A persistent tailwind, hot and humid with a chance of rain and thunder every day. Those were the conditions at the 25th annual USRowing Youth National Championships earlier this month in Sarasota, Florida where the Saugatuck Rowing Club girls and boys teams competed valiantly against teams from across the country. Of the seven boats the team sent to the national championships, five for the boys and two for the girls, two qualified for the A-Finals, four for the B-Finals and one for the D-Finals.

The girls 8+ dominated the A-Final to win an unprecedented fifth straight title in the event.

In stiff competition, the girls jumped off the start, maintained a punishing pace and never looked back. They covered the 2,000-meter course in 6 minutes, 24.365 seconds, more than two seconds ahead of 2nd place Greenwich (6:26.781) and three seconds over 3rd place Holy Name (6:28.055).

The boys lightweight double finished 4th in the A-Final after finishing first in their semifinal race - the fourth fastest in the nation.

In the B-Finals, the boys lightweight 4+ battled to 1st place after missing a spot in the A-Final by a fraction of a second. The boys 4+ bested a strong field to take 1st in a tight race while the boys double took 3rd. The girls lightweight 4+ finished 4th after a photo-finish in their semifinal. The boys lightweight 8+ finished 5th in the D-Final.

“I am so proud of the whole Saugatuck team, the boys and the girls,” said Gordon Getsinger, Head Junior Girls Coach and Director of Rowing. “Just making it to the National Championship through such a hard long year makes everything that you’ve done all worth it. On top of that with some of the boys team finishing in the B-Finals and the lightweight double finishing in the top four in the A-Final it makes me think of how far the team has come and what great prospects it has ahead of it.”

“On the girls side, in the end it was everybody, the whole entire girls team, parents and coaches, that pushed us forward believing we can get faster together and support each other,” Getsinger said. “I’m so proud of the girls lightweight 4+ for their strong finish in the regatta. As for the girls 8+, it’s been a long journey to this point and they really poured all their heart and soul into every practice every single day to get what they got today. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

The USRowing Youth National Championship is the premier youth rowing event in the United States and sees approximately 1,500 athletes representing over 150 teams all vying for national titles in 18 boat classes.