January Race Reports

Single sculler Clark Dean. Photo by Lisa Worthy.

Sarasota Winter Erg Classic
Clark Dean, the 2017 world junior singles champion, is picking up where he left off. The first American since Jim Dietz in 1967 to win the solo crown, Dean, racing under the Sarasota Crew banner, powered his way to a first-place finish at the 2018 Sarasota Erg Classic at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla. on Jan. 13. His blistering 2k time of 5:54.1 put him in a different time zone from the rest of the men’s field, with Jeff Julian of Row Brevard turning in the second-fastest time of the day in 6:23.9. The drama in the event would ultimately come down to the battle for second and third, with Sarasota Crew’s Emory Sammons covering the distance a scant 0.4 seconds behind Julian. Sammons, like Dean, was a member of the 2017 U.S. junior men’s squad, sitting in bow seat of the seventh-place junior men’s quad in Trakai, Lithuania. Harrison Schofield and William West, both of Sarasota Crew, rounded out places four and five in Florida with their respective times of 6:28.7 and 6:32.5. The following three spots also belonged to the locals, with Christian Irving turning in a 6:35.1 and Maximillian DeWolf and Owen Corr pulling 6:35.8 and 6:38.7 respectively. Rounding out the top 10 on the men’s side was unaffiliated entrant Burch Baskett, who rowed to a 6:49.9. On the women’s side of the draw at Nathan Benderson Park, Julia Braz powered her way to the top of the medal stand with a sturdy 7:27.2, 5.6 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Caitlin Lynch of Sarasota. Sarasota Crew’s Lauren Feaster claimed third overall with a 7:53.8. Jenna Frisch and Bethany Newcomb, also representing Sarasota Crew, finished in fourth and fifth on the strength of their respective times of 7:59.3 and 8:01.4. Following close behind were Sarasota teammates Madeleine Palmer and Lauren Andrews. Palmer covered the 2,000-meter distance in 8:02.8, with Andrews two seconds back in 8:04.8. Navesink Indoor’s Tassana Landry locked in the eight-place spot with her 8:06.4, while places nine and 10 belonged to the hosts. Leslie Evans and Alexis Naguib, both of Sarasota Crew, posted times of 8:08.5 and 8:09.4 respectively. Eighty-five athletes in all took part in the annual indoor contest in Florida, one of the earliest events on the winter competitive calendar.

2017 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge
The Four Oarsmen, a British boat comprised of rowers George Biggar, Peter Robinson, Stuart Watts, and Richard Taylor were the fastest finishers in the 2017 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, a 3,000-mile open-water race from the Canary Islands to Antigua. Raising funds for the charities MIND and Spinal Research, the Four Oarsmen completed their Atlantic crossing in a new world record of 29 days, 14 hours, and 34 minutes. Second and third place in the four-oared event went to Team Antigua and Swiss Mocean in what organizers say is the closest finish in event history. The first four boats to complete the open-water trek finished within just 17 hours of each other: Team Antigua in 30 days, two hours, and 12 minutes, and Swiss Mocean in a time of 30 days, four hours, and 59 minutes. As the first and only Antiguan crew to complete the grueling trans-Atlantic campaign, Team Antigua were treated to a hero’s welcome when they reached terra firma. “We always knew it would be difficult, but it was a lot harder than we anticipated,” said skipper Eli Fuller in a piece on the Red Bull website. “It was tough. You’d be really cold rowing and your fingers are numb, the water drips down your chest into your pants and then after your shift you have to sleep in the wet. You think it can’t get any worse.” This year’s Atlantic Challenge also saw a record in the solo category. Dutch oarsman Mark Slats shattered the previous solo rowing record by five days, finishing in a remarkable 30 days, seven hours, and 49 minutes.