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:

Quick Catch: April 2015

Nhat’s Note

A word from our Club President…

Now that the boathouse as officially opened, I hope you all have had an opportunity to enjoy being on the water.  I would like to thank everyone for your patience as we transition into the new registration system and especially to Kirsten Spittel, Georgia Bullen, and Harlan Trevithick for their efforts in setting up registration. (Register for the 2015 season here)This newsletter is packed full of important items about the boathouse and the club, so be sure to read (…or skim) to the very end.
Happy rowing!
Nhat Nguyen

Graphic by Emily Crowley

Upcoming Events

April 19, 2pm – Board Meeting, Erg Room (1900 M St., SE)

April 25, 11-2pmBioswale work session / Anacostia Watershed Society Earth Day Clean-Up*

April 25, 12-8pm – Kingman Island Bluegrass Festival**

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

Nominating & Voting for Director-at-Large

Tom Crane, one of our Directors-at-Large, will be moving with his family to a different state. We wish to thank him for his service on the Board this year as well as representing Capital on the ACBA board last year.

The Board will be conducting an election to fill Tom’s position. If you are interested in this position, or know someone who would like to serve in this position, please email president@capitalrowing.org with the subject “Director-at-Large Nomination.” All eligible candidates and voters must register as a member of the club by April 20, 2015.

Schedule for nominations:

  • Nomination – Starting today and ending at 9pm on Friday, April 24
  • Candidates’ acceptances – due by 9pm, Friday, May 1
  • Candidate statements – due by 9pm, Friday, May 8
  • Voting opens – Friday, May 15
  • Voting ends – Wednesday, May 20
  • Election results announced – Friday, May 22
What does the Director-at-Large do? The Director advises and votes on club issues based on the best interest of the club at the monthly Board meetings. The Director also volunteers to lead committees and other volunteering efforts not currently assigned to a particular position.

ACBA Proposes Permanent Clubhouse Structure

On March 22, the ACBA Board, including representatives of the CRC Board, presented plans for a permanent structure that will replace the current erg tent and locker room trailers. The current plans are on display in the erg room and at the links below. ACBA is seeking comment from its 10 member organizations on the proposed Clubhouse Conceptual Design.  All clubs and schools must submit consolidated comments by May 1, 2015 
Please submit your comments here.
Color presentation                         Existing site plan

Proposed site plan                         Plans and Elevations noted



Volunteer Opportunities!

 Photo by Drew Saunders
QuickBooks Expert
Capital is looking for someone with Quickbooks experience to assist our VP of resources.  Please contact Bethany O’Neil at bethanyroneil@yahoo.com if you would like to volunteer.

CARP Volunteers

CARP needs volunteers to row with our athletes! Mondays and Wednesdays W from 6:30-8pm and Saturdays from 10am- 2pm. Sign up by emailing carpvolunteers@gmail.com.Social Media Help
Help us get to 100 followers on instagram (crcrowdc)! Take any good photos at practice? We’ll post them! Feel free to text them to 617-827-9940 or email to harlan@capitalrowing.org.

Fundraising: Graphic Design Help Wanted!

Capital’s Fundraising Team is looking for a volunteer with graphic design skills to help make our sponsorship materials look amazing! We’ll provide a draft presentation and materials, you provide the (more) professional and exciting look that aligns with Capital’s online and print branding. The materials will be used by CRC president and other members in presenting CRC to big money donors and companies. This is a great way to support Capital’s ongoing effort to fund our programs and events.  Contact Sarah Montgomery: montgomery.sarah@gmail.com.

Coach Spotlight:  Jon Clark, Club AM

Interview by Meredith Somers

At the end of practice, when your body hurts and your mind is tired, Jon Clark has one question for you – What are the rules in the jungle? Those who’ve bent an oar under Clark’s coaching know how to answer. “It’s just a way I think to trigger people to go at their maximum effort,” Clark said. “Some people might not realize how hard they can work or what they can do, and sometimes you have to be a little hard on people to make them dig in to a place they didn’t realize sort of existed.” For the past six years Clark has been helping rowers at Capital find that place inside themselves as the coach of Club AM. Under his watchful eye, and through marathon erg sessions, cross-training, and sprints atop the water of the Anacostia River, the club has developed from a next step for novices to a competitive team training ground.  And for Clark, the club has also helped develop his coaching style and expectations. “I don’t think I’m a big yeller anymore,” Clark said, “but it’s also true I’ll try to get under people’s skin sometimes to help them find another level of effort.”Clark is a Sioux City, Iowa native, and the youngest of five children.

