By Matthew Johnson
From June 10-11, five Cubs will row as part of the Marina Aquatic Center (MAC) Rowing Club in the Junior National Championships of Rowing at Lake Mercer in West Windsor Township, N.J.
Seniors Thomas Dameris, Chas Burton-Callegari and Patrick Liddy, along with juniors Max Goldman, Matt Skidmore and Tim Gutieras, the alternate for the team, led a lightweight boat that qualified for nationals by securing a third place finish in the regional championships on Lake Natoma in Sacramento on May 8.
MAC Rowing is a rowing club team composed of high school athletes of novice, or first year, and varsity, all years after novice, skill levels. The club is based at the University of California, Los Angeles Marina Aquatic Center in Marina del Rey, where the teams of varying experience levels practice multiple times a week.
The club has both men’s and women’s rowing teams. Within the respective gender sectors, each gender has four teams of rowers. The first tier of rowers are the novice rowers who are all first-year athletes that are learning the sport for the first time. The second tier is varsity, which itself has three divisions as well. Rowers are assigned to boats that reflect their ability. The varsity tier consists of the varsity boat, which has the first eight best rowers; the junior varsity boat, which has the next eight best rowers; and the “3V” boat, which has the last eight best rowers.
The boat that will represent the Cubs at the Junior National Championships is unique in that it is in a category of its own. The boat is a lightweight boat, in which the rowers must be 150 pounds or less on race day. Skidmore said, “Some of the guys have had to do sweat runs in sweat suits and others have to do diets [to lose weight].”
According to Skidmore, the team is poised to capture a strong finish after its underdog podium finish in the Southwest Regional Championship at Lake Natoma. The team finished third, beating its previous finishes by multiple places with a time of 6:08, one second off the second place finisher. With multiple weeks left of practice, Skidmore said, “We feel really confident about going into Nationals with all the momentum we have right now. After the underdog [podium finish]that we had, I know that the team and I believe we can repeat that victory, but this time on a bigger stage.”
The team has three more weeks of training before the season finale at Lake Mercer.