Four women to represent SB rowing club in Europe
Four women from a Santa Barbara rowing club are heading next week to Račice, the Czech Republic, for the Under 23 World Rowing Championships.
The club is Mission Rowing, and the athletes are Ruthie Lacy (Oklahoma City, Okla /Oklahoma City University), Grace Beery (Seattle/Boston University), Grace D’Souza (Whitefish Bay, Wis./University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Isabella Begley (Moorestown, N.J./Syracuse University).
They qualified for the world championships, set for July 7-11, after a great finish recently at the U23 National Team Trials at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Fla. That’s where the athletes won the lightweight women’s quadruple scull with a time of 6:59 on a 2-kilometer course.
Head Coach Conal Groom said the goal for the world championships is to “go as fast as possible. Obviously we would love to be on the podium.
“No matter what happens, it’s a credit to these women’s character that they’ve been able to sustain their momentum during COVID and perform at such a high level in a year in which competition largely ground to a halt,” Coach Groom said in a news release. “In a normal year we would race up and down the West Coast in the fall, train in the winter and then spend the spring racing at national team identifiers and trials — and seeking out the best competition we could find. But this year, unfortunately, all of that was off the table.”
Ms. Begley, who moved to Santa Barbara to train with Mission Rowing, said she and her teammates are thrilled to be going to the world championships. “Representing the U.S.A. and knowing we have more speed to find is exciting and motivating!”
The women have practiced their rowing at La Cachuma. Other Mission Rowing athletes train there as well, and they include Kat Lord Krause, 16, of Santa Ynez. Kat is vying for a spot on the Junior National Team at Selection Camp in Chula Vista.
“What many people don’t realize is that not only is rowing an incredibly challenging and rewarding lifetime sport, there is also a ton of scholarship money out there for these kids too, which is a big deal when it comes to applying to colleges,” Coach Groom said. “It’s not like football or swimming where the odds are basically stacked against you from the beginning.
“In fact, three out of the four women heading to the World Championship next week are going to school on either full or partial scholarships — and we’re delighted to be able to introduce more kids and adults to this sport in the months and years to come.”
Coach Groom is a nine-time national team member, who finished 11th at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney in the men’s lightweight double. “Conal doesn’t give up on his kids,” said Mission Executive Director Carol Nagy. “He is immensely committed to their success, and whether it’s middle schoolers or the high school racing team or his elite, high performance athletes who come from around the country to train with him here in Santa Barbara, Conal invests a great deal of thought and care into each athlete’s development.”