Rowing Club of the Woodlands medaled in nine events at the 2021 Central Youth Championships. The event, held in Oklahoma City the first weekend in May, hosted 26 clubs from across the country. RCTW finished the competition by placing 3rd in overall points and 2nd in Efficiency Rankings. They were the only club from the Houston area to finish inside the top seven in either category! Texas Rowing Center in Austin won the overall points trophy followed by White Rock Rowing Club in Dallas. RCTW also qualified six boats for Youth National Championships in Sarasota, Florida this Summer.
Although the performance by RCTW athletes in OKC was one for the record books, the most impressive and inspiring piece of the story is how these athletes accomplished their goals. Since March of 2020, US Rowing set specific training rules and regulations for athletes participating in the sport. RCTW coaches also set guidelines for the club with safety a priority. "We were not willing to put our kids in danger for the sake of a competitive advantage,” said Bert Pineda, President of RCTW. RCTW juniors practiced at home for several weeks and then progressed to singles for months before moving on to doubles. “We’ve only had our athletes in quads for a short time and yet four of our five quads medaled. This was also the only USRowing regatta in our region this year. Very frustrating for our athletes.” said coach Joe Flynn. He added “This was the best performance ever, by our Juniors! I couldn’t be any prouder!”
It was an unusual year in many ways. Teams attending Central Youth Championships had to abide by strict USRowing Covid guidelines. Other Regions were also allowed the rare opportunity to compete in the Central Region because their championships had been canceled due to COVID. These clubs competed for times only and did not receive medals. Mr. Pineda went on to say “RCTW owes this year’s success to a great group of kids, our current coaches, Troy Howell, Joe Flynn, and Jackson Schwirtz, and a supportive group of wonderful parents”.
Now the team is focused on traveling to Youth Nationals in June and can be seen practicing during the week on Lake Woodlands. Rowing Club of The Woodland’s finished the Central Youth Championships with:
- Three Gold medals; D. Godfrey in The Men’s Youth single, S. Bebak and M. Wainwright in the Men’s Youth 2X, and J. Fruehwirth, E. Daugherty, M. Hinkle, and A. Ressler in the Men’s Youth Novice 4X.
- Five Silver medals; P. Collantes and B. McCoy in The Men’s Under 17 2X, G. Grimes and M. Lease in the Women’s Under 17 2X, M. Lease, M. Cronan, H. Donovan and E. Stevens in The Women’s Youth 2V 4X, P. Collantes, F. Andrade, J. Hippenstiel and B. McCoy in the Men’s Youth 2V 4X, and E. Barrass in The Women’s Under 17 1X.
- One Bronze medal; D. Godfrey, M. Wainwright, M. Pineda, and S. Bebak in The Men’s Youth 4X.
- M. Pineda placed fourth in the Men’s Youth 1X and B. Wray, E. Barrass, F. Andrade and G. Grimes placed fourth in the Women’s Youth 4X.