US Rowing Youth National Championships 2021
Sarasota, June 2021 - Founders Rowing Club sent all 9 members of its elite Dallas area rowing team to Sarasota this June, after a strong performance at the US Central Regional Championships. Founders competed in both U19 and U17 events this year, after onboarding a young team during COVID.
Senior Grace Knudson led the way coming out of her first place finish at Regionals in the U19 single. Maile Nelson and Abby Evans also competed in the single, but at the U17 level. Both Knudson and Nelson also competed in the Quad, as well, along with Liv Weeldryer and Camille Egger. Finally we had Sophia Rhodes and Olivia Knight in the fight for the U17 national title in the double and the duo of Ashley Hall and Meyers Bell in the U19 Double.
After more than a year in masks, it was refreshing to travel to Florida where there was a little bit more flexibility than the team had experienced in Oklahoma City the prior month. With only two veteran participants in US Nationals, the team arrived early and focussed on success.
With temperatures in the 90's, the team ground out what they could. Coming out of the time trials Founders had placed it's U19 Quad (Maile Nelson, Grace Knudson, Olivia Weeldryer and Camille Egger) in the B final. Maile Nelson also placed into the B final for the U17 Single. Knudson's single and the U17 Double (Knight and Rhodes) were set for the C finals in their respective events. While those placements would not land the team on the podium this year, it gave this group of young women a good sense of what they would like to accomplish in the future. The team was humbled to place in the top 20 on the national stage.
One of the strengths of the Founders Rowing Club is the bonds that the girls develop through their experience developing as rowers. They take their sport seriously, but also enjoy each others company. They are there to celebrate each other's victories and to console one another when the results are less than expected.
US Nationals marks the end of the Spring Rowing Season and for some, the end of their youth rowing career. Founders athletes and parents shed more than a few tears at the end of the 2021 US Nationals Regatta; especially as we said goodbye to Senior, Grace Knudson, who let the team as the only returning Senior this year. We look forward to seeing what our underclassmen will have in store for us in the future.