capital rowers a piece of advice, what would it be?

Strive to be the best that you can be and don’t give up when things get hard. Life is like a wave, you’ll experience highs and you’ll experience lows, just hold your course and do you best to ride the wave.

Volunteer Opportunity: 2015 Gala Planning


Planning for the 2015 CRC Gala is underway!  The success of this annual Capital fundraiser is dependent upon the work of many dedicated volunteers.  If you’re interested in helping, please contact Rachel Poor (rachel.s.poor@gmail.com).

Safety Corner

Our club is lucky to have a few extremely capable trailer drivers to help us transport our boats to and from races (three cheers for Rachel Humphreys and Jim Aust for all the work they do to make it happen!), but every member should know what it takes for us to safely get all our equipment to our races: Check out US Rowing’s trailer safety feature here.


Meet a Member

Like Congress, Meet a Member is on vacation this month.  Check back in September!

Program News


Adapative will head to Philly for the Bayada Regatta on August 15, an annual all-adaptive regatta.  We’ll have new rowers Kenneth Marrs, Sarah Davies, and Daniel Longo competing at this regatta for the first time — good luck!

Mikaela Schaller is leaving to head back to Bucknell. She has been an invaluable resource to CARP and has brought order, discipline, and better training to our daily practices. Due to her absence, CARP is looking again for another assistant coach. Only 2 days per week! We have received some interest, but are still eagerly searching for qualified candidates. Email harlan@capitalrowing.org with interest or referrals.



Through the DC Trust, Capital has put on a 6-week academic and rowing camp targeted to students in local wards 6, 7, and 8.  Their families were invited to attend the last day with the students to see presentations and learn how to row from their children.

Congratulations to our Juniors who competed at the Philadelphia Youth Regatta !  This regatta closed out our competitive summer offerings.  The students traveled with Coach Nathan and their families to the Schuylkill River to put their training to the test.  With no lightweight categories or J-16 options, our young, light rowers were up against students much older and heavier.  Coach Nathan was pleased with each student’s performance and thought the regatta ran very smoothly.  


CRC Board Highlights

Board meeting minutes can be found here.

Capitol Hill Yoga Opportunity

East Side Yoga is now open at 10th and F NE, and is inviting Capitol rowers to try a first class for free!  The promo code ESYFreeClass can be used to sign up for a free class online or on walk-in basis. To use it on a walk-in basis, just show up 5-10 min before class is scheduled to start and provide the front desk staff with your promo code.  To use it online:

  1. Go to our online scheduler at: https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/admhome?studioid=46557.
  2. Click the “Sign Up” button next to the class you wish to take.
  3. Choose “Single Drop In Class” when asked which type of pass you’d like to purchase
  4. Enter the promo code in the box in the top left-hand corner of the screen where it says PROMOTION CODE.


In case you missed it…

Quick Catch: July 2015

Nhat’s Note

Dear Capital members and friends,

I hope your summer is going well. Congratulations to the many of you who have competed in the sprint racing season thus far. The results show how competitive our members can be and I am looking forward to hearing about many more successes throughout the summer.

As we approach the midpoint of the year, I would to like reflect on a few changes that we have made this year to improve our organization and to announce some additional changes to further that goal.

  • We have instituted a members’ forum at our monthly board meetings. The Board has carved out time at the beginning of each monthly meeting in which members can freely express their concerns to the Board.  Generally, board meetings are held every third Sunday of the month at 4:00pm in the erg room and are included in our calendar on Capital’s website.
  • In response to member feedback, we have started publishing Board meeting minutes to ensure transparency of our processes.
  • Later this summer, the Board will start to evaluate the entire club’s operations – our weaknesses and strengths. We will work toward creating a long-term strategic plan that will build on the great work that we have been doing so far and ensure Capital’s ability to thrive for years to come. If you have ideas or opinions, please share them with your club reps and we will make sure to evaluate those ideas.

Finally, as you know, running a club of 300 members is not an easy task.  Many of the Board members, and countless others, have stepped up to volunteer, but we always need more help.  We always need help with our fundraising efforts, with equipment maintenance, with creating financial documents, running events, and countless other tasks. If you have not volunteered this year, please do sign up for the various volunteer calls.  We really need your help to continue to make Capital great!


Nhat Nguyen


Upcoming Events

  • July 19, 4:00pm – CRC Board Meeting (Erg Room, 1900 M St., SE)
  • July 25-26 – Diamond States Regatta (Townsend, DE)
  • July 26, 11:00am – Bioswale Work Session (1900 M St., SE)*
  • August 3, 7:00pm – ACBA Board Meeting (Erg Room, 1900 M. St., SE)

*Volunteers Needed!

Coach Spotlight: Guennadi Bratichko, Comp Men & Women

Interview by Kelley O’Connell

Coach Bratichko leads the men's and women's competitive sweep teams for Capital.
Coach Bratichko leads the men’s and women’s competitive sweep teams for Capital.

Which program(s) do you coach at Capital?

