Long Lake rowers battle winds on Lake Superior

Pictured from left are George Abbott (OHS), Christopher Caryotakis (WHS), Peter Sherek (OHS) and Ben Esselman (WHS) in the Junior Boys 4x race at the Duluth International Regatta on July 15. (Photo by Gregg Sampson)
Fifty-one rowers from Long Lake Rowing Crew (LLRC) traveled to Duluth, MN to compete in the Duluth International Regatta on Saturday, July 15. The event, celebrating its 59th year, was hosted by the Duluth Rowing Club on the shore of Lake Superior.

There were over 300 competitors in the one-day regatta from both Canada and the United States. LLRC rowers, including 10 new Master (adult) rowers, were scheduled to compete in 29 events. The weather proved to be a factor in the event, as is often the case in Duluth, with wind velocity and waves forcing a last minute venue change.

“Due to high winds, they had to move the regatta location to Lake Superior. Rowing on a lake that size has its challenges and sometimes the race becomes more about skill in rough water than about true speed and strength. I thought our crews handled the high rolling water quite well as we are not accustomed to that. Unfortunately by the afternoon, the smaller category boat races were cancelled, so we are anxious to test out our small boat speed next week in Kenora,” LLRC head coach Sandi McCarthy said.

LLRC rowers placed in several categories at Saturday’s event:

• Master rowers Amy Johnson and Liz Luetmer took first out of 9 boats in the Master Womens 2x race.
• LLRC Master rowers John Mikkelson, Mark Gaalswyk, Jason Spiller and Nicholas Miller grabbed a fourth place finish in a tight race in the Master Mens 4x event.
• Natalie Steine (Wayzata High School), Anna-Maya Sipila (Orono High School), Margaux Bomsta (WHS), and Ava Winkels (OHS) placed fourth out of 18 boats in the Junior Girls 4x.
• Fourteen boats competed in the Junior Boys 4x event, and third place went to LLRC rowers Drew Mitchelette, Andy Berrell (both OHS), Sean Donlin (WHS) and Jack Marquis (OHS). LLRC rowers who took fourth place were: Ben Esselman (WHS), Peter Sherek (OHS), Christopher Caryotakis (WHS) and George Abbott (OHS).
• In one of the largest events of the regatta, the Junior Girls 2x event—with 23 boats competing—LLRC had eight boats competing and many of those rowers were racing for the first time.

LLRC youth rowers represent several area high schools, including Wayzata, Orono, Mound-Westonka, Blake, Breck, Chanhassen and Benilde St. Margaret’s. The team’s master rowers come from all over the West Metro, Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Next, the team travels to Kenora, Ontario for the Tops & Bottoms Regatta on July 22. This continues the season of eight regattas on the team’s schedule for the summer and fall 2017 season.

For more information about the Long Lake Rowing Crew, visit www.longlakerowing.org.