In 1994, he left his working class family in the Midwest and headed east to Boston University. He arrived in Boston with a vague idea about rowing and considered joining the team as a walk-on his freshman year. But a scheduling conflict between his classes and afternoon practices prevented Clark from joining until Thanksgiving, when practices moved to the morning. “I enjoyed the exercising part, being part of a team,” Clark said. “I was kind of struggling being so far away from home. I was homesick, so having a team made the university a little bit more digestible, something I could get my arms around.” Clark also missed traveling with the team in the spring because he’d already made Spring Break plans, but after months of land work and missed opportunities, Clark finally got in a boat – for what would be a miserable first practice with a coach who was fond of screaming. “I promptly tried to quit,” he said. “I tried to quit a couple times. I thought this yelling stuff at 6 o’clock in the morning, like, I don’t need this. I just wasn’t interested in that. But he talked me in to sticking around.” Between his junior and senior year, Clark volunteered to help coach an adult learn to row program and, when a back injury sidelined him from a summer job moving furniture, he became more involved with the camp.

With graduation approaching (he left Boston with a philosophy degree) Clark also started to consider what would happen after school. “I was looking out in the world, wondering what I had learned in college,” Clark said. “I realized that there wasn’t much I qualified to do other than do some coaching.” Clark got his chance in 1997 when he started as the men’s freshmen coach at the University of Michigan. Looking back at those early practices, Clark acknowledges they left a lot of room for his improvement. “I was a serious yeller, I was a big time yeller,” Clark said. “My first class of freshman, I was doing a lot of belittling, a lot of hollering. I just thought that was what you’re supposed to do.” Realizing his own coach had perhaps rubbed off on him too much, and with the help of his assistant coaches, Clark decided he would get more out of his rowers if he kept the hollering to a minimum and encouraged them to be fearless, a mindset he’s encouraged his AM rowers to adopt. “Everyone’s going to make mistakes,” Clark said. “In some sense there’s also kind of a need to be free to make those mistakes and feel supported through that. If you’re just hollering at people … and get them in a tense place where they’re tense about everything, they’re not going to perform well.”

For the next several years Clark coached in Michigan and Iowa and in 2001 he was able to return to Michigan as both a coach and graduate student. “It was really neat because guys who I had coached as freshmen were seniors, so I got to see them through to a really cool finish,” Clark said. Business school and international travel would keep Clark away from a launch until 2008, when he bumped into former BU coxswain Gretchen Abell in the District, and she mentioned a coaching position for a club team. “I said. ‘I don’t have a car, I live very far from the boathouse, if you can figure out how to get me to the boathouse, I can coach,’” Clark said. “Thus began the whirlwind 4:30 a.m. pickups in Mt. Pleasant.”

Clark admits the job took some getting used to – launch issues left him cursing on the dock a few mornings – but Clark found his stroke with the club. “I just thought of myself as a team member with them in some sense, on a journey with them as opposed to I’m lecturing them, castigating them,” he said. “I think that we’ve done a good job raising the level and quality of rowing that’s expected from the Club AM program.”

As for what the future holds with the team, Clark said he is working on maintaining balance in the jungle – encouraging new rowers to join and continuing to push his athletes to new levels. “What I don’t want to do is soften the attendance expectation, because people are sacrificing so much to get to practice early in the morning. I want them to be able to rely on others in the boat sharing their commitment to getting better,” Clark said. “People just have no clue about what they’re potential is. They’ve done a certain thing for a while, there’s a little wall they need to break through or some place mentally that they didn’t realize they could go.”