I coach the masters competitive men’s and women’s sweep rowing teams at Capital.

Do you coach anywhere else?

I have coached the juniors rowing program for my club, Dinamo, in Minsk, Belarus, the junior’s team for the Soviet National Team, and the juniors for Belarusian National team.  I was the head rowing coach at Bishop Ireton High School for the 2013-2014 season and I also coach the open sculling program at Potomac Boat Club when I am not coaching for Capital.

What are you looking forward to this year at Capital?

Developing members of our masters competitive program to an extent where they will be able to compete for a victory at the USRowing Masters National Championship in Camden, New Jersey this August and at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, Massachusetts this coming October.

When did you first start rowing? What drew you to it?

I started rowing in November 1976 (yes!).  I just wanted to get all the muscles I had seen in rowing pictures 🙂

During your rowing career as an athlete, what was your most memorable or exciting race?  

My most memorable race was in 1982 at one of the international regattas, where we beat current Olympic and World Champions in M4+ from DDR*.

*DDR is the German acronym for Deutsche Demokratische Republik (German) or German Democratic Republic (English), a former state in Europe, 1949–1990. It is also referred to as East Germany

How did you first get involved with Capital?

Capital Rowing Club was searching for an experienced sweep coach in 1994.  I applied for the position and was hired to coach the competitive sweep program beginning in March 1994.

What is it about Capital that encourages you to return each year?

My team.

Share a favorite Capital moment.

This is a hard one. Most simply, I would say seeing our team achieving new heights every year. That is my favorite Capital moment.

Where did you grow up and, if you aren’t from DC, what brought you here?

I grew up in Minsk, Belarus. I moved to DC in March 1994 from NYC to be a coach at Capital.

What other hobbies or activities are you involved in outside of rowing?

Coaching, keep learning about rowing, spending time with my family – this pretty much is all I do.

When you’re not coaching, what’s your day job?

I work for Virginia Tech, National Capital Region, as a member of managerial administration team.

Favorite place in the DC area?

My home.

If you could listen to just one song or album while you rowed, what would it be?

For some reason, I cannot listen to music during rowing or while working out – it takes away my focus. However, I like listening to music performed by Pink Floyd, without focusing much on what they are singing about.

If you could give Capital rowers a piece of advice, what would it be?

Whatever you do in a boat, feel what the boat is doing and stay relaxed!

Coach Guennadi Bratichko (stroke) during his rowing days.
Coach Guennadi Bratichko (stroke) during his rowing days.

Safety Corner

This month, we’re thinking about staying cool when things heat up — check out the tips from US Rowing here.

Club Scullers Seek Donations for New Single

As the popularity of CRC’s sculling programs have increased, our fleet of singles and doubles is being heavily used and, unfortunately, some of the boats are showing the wear and tear.  A group of club scullers came together last month and decided that the need was great enough to warrant a fundraising effort for a least one new single.  Two club scullers have generously said that they will each give $1,000 to the campaign if we can raise a matching $2,000.  We are well on our way to meet this goal and the hope is to purchase a new single in time for the fall season.

If you are interested in contributing to this campaign, please write a check to the Capital Rowing Club and put “New Sculling Boat Fund” in the memo line.  Checks should be sent to Geoff Brown, 652 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002.

Meet a Member: Mark Comtois

Interview by Brett Rini

Mark sitting stroke for the Comp Team in the MIxed B4+ at Masters Nationals in Oak Ridge, TN in th early 2000s.   Also pictured are Steve Vermillion (3-seat), Amy Flickinger (2-seat), and Debbie Frye (bow).
Mark sitting stroke for the Comp Team in the MIxed B4+ at Masters Nationals in Oak Ridge, TN in th early 2000s.
Also pictured are Steve Vermillion (3-seat), Amy Flickinger (2-seat), and Debbie Frye (bow).

Which program do you row with at Capital?

Men’s competitive team

When did you first start rowing?

14 July 1977

Why did you choose rowing and what do you like about it?

I was entering the Naval Academy and had to choose a sport.  I received a letter from the plebe crew coach inviting me to join the crew team.  I had never rowed in my life, but it looked like fun so I gave it a try.  I’ve been rowing ever since.

What was Capital like when you joined?

It was 1988.  There was no Capital Rowing Club.  I was rowing with Annapolis Rowing Club at the time and heard that there were refugees from Potomac Boat Club’s waiting list that wanted to start a club.  So we did.  We had no equipment, we rented an eight (the Villaret) from a local high school by paying their rack fees at Thompson’s Boat House.  We also rented a launch.  There was one program (men’s competitive) and we only went to races on the Potomac since we had no boats, oars, or trailer of our own.  The next year we rented other boats and started other programs.  We did a lot of scavenging and making do with cast-off equipment to meet the demands of the various programs.  After a few years Thompson’s became too crowded and we shifted our base of operations to the Anacostia River, specifically underneath the 11th Street bridge.  We built our own racks, towed some docks over from Thompson’s, cleared a site for rowing, and continued to grow the club.  We eventually managed to obtain access to the old WWII boat house that stood between the bridge spans, bought new docks, and started our own regattas.  When the 11th Street bridge was to be torn down, we were fortunate (through a lot of hard work by a few individuals) to wind up in the luxurious site we now occupy.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen at Capital since you started?

