Marin Women Capture GOLD at Inaugural USRowing U15/ U17 National Championship


9 Marin junior women traveled to Camden, New Jersey last week to compete in USRowing’s inaugural U15/ U17 National Championship. With no qualifier or past result to use as a benchmark the girls trained for three weeks after CJs in an effort to do one thing: despite the unknowns, throw down their best possible 2K and hope it was fast enough to be competitive at the National level. And that it was. The squad earned a GOLD medal in the Women’s U17 8+.

Stroke seat Claire Brockman says, “being able to attend the U17 National Championship was a very special experience. It was an honor to represent Marin in a race outside of our region with teams from different parts of the country - we did our best to represent Marin well. Going into the race, we had no idea what kind of speed we were competing against. With teams entered who we had never rowed with before, along with new lineups based on the age qualifications, there were many unknowns.  Finishing in first was a surprise, but we had put in so much work and it was awesome to see that in the results. It will be cool to watch this race grow in popularity and competitiveness from here. we will always be grateful for the opportunity we had to race this year.”

Teammate Gigi Alioto-Pier agrees,  “It was a very empowering experience to win an inaugural regatta, but at the same time it was nerve racking. While it was very exciting to be able to go to a national regatta after our novice year, it was stressful because we are very inexperienced with regattas of this caliber, so no one in our boat really knew what to expect.”

That great unknown is what we all fear. And to watch these young women walk shoulder to shoulder into this high pressure situation with such courage and grace was truly inspiring. It’s about all we can hope for as coaches. You work hard to develop your athletes in a short (but also long) period of time and equip them with the right tools. You aim to develop fitness, the ability to move boat, and as best you can prepare them mentally for the very competitive world of junior racing. And given all of the preparation and work it all comes down to that 6-8 minute race. You just hope that your athletes can actualize their potential on race day.

While the boat was mostly first year rowers, we brought in two first year Varsity athletes, Colette & Alex who met the racing criteria: under 17 years of age. Their experience and attitude brought a tremendous amount of confidence that proved to be invaluable on race day. In just three short weeks the new line-up came together in a remarkable fashion. The girls didn’t question the work, they simply got after it. I told the girls it would take a miracle to win which I guess, lit a fire within.

There are just some races you will never forget. And what exactly is IT that we remember? Gigi comments, “when I look back on the race, the one thing that I will remember most, was how before the race I wrote my boat’s initials on knuckles, and how although when I raced my eyes were closed most of the time, or focused on the girl in front of me so that I didn’t look at them once, when I went to splash the water after we won, I looked down at my hand in the water and saw everyone’s initials, and I knew why I had done it.”

And NEXT UP! The 2019 Youth National Championship. We will post updates on racing as it comes on our social channels… more information can be found here,


WOMEN’s U17 8+ Grand Final
MARIN 6:53.8
Greenwich 6:57.5
Norcal 7:07.2
CRI 7:14.5
Atomic 7:15.8
West Side 7:17.3

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