Safety Corner

Alison Lenz and Gretchen Abell give the annual safety presentation at Take Out Day.
The Anacostia This month we’re asking coachs and crews to pay particular attention to tide schedules and the appearance of sandbars and other hidden objects.  As noted during last month’s safety presentation and in the safety materials, please be aware of the new sandbar just off our dock and take care when launching and docking.  Conditions often change while we’re out on the water, and wind and current can affect how much of an object is exposed.
IMPORTANT: Before you hit the water this spring, check out the interactive map, which highlights many of these obstacles.  Also, check out US Rowing’s tips for getting water-ready here.

Overheard at Juniors Practice:

“Life isn’t always good….only crew is.”

Meet a Member:  Meredith Somers

Meredith Somers (with Amy Sweeny at left) at Masters Nationals 2014.


Interview by Tom Crane

What Capital program do you currently row for?  The Women’s Competitive Team.

Where are you from?  I was born in New York City and grew up in Columbus, Ohio. I moved to the D.C. area in 2008.

What got you into rowing?  A few high school friends had gone off to schools where they picked up rowing and told me about the misery of waking up at dawn, hilarious novice mistakes, the giddy thrill of actually setting a boat and that euphoric feeling of getting a boat to run. It also just looked badass when I saw pictures and videos. (Full disclosure: It also seemed like there were a lot of attractive guys who rowed). So I had an idea of the sport, and a few months after moving to Washington, I started thinking about ways to increase my circle of friends and get out of the gym. I searched online in the area here to see if there was any sort of introductory class. Fortunately, Capital was one of the first links to pop up.

Why Capital?  I saw there was a spring Learn to Row session, which worked out with timing, and it was in the District, which I wanted to explore. And I could see there were other teams to consider joining once I finished the classes.

Did you play other sports growing up?  I was on my high school golf team and played rugby for a women’s high school club team. In college it was just random intramural stuff.

What do you like about rowing?  I like the intensity of the sport. You’ve got to give 100% physically and mentally – that’s a challenge but when you win a close race, or have a really beautiful row, you realize it’s worth the work. I also like the camaraderie. Some of my closest friends are on the team and they got to be that way because we’ve seen each other at our best, our worst, and our sweatiest. I also really like that I can eat two breakfasts and not feel guilty about it.

What do you like least about rowing?  Erging. Erging. Erging.  Also 2Ks.

What is the biggest challenge for you right now in improving your stroke?  My biggest challenge is maintaining a strong mental game. When I’m not tired, or we’re rowing at steady state 18, my stroke is long and strong. But it’s a whole other story when I’m exhausted at the end of a race or we’re at a 34 during practice. My stroke falls apart – I get short, I rush, the oar pops out of the water too soon. And that’s because my mind is telling me to stop. That’s something I’ve been working on for years, and know I will have to continue to work on it for years to come. Your muscles can remember what to do right, but that little (or sometimes loud) voice telling you to quit can totally mess up what your body is trying to do correctly.

Any advice for CRC rowers?  Never think you’re done learning. Don’t complain in the boat.

What do you look forward to in Capital’s future?  The club as a whole is getting more competitive and that’s exciting to think about for the future. Not only does it mean more medals for Capital but it’s more motivation for members on all the different teams. When I joined Club AM there was a distinct line between the club and competitive teams. That line has blurred over the years thanks to some amazing coaches and incredibly talented athletes. It’s also great to see how much progress has been made with the Juniors team. Every time I read an update on what they’re doing, I’m blown away by the drive of the rowers and dedication of the coaches and volunteers.

Any standout moments at Capital?  A few standout moments at Capital: My first dark morning with Club AM. I was so anxious and nervous to fit in. It was like the first day of school … if school started at 5 a.m. and floated.

Getting the email that I’d made the competitive women’s team. I’ve grown so much as a rower thanks to the coaches and my teammates. This past Masters National, I had a race in a 4+ that had a lot of odds stacked against it. We put everything we had into that race and won a bronze medal. That felt pretty sweet.

Then there are just the random moments that make me laugh or make me really miss the season during the winter: Post-practice Friday breakfasts, rowing in rain storms, finding a snake in the boathouse, regatta shenanigans.

 Overheard at Juniors Practice

“That tiny time every day when everything is perfectly in time and everyone is rowing in time and it’s magical. It’s usually when the sun is gold and it’s really nice!”