I am still in awe of the amount of equipment (boats, oars, ergs, launches, etc.), the number of people, coaches, and programs we have, and the facility we row out of.  None of it seemed possible in 1988.

Where did you grow up and what brought you to DC?

I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and came to the DC area after I got out of the Navy.

What other sports or activities are you involved in?

I do a lot of cycling.  I bike to and from home in Alexandria, to the boathouse, and to work almost every day.​​  I also swam and played basketball in high school.

When you’re not rowing, what’s your day job?

I am a patent attorney working mostly with high tech companies (mostly electronics, wireless geolocation systems, computer networks, lasers, LEDs, engines, and combustion systems).

Favorite place in the DC area?


Share a favorite Capital moment.

Winning my first gold medal at Master’s Nationals in Long Beach, CA in 1997 (mixed A8+)

What are you looking forward to this year as a Capital rower?

Another fun racing season

What encourages you to keep coming back to Capital each year?

Watching the club continue to progress and the coaching.  Early on, we changed coaches every 4 months or so.  The programs had no continuity, no stability, and there was a lack of quality time on the water.  You have no idea what a huge difference it makes to have quality, reliable, and knowledgeable coaching.

If you could give Capital rowers a piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t ever take for granted the equipment the club owns, the facility you row out of, or the level of coaching.

Program News/Board Highlights

CRC Board Highlights

Planning for Cap Sprints is underway! One of the reasons we are able to keep race-fees at a flat rate is that this is a volunteer-run event. Plan to support your teammates both on and off the water by donating your time!  Board meeting minutes can be found here.


Comp Sculling

Comp Sculling welcomes Coach Jason, who has been a key component of Comp Sculling’s early success this season.  Comp Sculling had several wins at Stonewall, SNR, and the Row for the Cure.


CARP is fully staffed!  Congrats to Sofija Korac, who took first in the mixed adaptive 1x at Richmond.  Click here to sign up to volunteer for CARP practices.


The Juniors program continues to expand thanks to a grant from DC Trust.  Capital will be hosting a six-week summer camp for 25 African American students from ages 13-18.  The program kicked off June 29 — we are excited to share our love of the river and of rowing with the Anacostia community!


SAW is putting out two boats per practice and could use some help finding coxswains on Sunday mornings.  If you are interested in coxing, please contact Jim Smailes or Mary Ellsworth, or send an email to seniorandweekend_reps@capitalrowing.org.  SAW is welcoming back seven athletes who attended the Women’s Navy Rowing Camp in early June — look out for them on the water at Cap Sprints!

Comp Men

The Comp team claimed several wins at Stonewall, SNR, and Richmond.  The Men’s Comp team is looking to add to its roster.  For more information, contact Brett Rini at  comp_men_rep@capitalrowing.org.


In case you missed it…

News from around our river, our boathouse, and our community:

Quick Catch: June 2015

President’s note

Dear Capital,

Thank you to all of you who responded with enthusiasm to help the Adaptive program.  Either through establishing contacts or volunteering, you have helped to sustain this program. It proves that CRC can be a force when we put our minds and efforts into it.  I hope you will continue to support Adaptive rowing as well as many other CRC programs, such as Capital Juniors and Learn-to-Row.  Your support will allow CRC to continue to provide quality rowing programs at minimal cost to the participants.

Starting soon, we will kick off several fundraising events for general equipment improvements to help CRC maintain and update our fleets of boats. I hope to count on all of your support.

Congratulations to the Juniors on finishing strong and posting some very competitive times at the recent regattas. Way to end the season on a good note!  Congratulations and a warm welcome to the recent graduates of Learn-to-Row program.  If you see any of these “novices,” please show them some CRC love.

Finally, good luck to all of you on the upcoming sprint racing season!


Nhat Nguyen


Novice sculling kicks off!

Capital is offering a session of Novice Sculling/Learn to Scull starting on June 19.  Novice classes are twelve 2-hour sessions. Each class will consist of approximately six novice scullers. The class begins with work in doubles and recreational singles, learning technique and getting comfortable with handling two oars. Moving into singles is based on the coach’s discretion. The classes focus on safety, boat handling skills, and learning basic sculling technique.

Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis with priority for current Capital members, and some prior sweep or limited sculling experience is required. Capital may offer a second session in the fall depending on the level of interest.  The schedule for the sessions can be found here.

Questions?  Contact Membership@CapitalRowing.org

Coach Spotlight:  Bob Reichart, Novice Sculling & Club Sculling

Bob and Anne

Which programs do you coach at Capital?

