The 2006 U.S. Rowing Master's National Championships regatta was held Aug. 10-13 at Green Lake, marking the first time the Seattle area has hosted this major event. Several Kirkland notables helped put our fair city on the rowing map.
Lake Washington Rowing Club member Kari Page, who is the neighborhood services coordinator for Kirkland, rowed as an independent in this event, and in her modest words, "did well." Translation: two golds, two silvers and a bronze. That's five medals - and, by the way, she said she competed in six races. She diverted attention from herself again, saying that "Green Lake did an outstanding job - this is the biggest national regatta they've ever hosted - it's a small lake, and it went like clockwork."
The Lake Washington Rowing Club finished third in team points, which is no small feat considering the enormity of the event. There were nearly 1,400 entrants with 110 clubs from 26 states and three different countries. Entrants had choices of several categories, including eights, fours, doubles, singles and distinction by gender and age. (For full race results, go to www.regattacentral.com.)
Another Kirkland-themed group, Martha's Moms, brought home six gold medals, one silver and one bronze. And they are national champs in the E8+ division age category. (Translation: E is for the age group, 55-59; 8+ indicates a shell with eight rowers plus a coxswain.)
The Moms were established in 1984 and feature 32 active rowers ranging in ages from 42 to 77. The team is coached by veterans Aaron Kaufman and Dwight Phillips. Kaufman is a former national champion with the New York Athletic Club; Phillips - a local product - is a 1966 Lake Washington High School grad and was inducted in 2004 to the University of Washington's Hall of Fame.
So, the question is begged: what's with the club name? Smith explains, "The mothers of rowers at Seattle's private Lakeside School asked former Dartmouth rower Martha Beattie to teach them the sport that their children were learning. Beattie had just resigned as Lakeside women's crew coach to coach the U.S. Junior National Team. The women joked that they were old enough to be their coach's mother."
Subsequently, Beattie reportedly encouraged the Moms to change what Beattie thought was a "dumb name." The team stood fast. Beattie's husband is baseball's Jim Beattie, a former New York Yankee and Seattle Mariner player, and a Montreal Expo executive.
Smith wants to make sure that the Moms don't hog the limelight: "There are many, many rowers in Kirkland and the Eastside. And many who did better than we did. For example, we had NO competition in some of our older age group races."
Don't call them old Moms
Lynne Robbins, who has been rowing with the Moms since 2000, competed in three events, earning a silver and gold in the E8+ and E4+. Like her former teammate, Kari Page, Robbins redirects the spotlight away from herself. "The real Moms stories are related to the 'older' rowers," she says. According to Smith, five Moms rowers are in their 70s; two original team members row regularly with the club. And it's not just the members who are distinguished. Robbins says some of the participants competed in 70-year-old boats. "Unheard of," she adds.
For more information, see www.lakewashingtonrowing.com/marthasmoms.html.