Tech News

Capital Rowing Club has a new website! Check it out when you have a chance and send any feedback to georgia@capitalrowing.org.
Also, as part of our transition to a new list system, you may have noticed that all of the list email addresses have changed. Please update your address books with the following addresses for email lists & program representatives:
Email Lists
Everybody: everybody@capitalrowing.org (only board can send to)
Program Reps
Jim Smailes & Mary Ellsworth, seniorandweekend_reps@capitalrowing.org
In addition to the new lists, you can now access the lists that you are subscribed to at this link: https://groups.google.com/a/capitalrowing.org/forum/#!overview and you can adjust your subscriptions to the lists if you want there.
Questions or need help?  Please reach out to Georgia (georgia@capitalrowing.org).

Board Action Updates

Membership Passes Proposed Bylaws: CRC’s Annual Membership Meeting was held following Take Out Day on March 12. As part of a Special Meeting, membership voted to pass revisions of the previous by-laws. The new by-laws approved by Membership reflect current operating procedures, maintain compliance with DC’s laws governing non-profit organizations, and include an amendment to include a presentation of the budget at the Annual Meeting effective 2016.
Board votes to reduce budget for Annual Gala: The CRC Board held its March meeting on Sunday, March 22. Concerned with budget overruns, the Board voted to reduce the budget for the Annual Gala to $5,000. This reflects a $1,000 reduction from the previously proposed operating budget.

Program Highlights

CARP is still looking for a head coach, but we are happily interviewing a few candidates. To be considered, please submit resumes and cover letters to harlan@capitalrowing.org.Juniors
Juniors have enjoyed their first days on the water and are remembering what it’s like to pull together. They have officially graduated from the barges!Novice Sculling
Novice Sculling will be offering two sessions this spring under the coaching expertise of Bob Reichart.  Saty tuned for registration details.Learn-to-Row 
Capital is excited to launch it’s annual learn-to-row program.  For interested parties, read more here.

Club AM
Club AM is shifting its start time to 5:30am.  Please contact the Club AM Rep with any questions:club_am_rep@capitalrowing.org.
Club PM
Club PM is adding an optional Sunday practice that will run 4:30-6:00pm. The Sunday-Thursday practice option will be offered alongside the Monday-Thursday practice when registration opens.

In case you missed it…

Photo by Leigha Caron

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


Contact Us

Got ideas for newsletter content or photos to share? Email us!

The content deadline for the next issue of Quick Catch is Wednesday, April 29.

Got Questions? Let us know!

Have any friends or colleagues who want to learn to row? Send them our way!

Quick Catch: March 2015




Nhat’s Note
A word from our Club President…

Welcome to 2015 and another exciting new season at Capital!  The Board and I have been working hard this past winter to implement some exciting items for the club.  We are excited to bring back our newsletter, Quick Catch, providing a useful source of information for you regarding the club’s various programs, events, achievements, and announcements.Capital has done great work as a community and we will be working to further publicize our accomplishments through engagement on social media, increased communication with local media outlets, and through a redesigned website providing easy to access information.

If you have exciting news to share or would like to contribute items to the newsletter or the website, please contact Christine Hammer for newsletter submissions at communications@capitalrowing.org or Georgia Bullen for website updates at webmaster@capitalrowing.org.

Nhat Nguyen



Upcoming Events

March 8, 5:00pm – Board Meeting, Erg Room (1900 M St., SE)March 14, TBD – Take Out Day/Safety Presentation/Members’ Meeting on Club By-laws

March 22, 8:00am-12:30pm – Competitive Team Erg Test, Erg Room (1900 M St., SE)

March 23 – Spring Season starts!

March 23-27, 5:20am – Competitive Team try-outs (1900 M St., SE)

March 28, TBD – Capital Rowing Club Picnic, Cherry Blossom Kite Festival*

April 12,12:00pm-4:00pmAnacostia River Festival featuring Learn-to-Row and Learn-to-Paddle through ACBA; Volunteers Needed! (Anacostia Park, across from the boathouse near 11th St. bridge)

April 25, TBD – Kingman Island Bluegrass Festival, noon-8:00pm*

*More details to come from the Social Chair


Fundraising: Cross Your Heart Ergathon

Erin Fenzel, Novice, sister of Anna Fenzel on Varsity, pulling for team Breath Takers.