I coach the Monday/Wednesday/Sunday session of Club Sculling.  The sculling program added this second session of club sculling to meet the growing demand for a coached program with access to club singles and doubles.  I also coach Novice Sculling (starting June 19) and have given a few private sculling lessons.

My goal is to give folks a safe platform to row and have fun while improving their rowing – because rowing well is both fast and very satisfying.  I try to combine reading and visualization (video) with on-the-water drills, observation and feedback, and rowing to help scullers work towards that elusive perfect stroke!

What are you looking forward to this year as a Capital coach?

Seeing our Capital scullers grow and improve – it has been really cool to see my novice scullers from last year significantly improve this spring!

Where did your rowing career begin?

I started rowing at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, where I rowed on the Freshman Lightweight boat in 1981 and then varsity for the next three years. I was drawn in by a life-long love of the water (I come from a sailing family) – and the incredibly positive experience that my brother-in-law, Harry Graves, had rowing at Trinity.  His boat set a course record in the Ladies Challenge Plate at Henley in ’78 that stood for many years.

I didn’t get to Henley – rowed in lots of fast boats and collected many betting shirts and Dad Vail medals.  I also spent a college summer rowing at the Minneapolis Rowing Club, where I first learned to scull.  My family has kept me drawn in…  we have a Virtual Rowing team that competes well in the C2 January Virtual Challenge each year, and I have 4 nephews who have competed for the US at the international level – sculling and sweep.

How did you first get involved with Capital?

My wife, Anne Diggs, and I were searching for a place to row when we returned to DC from Hawaii in 2012.  We fortunately found Capital, which was very convenient to the Navy Yard where I was working.

What is it about Capital that encourages you to return each year?

The great people and great friends!  Oh – and the opportunity to row in Narnia (aka Upstream on the Anacostia).

Share a favorite Capital moment.

Winning the Mixed Quad at the Cap Sprints last year in a throw-together boat with Anne, Kate Bonner, and Larry Caruso.  Truth be told – our competition failed to show up – but we had a blast anyway!

Where did you grow up and, if you aren’t from DC, what brought you here?

I grew up outside of New York City, in Switzerland, and in Mystic, CT.  The Navy brought me to Washington in 1989… this is the 3rd time Anne and I have been stationed here.

When you’re not coaching, what’s your day job?

Up until recently, I was a US Navy Supply Officer.  My last job was as the senior logistician at Naval Sea Systems Command on the Navy Yard.  I “retired” from the Navy in February – and I’m currently considering other options!

If you could listen to just one song or album while you rowed, what would it be?

On the erg (and I’m on the erg a LOT in the winter) – I’m all about whatever classic rock is pumping on 100.3.  On the water – I’m listening to the boat and the water!

If you could give Capital rowers a piece of advice, what would it be?

Keep at it! Rowing is an amazing lifetime sport!


Safety Tip

As the weather warms up, we’ll (hopefully) see lots of sunny days on the Anacostia!  US Rowing shares advice for staying safe in the sun.

Member Spotlight

Meet a Member: Director-at-Large Candidate Bios

This month, rather than feature a single member, we’re sharing the candidate statements from three of our members who are running for the open Director-at-Large position on the CRC Board.  

Vote here by 9:00pm, June 12!

Georgia Bullen:

I’m interested in serving as a Director at Large for Capital Rowing Club. I’ve been involved in rowing in one form or another for 13 years. I served as treasurer for my club team in college and then coached the Carnegie Mellon novice team (men and women) for 3 years. During the time that I was coaching we grew the total team from about 12 students to 60 students, making it possible to race 8s, which we had never done before. As coach, I coordinated logistics for our trailer, carrying both Carnegie Mellon and Three Rivers Rowing to regattas, where I also raced on the TRRA Women’s masters team. At TRRA, I also coached for our corporate program. I’ve only been with Capital for a little over a year, but I love the community and am very interested in helping to see the club grow. Thus far, I have been helping to rebuild the website, switched over out list management tools, and worked closely with Kirsten on moving to a new donation management system which we are using for registration. I’d love to continue in this work, while serving as a Director at Large for the club. Thanks!

P. Justin Foote:

Justin joined Capital Rowing Club in 2011, and joining the Capital Rowing Club Board would give Justin the opportunity to contribute to the Board’s ongoing efforts to make the club a positive experience for all members and help CRC reach its goals. As a Director-at-Large, Justin would bring a valuable and varied set of skills to the CRC Board including process improvement, negotiations, and small business development. As a federal contracts negotiator, Justin created a new contracts department within his company, managed over $100 million in government contracts and subcontracts, and developed numerous business process improvements. This experience can be used to help the CRC Board to manage projects, negotiate and work with outside contractors, and more generally, to help the Club achieve its goals. Additionally, Justin has been an entrepreneur in the past and recognizes the value of making every penny count. A trait that can be seen today with his drink preference still being cheap beer.

