California Dreamin’

Is anyone else completely shocked by the fact that we’re more than halfway through June? When I started my internship almost 6 weeks ago, Youth Nationals, and really any point in June seemed lightyears away.

Youth Nationals, the national championships for both high school and junior club programs was held this past weekend in Rancho Cordova, California and it was by far my favorite of the regattas I’ve worked so far this summer.

Obviously, I was BEYOND excited for the trip to California, but I have to say it blew away any and all expectations I had. Although I had to wake up at 4am to make our flight to Sacramento, the In-n-Out burgers we had for lunch once landing definitely made up for it.

double-double, animal style

double-double, animal style

The 2014 USRowing Youth Nationals were held at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center, on Lake Natoma. This course is said to be one of the best in the country, and it definitely lived up to the hype.

We arrived at the course Wednesday afternoon and spent a few hours walking the course, setting up everything for racing and just taking in the perfection of California.

view of the finish line from the registration tent

view of the finish line from the registration tent

I spent most of Thursday manning the boat scales, which proved to be a very interesting experience. The USRowing rules of rowing state specific minimum weights for each specific boat class. As is expected at a national championship, coaches will do almost anything to make their boat as close to that weight as possible, even though the fractions of kilograms (we use metric in rowing) rarely make a difference in the race results. While manning the scales I saw coaches take off pieces of the boat, add weight plates or just deny the weight the scale was reading. IMG_7479 copy

Racing began Friday morning, with a salute to America and heats. Saturday morning was reps, Saturday afternoon semis and finals on Sunday. My main task for the weekend was coordinating the awards ceremonies, which took place throughout the day on Sunday.

working the registration desk

working the registration desk

Medals are awarded for first through third place, with trophies going to the first place finishers. There are two particularly interesting things about these trophies: first, they are rotating trophies, meaning the winning crew only keeps the trophy for the year then must return it before next year’s Youth Nationals. Prior to the start of Youth Nationals, I sent quite a few emails to track down these trophies. And second, most of the 18 trophies are a glass cup placed on top of a wooden base. This means the trophy comes apart. Unfortunately, one winning crew forgot the trophy came in pieces and the glass cup ended up on the ground. Contrary to my best guess, the cup bounced rather than shattered. Very impressive.

Spending Sunday afternoon with my toes in beautiful Lake Natoma was the perfect ending to a great weekend of racing. IMG_3440 copy

Up next: U23 / Senior World Trials, Elite Nationals and NEMA Masters. All in the same week!