February 8, 2015 set record highs for temperature (68 degrees!) and fundraising success for the Capital Juniors program. It marked the 2015 Cross Your Heart Ergathon Fundraiser, a day of meeting, eating, and competing to support Capital Rowing Club’s youngest members: our Juniors.

With a warm breeze, the smell of BBQ, and the sound of deafening cheering, our Juniors pulled hard on 20 ergs with family, friends, GW rowers, and Capital members to tackle a 25,000-meter rowing challenge. Sweaty faces and smiles permeated the room as parents and friends learned the effort it takes to row. GW athletes graciously agreed to be “rented” to help out the 20 teams, and club members, fit from indoor training, got in some exciting sprint work.

We learned how wide our support network extends. Before the event even started, supporters from 18 states, coast to coast, pledged $10,000 in support. Local businesses District Doughnut and Capitol Hill Bikes donated prizes for the winning teams. By the end of the event, we tallied $14,000 going directly to enhancing the Capital Rowing experience for DC youth.

Congratulations to all the teams that competed, thank you to all of those who donated and pulled some meters, and we can’t wait to see you next year!  For more information on the CRC Juniors program, contact harlan@capitalrowing.org.

Quotes from the Ergathon…

“I loved how much of a community atmosphere there was: everyone was cheering each other on, even if they’d just met their teammate. It was very much a bonding experience, and I loved that.” – friend of a Capital member

“It was a great way to get to know some of the Juniors and to participate in a fun, competitive, and unique fundraising activity.” – family member of junior athlete 

“It had a lot of energy and I love rowers!” – family member of junior athlete

“The competitive nature, teamwork, and enthusiasm of all the people – even when they were complete strangers to one another – or complete strangers to rowing. Also, that barbecue was the bomb dot com.” – junior athlete

“I enjoyed my portions of rowing. I realized that rowing, or at least erging, is a mental exercise just as much as it is physical because once one masters the stroke motion, it is simply a question of math: “how hard can I pull for how long”. I also enjoyed the team aspect of rowing, the support that all of my team members gave me while I was rowing was a phenomenal confidence booster that gave me the extra gas for a few hundred meter sprint towards the end of each of my rowing intervals.” – friend of a Capital member


Safety Corner

With the Spring Season just around the corner, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the safety materials posted to Capital’s resource library.

REMINDER: Each year, every member must review the safety presentation and view the US Rowing safety video before going on the water.

In addition to these mandatory safety items, be sure to check out the new, interactive map used by all ACBA clubs and the public along with the sculling course maptide schedule, and coxing tips. US Rowing also publishes a monthly safety feature — check it out here!



Mid-Atlantic Erg Sprints & C.R.A.S.H.-B. Sprints

Dammy Onafeko receiving his medal at C.R.A.S.H.-B Sprints

Capital had a large contingent of rowers participate at the 2015 Mid-Atlantic Erg Sprints and brought home medals in 14 categories.  See all the results here.  After posting an elite time at the Mid-Atlantic Erg Sprints, US Rowing’s Tom Darling – and really everyone at the event –  noticed our very own Dammy Onafeko and encouraged him to travel to CRASH B’s this weekend. With a full sponsorship from Concept 2, he competed in the men’s open LTA (legs, trunk, and arms) Visually Impaired category and took 2nd place.  In addition, Syd Lea competed in men’s open LTA Intellectually Disabled category and took 1st place.

Please congratulate all on their performances!


Program Highlights

A packed house for winter training in the erg room

CARPCARP is looking for a new head coach! The search is still on and we encourage Capital members to pass along the ad – and apply!  Read more here.


With fitness tests this week, we’ll see how much our Crossfit partnership has improved our athletes’ performance this winter. As we start to think about the water and plan our regatta strategy, we’re so grateful for the strong alliance we’ve created between our two organizations.

Competitive Men & Women

Comp Team try-outs are scheduled for March 23-27th with the first erg test on Sunday, March 22.  Please spread the word to interested rowers!


Capital Rowing Club is excited to launch it’s annual learn to row program. For interested parties, read more here.

In case you missed it…

CRC member, Allison Dixon, shows Thomas Jefferson how to erg at the Health & Fitness Expo


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