CRC holds a special place in Justin’s heart because of all of the wonderful friends he has made, but CRC has also changed Justin’s life in an extremely positive way by shifting his focus to health, exercise, being outside, and building many lifelong friendships. It is because of the constructive influence CRC has had on Justin; that he feels driven to give back to CRC and contribute to the spectacular environment that is Capital Rowing Club.

Sarah Gross:

I was introduced to rowing as a college freshman in 1996. I was immediately hooked and rowed with the Purdue Crew Club throughout undergrad. I also served two years as the club’s Vice President where I helped with fundraising efforts and day to day operations. I then spent 12 sad years away from the sport, but rediscovered rowing at Capital with the Comp women in 2012 after moving to DC. A year later I was elected to the position of Secretary, a role I held for two years. I am now running for Director-at-Large and if elected I will work with the Club’s senior leaders to ensure the club’s continued growth and success in the community.



Program / Board News

CRC Board Highlights

The Board thanks all members who submitted comments on the ACBA Clubhouse proposal. All comments were consolidated and submitted to ACBA for review.  Board meeting minutes can be found here.


CARP has hired an assistant coach and is looking at two candidates for the head coach position. An extra “Thank You” goes out to all Capital members who have helped in the search.


On June 8, Juniors hosted a delegation from Poland through a program at the State Department. Delegation members had a brief learn-to-row session followed by a youth development presentation and discussion from Juniors and CARP Executive Director, Harlan Trevithick.  Juniors started their first week of competitive summer sculling this week. See the fundraising section for an exciting development about Juniors summer offerings!

Upcoming Events

June 8 – Summer Season starts

June 13 – Schuylkill Navy Regatta (Philadelphia, PA)

June 20 – Rocketts Landing Sprint Regatta (Richmond, VA)

June 27 – Charm City Sprints (Baltimore, MD)

June 28, 11:00am – Bioswale Work Session (1900 M St., SE)*

                 4:00pm – CRC Board Meeting (Erg Room, 1900 M St., SE)

Review of Past Events

Juniors Celebrate at End-of-Year Banquet

On Friday, May 29, 2015,  Juniors had their end of year banquet. It was a hot evening, but roughly 100 family members and rowers gathered to eat a catered meal through a significant donation from Pie-tanza in Arlington, VA at tables donated from local hardware store, Fragers! Thank you to all the parents and rowers who donated to support the event!

Most Improved Rower: Paola Williams (novice girls), Baruch Biggs (novice boys), Fox Meyer (varsity boys), Sarah Wong (varsity girls)

Most Valuable Rower: Erin Fenzel (novice girls), Kojo Saunders (novice boys), Will Warren (varsity boys), Micaylah Jones (varsity girls)

Fewer than three attendances in spring season: Tiona Herring, Erin Fenzel, Kojo Saunders, Will Delano, Micaylah Jones, Sarah Wong

Hammer (fastest 2ks): Sam Otto (6:58.9) Stacey Carson (7:21)

Spirit of Capital Award (rower(s) who most further Capital’s mission in the community): Camilla Hallman and Shannon Mackenzie

4-year seniors: Maggie Carson, Camilla Hallman, Bailey Koike, Anna Fenzel, and Cambria Revsine

Housing Wanted…

Dammie Onafeko (Adaptive) just received a full ride for his first year at Howard University! He is seeking housing for his upcoming school year. He needs basic amenities (no significant accommodations), rent must be under $500 and he would like to be as close to Howard as possible to cut down on his travel time from MD. If you have any leads or know someone who might, please email Dammie at mindofdheart@gmail.com.


Community News

In case you missed it…

News from around our river, our boathouse, and our community:



Fundraising: Juniors Receive DC Trust Grant

Capital Juniors landed their first grant! Last week, the program received an award letter for $18,000 from the DC Trust, an independent non-profit organization created by the DC Council to determine which nonprofits best serve DC youth. This funding will go towards delivering a 6-week academic and rowing summer program for free to a target population of youth in wards 6, 7, and 8.

The program will run from June 28, 2015 – August, 7, 2015. The curriculum includes daily rowing combined with reading, writing, and community service projects to improve in young people the following youth development outcomes: physical health, mastery and future, and intellectual ability. Want more info? Email harlan@capitalrowing.org.


Quick Catch: May 2015

Nhat’s Note

A word from our Club President…
Dear Capital,
I hope you all have had a chance to register for the Spring season.  (If you have not, contact your Program Rep immediately.)  Our numbers are looking strong although many of the programs still have room to add more members.
As a volunteer-based club, we are always looking for volunteers for the various programs, including Learn-to-Row and the Adaptive Program (CARP).  Please pitch in whenever you can.  You can sign up to volunteer for these two programs on our website under the Support Capital link or by clicking here. 
Nhat Nguyen

