Team News & Updates
Coach Grace Malacrida has been invited to coach at US Rowing’s Olympic Development Camp in July
where she will be part of a team to train and identify the next generation of junior rowers who could
represent the United States in international competition. Coaches in this year’s program will emphasize
high performance balanced with an effort to ensure that the young athletes enjoy the process and not burn
out before they have a chance to reach their full potential.
Enjoying the work of getting faster, trusting the process and the coach were the three main points Mile
High’s Maddie Lips and Kendall Chase made when they came to answer questions about their
experiences in the camp system. Along with MHRC alum Will Creedon, they were all invited to junior
camps and were chosen for national teams, medaling for the US in national and international events.
Kendall has just been invited to join the US Sweep Boat Olympic Team Selection Camp where she will
compete for a spot one of the boats going to Tokyo this summer.
Until this year, junior athletes were invited to one of three camps: the development camp, the high
performance camp, and the ID camp, from which selections for the national team would be made. Both
Kendall and Maddie arrived at the development camps without knowing anyone, getting the questions
familiar to all rowers from our region, “What? They have rowing in Colorado?! Who are you?” Maddie
had never even been in a boat before, her scores on the erg and the recommendation from Coach Grace
getting her the invitation. “I didn’t know what port or starboard meant, and when I asked my seat mate,
she said only, ‘We don’t talk in the boat at our club.’” Kendall also felt out of her depth that first summer.
“I was so new, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.” The coaches were intense and the competition was
fierce, to the point that many athletes would drop out before they made it to ID camp or, worse, quit when
they returned to their home teams. Both Mile Highers learned how to handle the stresses of the daily
routine of “rise, row, eat, nap, row, eat, row, sleep” and to pull their hardest, no matter what the
Coach Grace said, “This summer, rather than breaking them into different groups, all the athletes will
train together. The aim is to foster more of a growth mindset, and to see where the magic is.” That’s the
practice she uses when she makes line-ups for Mile High, trying out different combinations of rowers
until she finds the sweet spot in each boat, one where the rowers move well together and have the same
competitive drive. US Rowing has recognized her ability to make the magic and invited her to put it to
use this year.
As a Mile High Rower, Maddie won gold at junior nationals in the single; Kendall and teammate Alana
Bobka took home bronze in the pair. Mile High has qualified boats for nationals every year of its
existence, so Kendall and Maddie’s advice to “Do what Coach Grace says and trust the process” is clearly
a winning strategy.
Adapting to COVID: The Octoquad!
Rule #1 of rowing is “row together,” making it the ultimate team sport. But that truism also assumes everyone is actually in the boat, and COVID safety protocols forced Mile High Rowing Club to challenge that assumption. While different circumstances can result in pulling a rower out of an eight person boat, leaving seven to row, no known record shows any club ever having sent out an eight with just four rowers. On purpose. In March, Mile High bought an eight that could be rigged for both sweep rowing, (each rower has one oar) and for sculling, (the rowers have two). An eight rigged for sculling is much easier to balance, making it ideal for teaching kids to row. The plan was to use it for the summer’s learn to row camps, but then coronavirus hit. Eight rowers in the boat wouldn’t be able to maintain the 6 feet of social distancing required for safety. It wouldn’t work for the camps. But could it somehow work for the team sidelined by COVID? While there weren’t six feet of distance between each of the eight seats, Coach Malacrida measured eight feet of distance between every other seat. That would keep four rowers well within the safety zone, and if in fact the four, plus a coxswain, were able to keep the 55’ long boat moving and balanced, the team Mile High Rowing Club in a boat like no other. could get some summer training in. If that wasn’t a big enough “if,” it turned out that the sculling rigger on the bow seat didn’t fit-it could only work for sweep. Game on. It’s safe to say that no boat like this: four rowers in an 8, the bow and seventh seats are rigged for sweep, third and fifth for sculling.
MHRC Medals at the National Virtual Championships!!
Twenty-one Mile High Rowing Club athletes earned the chance to compete in six events at this year’s (virtual) Junior National Championships, the 7th largest number entries of the 51 clubs that competed nationwide in a regatta like no other.
Faced with the season-ending quarantines all over the country, US Rowing improvised a way to let kids compete for their championships on rowing machines instead of in boats. Rowers had to find the motivation and inspiration to keeping training and then to grind out their punishing 2k race from the loneliness of whatever space they found at home for their rowing machines by May 15. Mile High rowers sent their verified times to head coach Grace Malacrida who then entered them as she would in a live, in-person regatta, in single- and multi-seat boats. The 2k times of each individual in the multi-seat boats were averaged together to give the final times in each event.
