by Tom Utescher
For several area athletes, a summer of competitive rowing culminated in a trip to St. Catherine’s, Ontario last week for the 130th Annual Royal Canadian Henley Regatta.
Jen Sager, who graduated from Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in June and has been rowing for Vesper Boat Club this summer, won a gold medal in the Senior Women’s Lightweight Eight, and finished third in the Under 23 Lightweight Double. A rising junior at Germantown Friends School, Ethan Genyk, was a member of Penn A.C. Rowing Association’s Under 17 Men’s Eight that finished third in its category.
His younger sister Rebecca, who will enter GFS as a freshman next month, was coxswain for a Fairmount Rowing Association Under 17 Four that included Tommy Walker, a Chestnut Hill resident and a rising junior at La Salle High School.
Another participant was Maria Georgiou, a Hill native who is about to start her senior year at Penn Charter. The PC sculler, who attended the Olympic Games in London and took in several rowing events, hurried home to race in a Under 19 Women’s Quad for Fairmount. Finishing third in their opening heat race, her crew was 1.72 seconds out of second place, but only the top two in each heat continued on in the regatta.
In addition to Fairmount’s Under 17 Four, Tommy Walker was in an Under 17 Double and an Under 19 Four, but those boats did not advance out of the heats. In the four coxed by Rebecca Genyk, Walker and his fellow oarsmen won their opening heat by two seconds, and took second place in their semi-final race to reach the finals on Sunday. There they finished fifth, registering a time of seven minutes, 19.99 seconds on the 2000-meter course.
SCH’s Sager, who’s headed for Trinity College, had a one-and-done experience in the Under 23 Lightweight Single in Ontario. She missed the cut-off to advance to the semifinals by eight one-hundredths of a second.
Sager fared much better in her lightweight double, where she was paired up with Alyssa Machida, a University of California rower who has been training on the East Coast this summer.
The duo took first in their heat by more than five-and-a-half seconds, and then won their semifinal race by a little over a second against an Argentinian tandem from the Buenos Aires Rowing Club.
In the finals last Saturday, Sager and Machida completed the course in seven minutes, 16.05 seconds to place third behind the Peterborough (Ontario) Rowing Club (7:12.45) and a twosome from the University of British Columbia (7:14.59). The Vesper double finished ahead of another Ontario crew, Buenos Aires, and an entry from New York.
On Sunday, the final day of the regatta, Sager and Machida were part of a gold medal crew, but this first-place finish took less effort than their third-place result in the double. In Vesper’s Senior Lightweight Eight, they were competing in a category with only three entries overall. There was no need for anything but a “final” race, which Vesper won in 6:40.16 over runner-up St. Catherine’s Rowing Club (6:49.72) and third place Calgary (Alberta) Rowing Club (7:01.74).
Germantown Friends’ Ethan Genyk had originally planned to race in three events at the Canadian Henley, but Penn A.C. decided not to participate in the U-17 Quad category. He did compete in a four-man sweep boat in the Under 17 Four event, but this vessel did not make it out of the heat racing stage.
The Under 17 Eight containing Genyk placed second to St. Catherine’s R.C. in its heat, which earned the Penn A.C. crew a trip straight to the finals early on Friday evening. First and second place went to St. Catherine’s (6:18.71) and the Oakland (Calif.) Strokes (6:27.19), while Genyk’s boat was next across the line in 6:30.62. Penn A.C. placed ahead of two crews from Buffalo, N.Y. and one from Washington, D.C.