Upcoming Events
May 9, 4:05pm – Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves (Nats Stadium)**
May 16,1-4pm – Club-wide Scrimmage (1900 M St., SE)
May 17, TBD – Board Meeting (Erg Room, 1900 M St., SE)
May 31, 11am – Bioswale Work Session (1900 M St., SE)
June 1, 7pm – ACBA Board Meeting
June 5, 7:05pm – Washington Nationals vs. Chicago Cubs (Nats Stadium)**
June 6, TBD – National Learn-to-Row Day*
June 7 – Stonewall Regatta
June 8 – Summer Season starts

*Volunteers Needed!
**More details to come from the Social Chair

Volunteer Opportunity: National Learn-to-Row Day (June 6th)

Capital Rowing Club will again be hosting National Learn to Row Day at the Anacostia Community Boathouse (1900 M St., SE). Sponsored by USRowing and Concept2, National Learn to Row Day is a chance for potential new rowers to meet people that will serve as mentors in a fun, pressure-free environment. The day will include introductory coaching of the fundamentals of the stroke and basic drills used to coordinate movement.
We will need many hands from CRC to bring the enthusiasm and experience necessary to make this event a success.  As we near the event, we’ll be issuing a detailed call for volunteers with specific time and task information.  We’ll need coaching, coxing, demonstration rowers, launch drivers, and those with big smiles and loud voices to help keep everyone organized and moving on time while having fun.

Read more about the event at US Rowing’s website.

For questions or to sign-up to volunteer contact:

Your Team Program Ready to Grow with Your Help

Steve Neumann leads a Your Team session.
Steve Neumann leads a Your Team session.

Capital’s Your Team program provides short learn-to-row experiences for groups, designed to emphasize the team-building and leadership development aspects of rowing.  The program generates interest in rowing and CRC, community awareness, funding, and new members. Quick Catch caught up with Steve Neumann to find out more.

What made you start Your Team?

I had successfully run a handful of one-day group-based sessions at other rowing clubs, and CRC had occasionally delivered this type of session (as well as our excellent multi-week learn to row classes) long before my time here. We have equipment that is often dormant during weekdays and on weekend afternoons. So as a club, we already possessed the interest, the know-how, and the infrastructure to offer a great program that compliments everything else we do.

What types of groups have participated so far?

We’ve had a variety of groups who participated, including groups of friends, non-profit groups, youth sports teams, and office colleagues. Executive teams, military units, and other types of groups have also expressed interest.  Because we can tailor the program to fit what each group wants to get out of the experience and how much they want to spend, we can make it work for just about any group.

What have Your Team groups gained from the program?

Feedback has been very positive. Participants tell us they really enjoyed the session. For some, it was a new adventure. For others, it was a sport they’ve always wanted to try. Groups that chose the “premium option” and actually rowed in an eight after just a few hours (with the help of experienced rowers and using our CARP pontoons for stability) were so excited. They told us that they had so much fun going fast in such a skinny boat, and that they really gained an appreciation for how much better things went when they worked as a team. Learning to row is such a fun and unique shared experience, and giving people the opportunity to learn with a group of their friends or family or colleagues can really add to that experience. That is the whole idea of Your Team — you can try this great sport with whatever group you’d like to bring.

What is the vision for Your Team going forward?

Just like other clubs with mature programs of a similar design, Your Team has the potential to expand greatly. With proper management of scale we could offer multiple sessions per week, and even add a Friday night “corporate challenge” racing series or something similar. Even as a pilot program of limited scale in 2014, we were able to generate positive revenue on each session, even after accounting for coaching and experienced rower costs, equipment, and maintenance, thus helping support other programs and events.

Other than bringing in additional funds, what does Your Team do for Capital and the sport of rowing in general?

Your Team provides a great option for people to try the sport who might not otherwise be able to do so. Many people can’t commit to the time demands of a multi-week class, and others just want to try it once and then may sign up for a class later. The program also provides a structure for CRC to help meet our mission and increase our degree of community integration by providing sessions for partner organizations, potential sponsors, and non-profits with similar missions. This program also gives a rare opportunity for some of our junior members (and others) to get paid to row while serving a crucial function in delivering these sessions.

What does Your Team need from Capital members?

Mostly we just need to keep “building the buzz.” Keep this program in mind and let people know about it. We are still very much dependent on volunteers to market everything that we do through word of mouth and social media. Remember, just 100 Your Team clients could cover the cost of Cap Sprints! So we are asking CRC members to help share rowing with your colleagues and friends, and support Capital’s financial health in the process. Soon we’ll have a new flyer that members can distribute at work, to friends, or to other area groups who might be interested.  More information is available on Capital’s website.

For questions, please contact membership@capitalrowing.org.