Coach Malacrida’s rowers earned spots in single-, double-, four-, and eight- person events, and competed nationally again on June 12. Lulu Kahn, one of the rowers in the Women’s U-15 8+, said, “My family helped keep me motivated, and we’d sometimes do the workouts together on line.” Virtual training and virtual championship racing at its best!
Here were the final results:
Mile High Rowing Club has competed at Junior Nationals every year since its inception in 2008, bringing home gold twice and bronze once.
Seeking the Challenge: Four MHRC Rowers Head to College Rowing
Four Mile High Rowing Club seniors brought their college application process to a close when they signed their official offers. Recruitment has been a part of MHRC from the beginning in 2008, with graduates rowing for Yale, Harvard, Syracuse, and American University.
This year, Sarah Denker, Meaghan Miner, Etta Carpender, and Piper Robinson, accepted offers from Notre Dame, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, University of Texas, and Colgate University. Head Coach Grace Malacrida writes, “This is a first for Mile High to have four girls from the team who attend four different area high schools commit to four different colleges. Very proud of the girls and how far they have come in these past few years. Looking forward to watching them row in college.”
Why rowing? and why continue in college? Sarah Denker said she was hooked by the challenge of the sport, not just the physical, but also the mental toughness rowing requires. “College will take it to the next level,” she said. Attending camp at Ready, Set, Row this summer took her to Club Nationals, not only to race, but also to watch the college teams and meet coaches. That helped her decide where she’d arrange for tours. While being guided through the the boat houses, she got a sense of two different cultures in the different programs. One makes “every day a race day,” where competition is everything, every teammate represents someone to beat. The other fosters a more supportive environment, where “teammates are friends who cheer each other on” as they all work to win. Sarah found that she preferred the second one and so signed with Notre Dame.
Academics were just as important as rowing to Meaghan Miner, recruited to UMass in Amherst. “I could genuinely see myself thriving there both in the classroom and the boat. Rowing in college was always a bit of a no-brainer for me because I couldn't see myself giving up the sport. At UMass, I can see everything I appreciated about rowing back when I had just started out as a novice. From the intense and dedicated attitude of the team to the camaraderie among the girls, I feel it is a fantastic environment to continue doing something I love.”
MHRC Coach Olivia Kinet, the rowing recruitment specialist at CaptainU, offers these words of advice for athletes interested in pursuing sports in college. “My biggest tips would be 1) to stay proactive in the recruiting process - don't wait for coaches to reach out to you. Be the one to contact them and let them know you're interested. 2) stay open minded - you don't know what's going to happen, so it's always a good idea to keep your options open, and 3) don't be afraid to ask questions. Not only does that show the coach that you want to learn more, but also gives you the opportunity to see if the college/program matches with what you're looking for.”
Mile High Rowing Club’s success in developing outstanding athletes starts with igniting the love of a challenge, no matter what the level, and helping each one finding the way to achieve the success they’re capable of, whether or not they end up competing at Junior Nationals, on the National Team, or in college.
MHRC Rowers Haul in the Medals at the Denver Indoor Rowing Championship
Mile High Rowing Club participated in the Denver Indoor Rowing Championships on February 12-14. Congratulations to our rowers who saw the outstanding results of their winter training! Click here for full results of the championship. Click here to view the DIRC photo gallery.
MHRC places 7th in the Girls Pair and 18th in the Lightweight Girls 8+ at the 2015 US Rowing Youth Nationals
MHRC rowers qualified for the 7th consecutive year to compete at the USRowing Youth National Championship, which were on June 12-14, 2015, in Sarasota. Considered the premier youth rowing event in the United States, the annual championship draws approximately 1,500 rowers from roughly 150 teams across the country. Jessie Dobler, Rock Canyon High School, and Jade Thornton, East High School, placed 7th in the Girls Pair. Stephanie Li, Cherry Creek High School; Alex Bassock, Heritage High School; Meaghan Miner, St. Mary’s Academy; Adrienne Jacob, Regis High School; Lucy Schwartz, Cherry Creek High School; Carlson Given, Evergreen High School; Anna Scheitler, Mullen High School; Katie Kume, Heritage High School; and Lily Fordyce, Castle View High School, place 18th in the Lightweight Girls 8+. Congratulations Mile High! Click here for a Denver Post Article