Coach Spotlight:  Nicole Iribarren, Learn-to-Row

Coach Nicole Iribarren co-leads Capital's Learn-to-Row program.
Coach Nicole Iribarren co-leads Capital’s Learn-to-Row program.
Which program do you coach at Capital?
I coach Capital’s Learn-to-Row.
For people thinking about signing up for Learn-to-Row, what would you like them to know about you, your coaching style, and the program?
I’ve been told I’m really calm and have a lot of patience. I once had my own novice year and I remember all the bickering and confusion that went along with it (we were also high school girls…), so I understand where people are coming from. Rowing is different and it can be scary. If the coach can’t keep his or her cool, then there’s no way the students will. To minimize confusion, I like to focus on explaining specific drills on land and then follow it up with a demonstration. If I can tie rowing into everyday life activities, then that’s even better! Because rowing is so new to people learn-to-row classes are a good way to challenge not only your physical abilities but also your mind. It really forces people to concentrate and work together.
Do you coach anywhere else? 
I’m the Head Coach at Elizabeth Seton High School in Bladensburg, MD.When did you first start rowing? 
I started rowing in 9th grade and haven’t stopped since. I always enjoyed being close to the water, whether it was through swimming or fun little beach trips here and there. Most of my friends started rowing in 8thgrade so they all kept pushing me to join and, when I finally did, I fell in love with it! The amount of focus it takes to not only work together but to try and nail the stroke just right is what keeps me coming back. And of course, nothing beats a fast, set boat rowing towards a sunrise.How and when did you first get involved with Capital?
I used to race Capital when I was in college down at the Occoquan. I remembered one day my coxswain saying, “Oh shoot. We have Capital in our event. They’re fast!” and it just stuck with me. I wanted to join a team where I could grow to become a better rower and I feel like that’s exactly what has happened. I’ve been with Capital now for over 2 year, but I started coaching for Capital last fall.What other sports and activities have you been involved in?
Ever since I was little, and until I graduated high school, I was on a swim team. I still swim on occasion but not competitively anymore. I definitely do miss it though!What’s one of your favorite Capital moments?
This one is too easy! It HAS to be when I was practicing one day with the Club AM Nationals 4+ and Coach Megan told us to bring up the stroke rating two beats every 10 strokes until we hit a 36. It was magical! We were rowing and the boat just glided underneath us, not a single dip to either side. We covered so much distance, and it felt like an easy 20spm the entire time. When you feel a boat just fly underneath you and you get the confirmation from our cox, Jim Aust, you know you’ve come together. None of us had ever felt that in all of our years of rowing. It was amazing. Ah!

What makes you keep coming back to Capital?
The teammates and the coaching staff! I have become really close friends with my teammates — they are like my second family — and I think the coaching staff here at Capital is one of the best. Nothing beats having an organized practice with a specific focus each week. I’ve heard horror stories from other teams, and I personally have had coaches in college that have had a lot of trouble with organization. If that’s the case, why come to practice? Before each coaching session, I meet with my partner in crime, Andy Waiters, and we discuss as many specifics as we can before meeting up with the learn-to-row group. As coaches, we owe the athletes at least that.

If you could give Capital rowers a piece of advice, what would it be?
Stay long! I was always told to row tall because I was short. But more importantly, stick with it! Rowing can be very frustrating at times, especially for beginners, but there’s so much to learn that no one should ever get discouraged about their rowing. Keep your head up high, and if you happen to have a bad practice one day, forget about it, and focus on your next row. Holding on to any tension while you row will definitely show in your stroke. *Cue in Let It Go*

 Learn-to-Row & CARP Need Volunteers!

Capital's current Learn-to-Row class working on the basics with Club AM's Mark Lance as volunteer coxswain.
Capital’s current Learn-to-Row class working on the basics with Club AM’s Mark Lance as volunteer coxswain.

Capital’s learn-to-row program is in full swing for the year and requires 3-4 volunteers each session to keep things running smoothly. Volunteers may be asked to cox boats, row, demonstrate technique on ergs, lead erg workouts, etc.  Learn-to-row meets Saturdays and Sundays, 9:00am-noon.

CARP is also in need of 3-4 volunteers per session to help move equipment between the boathouse and the dock and row with the athletes.  CARP meets Mondays and Wednesdays 6:15-8:00pm and Saturdays 10:00am-noon.

Please contribute your time and rowing knowledge by volunteering!

Remember: All members of Capital are required to volunteer at twice per season to remain in good standing.

Safety Corner

Buoys on the Anacostia frequently shift throughout the day as weather and tides change.  Be sure you know where sandbars are located throughout the river in case the buoy marking it has drifted.  Please take special note that the white buoy located on the western side of the 11th St. bridge is one such buoy that shifts considerably.  When rowing upstream (returning to the dock), crews should be aware that this buoy may not remain in a consistent location. Remain aware of your surroundings and other obstacles as you near the bridge.

Check out the interactive map, which will be updated throughout the year to reflect changes in traffic patterns and river markers.

Meet a Member: Sara Grimes

SAW member, Sara Grimes
SAW member, Sara Grimes

Interview by Mary Ellsworth

Which program do you row with at Capital?   I currently row with the Seniors and Weekends (SAW) program.  Sunday morning with SAW has always been my favorite program. The variety of rowers makes it unique club to the club. There are new rowers that have just completed the Learn-To-Row program as well as people that have been rowing for over fifty years!

Where did you grow up?   I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest.  I was blessed to live on or near the water growing up, and much of my early life revolved around the Fox Island Yacht Club.  Just about every weekend was spent on a boat,  learning to row a rowboat at a very young age.   I have always loved the water. Though I moved to Maryland at the age of thirteen, the majority of my family still lives in and around Tacoma, Washington, and, thankfully, I still go home as much as I can.

How and when did you first get involved with Capital?   So many times throughout the years I would be driving beside the Potomac River or sitting in Georgetown watching the rowers. I was captivated by the beauty of the sport.  It seemed as though they just effortlessly glided down the river in perfect unison. I always tried to imagine what it would be like to be one of those eight people.  Four years ago, I finally decided I would learn to row and try something entirely out of my comfort zone. I sat down at the computer one day and searched learn to row and Capital was the first search result. The day and times of the learn to row program suited my schedule. Before I could think too much about it and talk myself out of it, I signed up. Learning to row is one of the greatest things I ever did for myself. Most of my friends and family said “you’re going to do what?”

What other sports and activities are you involved in?  Growing up I was not athletic. I became active shortly after graduating from college. I had gained a lot of weight and was heavier than I had ever been. I decided I needed to lose the extra pounds and live a healthy lifestyle. I lost sixty pounds and began to exercise.  Since then I have completed a marathon and a few sprint triathlons.  I have done numerous 5k and 10k races.  I found out I love to golf, and I love spin class at the gym and hope to get certified as an instructor this year. I also love to fish. I have been fishing since I was a little girl. I am the Women’s Master Angler of the 2013 Key West Fishing Tournament.
When you’re not rowing, what’s your day job?   When I am not rowing I work as a dental hygienist. I have worked in dentistry for twenty five years. My father still owns a dental lab in Washington state and inspired me to do dentistry.  I attended the University of Maryland Dental School in Baltimore.
What’s your favorite place in the DC area?   My favorite place in the area is not exactly local.  I spend many weekends on the Maryland Eastern Shore.
What motivated you to keep rowing with Capital?   People often ask why I travel the 70 miles round-trip to the Anacostia Community Boathouse to row with Capital.  Two reasons, the people and the coaches.  After completing the learn to row program I could not imagine rowing any place else, although I certainly do live closer to the Potomac. I have made so many wonderful friends and enjoy all of the coaches at Capital.
Do you favorite Capital moment?   My favorite Capital moment was having the opportunity to row in Michigan last year at Masters Nationals. It was an honor to represent Capital and meet so many other rowers from around the country.
If you could give Capital rowers a piece of advice, what would it be?   My advice to my fellow Capital rowers is simply…smile. There are so many variables in rowing that you have no control over. We cannot control the weather, the water, the  people in your boat, or people in other boats. Staying positive and supporting your teammates makes rowing so much more enjoyable for everyone. It is such a blessing to have the opportunity to row on the Anacostia River. When I get in a boat of eight or four and push off the dock, I leave all the stress of the day behind. Rowing is the ultimate team sport. When every person in a boat works together to send a boat down the river like a fine tuned machine there is nothing better. I would also encourage everyone to read The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown.
What are you looking forward to this year as a Capital rower?   My goals this season with Capital Rowing are ….
(1) Regain my first place Apple Pie status. I was first runner up last year and first place winner the year before, (2) Become the best rower I can be. I learn something new every time I row. You never stop learning to perfect your stroke, and (3) Encourage our new rowers to embrace this sport and love it  as much as I do!

Regatta Results: Capital Juniors at the Cooper Cup

Congratulations to the Juniors boys and girls who had a very strong showing at Cooper Cup in New Jersey on April 26!  This was the FIRST race for our novices after only a few short weather-interrupted weeks and past regatta cancellations.

The Novice Women’s 4+ won their flight by 10 seconds! The Novice Girls 4x also got first place in their flight by over 25 seconds and the Varsity Girls 8+ got 3rd in the FINALS! A great effort by the novice girls 8+! The boys Ltwt 2x got 4th in heat, Varsity 4+ got 3rd in their heat, Varsity Ltwt 4+ got 4th in theirs. Our novice boys finally got in a race and rowed hard by fours after only a few rows this spring season!

Thank you to all the parents, coaches, and rowers who made this success possible!

Program Highlights

  • CARP welcomes four new athletes this spring. CARP is still looking for a full time coach as well as assistant coaching.  Sign up to volunteer at CARP.
  • Comp Men & Women welcome five new members, including three new members to Capital Rowing Club. If you see new faces around the boathouse, say “hello!”
  • SAW is back on the water and has been putting three boats out each Sunday with about 8 new rowers joining the program this spring.
  • Club AM welcomes 10 new rowers. Also note that the Club AM practice has shifted to 5:30-7:00am. The change in start time will be re-assessed at the end of the spring season.
  • Club PM has 18 new rowers and has added Capital’s Ginger Hedgerow and Doreen Haney to the coaching rotation.

In case you missed it…

News from around our river, our boathouse, and our community: