RCTW Brings Home Medals from St Denis and the Occoquan Challenge Head Races

Written by Marda Olson

Rowing Club of the Woodlands collected 14 medals at the St. Denis Head race in historic Natchitoches, Louisiana. Six clubs raced the 4,865 meter course on Cane River Lake October 6. RCTW came home with six gold medals, five silver and three bronze.
Gold medalists were: Sofia Glaser and Kate Bridwell in the Women’s Jr. 2X, Spenser Sakal and Michael Pineda in the Men’s Jr. 2X, Morgan Raggio, Sofia Afzal, Camellia Adams and Kate Bridwell in the Women’s Jr. 4X, Chandler Kennedy, Juan Van der Merwe, Spenser Sakal, and Roan Dhanjal in the Men’s 4X. Lawrence Godin and Caden Mercado in the Men’s Jr. Novice 2X and Caden Mercado in the Men’s Jr. Novice 1X.
Silver medalists were: Morgan Raggio and Camellia Adams in the Women’s Jr. 2X, Chandler Kennedy and Rees Straka in the Men’s Jr. 2X, Sofia Glaser, Madelyn Phillips, Aubrey McGilvray and Molly Miller in the Women’s Jr. 4X, Patrick Roddy, Eesa Ansari, Michael Pineda and Rees Straka in the Men’s Jr. 4X, and Lawrence Godin in the Men’s Jr. Novice 1X.
Bronze medalists were: Molly Miller and Sofia Afzal in the Women’s Jr. 2X, Matthew Wainwright and Simon Bebak in the Men’s Jr. 2X, and Matthew Wainwright, Simon Bebak, Joshua Staub and Morgan McCoy in the Men’s Jr. 4X.
The day was rounded out with a gold medal in a Men’s Jr 4x – 1200 meter quads race by Morgan McCoy, Simon Bebak, Chandler Kennedy and Eesa Ansari.  While the race wasn’t on the schedule, it was official, and the two teams fought well for their medals after one had experienced equipment damage in the head race and was unable to finish earlier in the morning.  Great races are made by teamwork and sportsmanship!
At the same time at the Occoquan Challenge Head Race on the Occoquan Reservoir in VA; Mac Nash raced in the Men’s Masters 2x.  He and Bob Reichart from Capital Boat Club of Washington DC earned the gold medal!  In masters racing it is acceptable for rowers to meet at regattas and row in what is called composite crews, or crews of mixed teams.
Well done gentlemen!

Texans Enjoy A Little Racing – Henley Style

The Sanchez Family, K. Torrance and A. Howell enjoy a beautiful day on the Thames River watching the Henley Royal Regatta!




The Henley Royal Regatta opened today with it’s third largest entry ever!  There are 565 crews entered from around the world.  Crews will be competing through July 8th.  All 5 days of racing can be watched right here:  www.youtube.com/user/HenleyRoyalRegatta.

A a strong American contingent of competitors are represented in the form of Yale, Princeton, Cornell, Washington and Temple universities.

Henley Regatta was first held in 1839 and has been held annually ever since, except during the two World Wars. Originally staged by the Mayor and people of Henley as a public attraction with a fair and other amusements, the emphasis rapidly changed so that competitive amateur rowing became its main purpose.

The traditional length of the Course is 1 mile 550 yards (2,112 metres),
which was the longest distance of open water that could be obtained in 1839 on the Henley Reach.

Keep an eye out as RCTW brings Henley Style racing to Lake Woodlands!



3rd Annual British Sculling School of Texas

Written by Marda Olson

Rowing Club of the Woodlands hosted its 3rd Annual Development Camp or British Sculling School of Texas for both Youth and Adult rowers on Lake Woodlands June 14-19. The six-day camp included two sessions a day covering skills in Sculling. It’s the only rowing camp in our area of its kind. Featuring individual instruction from Coach Ian Howell, a renowned and elite British rowing coach from the UK. The last day of camp highlighted skills learned and provided students with the opportunity to race against each other. “Every summer it just gets better” said junior rower Michael Pineda. “I learned so much from Coach Howell and can hardly wait to compete for RCTW this fall!”

The partnership between RCTW and Coach Howell will continue with a second session this summer in August. “It has become something our adults and kids look forward to all year” Coach Dee said. “We anticipate a long, worthwhile partnership with Coach Howell. One that will continue to provide excellent, safe, rewarding and technical instruction on a personal level.”

The success of the camp is based largely on the experience of Coach Howell, RCTW Coach Dee Hotop, and assistant Coach Joe Flynn. Their combined experience includes over 50 years of rowing knowledge and expertise. This year we are excited to add the expertise of more coaches to assist our athletes! Grant Tribble of RCTW has joined our staff of coaches. As well in August, Adrienne Howell and Jasper Elliott from Oxford-Brooks University will be joining Coach Howell for the trip. “The more coaches we have, the better, more individualized training we can provide each athlete”, stated Coach Flynn. “The more individualized the training, the faster most athletes will improve,” added Coach Tribble.

Rowing Club of The Woodlands has brought rowing to the community since 1989 and is committed to sharing this great sport! RCTW is a registered 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation and offers an assortment of recreational, intermediate and elite rowing opportunities to the weekend rower and national-level competitor. It is located at the Woodforest Bank Boat House at Northshore Park. For information on attending camp in August, please call Coach Dee at: 832-510-7609 or check out our website at www.woodlandsrowing.org. All the details are on our calendar!

October 7-8, 2017 OCU Head of the Oklahoma

Our Fall season began on the Oklahoma River in Oklahoma City with a 2.5 mile course filled with bridges.  Besides it’s many bridges this course offers the challenge of the wind that typically sweeps down the course.

We faced some very strong and seasoned crews with a very young and novice team.  However green they might have been in experience, our athletes performed well!

Our women’s novice quad rowed by Avery T, Jennifer T, Morgan M, and Grace K brought home gold.

Our men’s novice quad rowed by Alex L, Roan D, Juan V, and Eesa A would not be outdone by the ladies, and also brought home gold.

The women’s novice four rowed by Avery T, Morgan M, Celeste and Jennifer T, and coxed by Grace K brought home gold.  The team enthusiastically embraced a time honored tradition of throwing the winning coxwain in for a swim!

This is a unique regatta in that it has 500 meter night sprints under bright stadium lights!  We enjoyed cheering on one of our athletes, Avery T who rowed with her dad Ken in a Parent/Child double event.  Our ladies also  represented in two quad events.

In the C Final Spencer S, Peyton and Riley P, along with Alex L took first place in the men’s quad.

In the Petite Final Jack S, Andrew B, Roan D, and Chandler K finished 3rd in the men’s quad.


Letter from US Rowing President Patrick McNerney

Dear USRowing Community,

As I complete my first three weeks at the helm of USRowing, I have been reminded of the passion and work ethic that make our sport and its athletes so great. That passion has been expressed in multiple ways and by many people in my short tenure. I’ve witnessed our community of rowers work tirelessly to help the victims of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey, while our devoted athletes prepare to represent the U.S. at the upcoming 2017 World Rowing Championships.

I am very aware that my first direct communication with you comes as our country and surrounding nations have been struck by multiple historic natural disasters. Our thoughts are with those affected by the recent hurricanes as well as those impacted by the tragic earthquake in Mexico. As all of you know, our members are always focused on giving back to the communities where we row, and I’ve been touched by the phone calls and emails we have received from our many members across the U.S. who are helping their neighbors begin the process of cleanup and rebuilding.

There are multiple examples that I can highlight, but the Rowing Club of the Woodlands (RCTW) best exemplifies these characteristics. Immediately following Hurricane Harvey, the club mobilized its high school and adult members to support cleanup efforts in the local community.

The outreach continues.

Hurricane Irma resulted in some of the World Rowing Championships team’s shipping containers with their rowing shells diverted from the port of Miami to Houston. Once again, the RCTW crew mobilized to help to release these containers that were stalled in the customs clearance process. This included unloading a 40-foot shipping container of 20+ rowing shells late Wednesday night onto a trailer destined for Sarasota.

We are fortunate that the upcoming 2017 World Rowing Championships will go on as scheduled. While Irma’s impact to the venue was less than it could have been, the event schedule will be unaffected thanks to the diligent preparations of the organizing committee. On behalf of the rowing community, I would like to thank the staff, volunteers and the local community not only for their tireless efforts to stage the World Rowing Championships, but also for their support of the international teams and the local community that were impacted by the hurricane.

Our athletes and coaches have continued their rigorous preparations and will be ready to compete and represent the U.S. proudly next week. Thank you to those who have opened their training facilities to teams inconvenienced by the storms. The University of Virginia housed several members of our displaced teams who had planned to travel to Florida early to prepare. This is just one example of many that demonstrates what our community is all about.

It is an honor to be selected to lead this organization. I could not be more excited to work to fulfill USRowing’s mission of providing excellence for every rower at every level. There is work to do, no doubt, and there is more USRowing can do. I attended my first USRowing Board of Directors meeting earlier this month, and I can assure you, your Board is committed to our shared success. I look forward to working with them. I am also looking forward to meeting many of you in the months ahead. Please feel free to contact me with your ideas, comments and criticisms. We will get better as team.

Rowers are some of the most committed, disciplined athletes in the world, and I’m going to bring that spirit to the job, working every day with the organization to make sure that we achieve success on the water in Tokyo at the 2020 Olympic Games, provide value for all our members and grow the sport.

Finally, if you have not yet made plans to attend the 2017 World Rowing Championships, I encourage you to join us next week in Sarasota to support Team USA. If you are unable to attend, please support Team USA by viewing the live coverage of the World Rowing Championships (full details will be posted on USRowing’s website tomorrow). We are also collaborating with row2k to make certain that we offer the most comprehensive coverage of the World Rowing Championships to our community.

Patrick McNerney

Happy Birthday Kennedy!

Silly Sting…

       Water Balloons….

                         Good friends……

                                           New friends…

what more could a young girl ask for on her birthday!?

Add in a try at a new sport.  End the experience with a race and some ice cream…..

We hope it’s got you dreaming of oars, rowing, and being part of the RCTW Team!


2nd Annual Omnium and Development Camp

Today started much like any normal Saturday morning practice…warm weather, calm water, and a bustle about the new Woodforest Bank Boat House.  Athletes arrived early to get their shells out and ready for the morning row, because today was special.  Today, they tested themselves against each other and a standard to see how well they could complete a set of tasks that would indicate not only how much they might have learned over the past week during our camp, but possibly show how well they may do moving into the fall competitive season.
This week we have had coach Ian Howell, along with his daughters Adrienne and Gabby visiting from the UK.  They are hear to help us develop our coaching staff and our athletes to row better and faster!  We have turned to the UK due to the discipline and organization of their coaching programs.  Not only do they begin their athletes much younger than is typical in the US, they also attempt to standardized what their coaches are doing throughout the country from the beginner level to National team level.


Under 14 female points winner: Sofia G







Under 14 male points winners:  Eesa A and Michael P






Over 14 female points winner:  Grace K






Over 14 male points winner:  Jack H








Over 23 points winner:  Bryan G


Thank you to all who participated in this years camp!  We are very excited to have been a part of watching rowers learn, grow and improve their rowing this week!  We have a very exciting fall season and year ahead of us!!!
See you on the water!

Getting Recruited To College

Below is an excerpt from an article about recruiting services:

3 Reasons Why Recruiting Services Don’t Work

0 Posted by Anastasiya

“You can’t determine an athlete’s character through communication with a proxy.”

An Unpaved Path

Going through the recruiting process is a vulnerable time for a family. The unpaved path is daunting. You don’t know what you’re expected to do, or when to do it, and there are so many rules. Undoubtedly, having no clear track to follow can scare even the most knowledgeable parents and athletes.

Up until recently, there were limited options out there to guide families through recruiting. The space has been dominated by recruiting services with questionable business practices that lock athletes out of their own recruiting processes.

Pay to Play

Traditional recruiting services promise to promote your profile to thousands of college coaches in their extensive network. All you do is fill out a profile, invest thousands of dollars in a “coach” or “consultant,” and the service takes care of the rest – and this is where things gets murky. Recruiting services seem like the perfect solution to remedy uncertainty. Seem being the operative word.

Recruiting services seem to take the guesswork out of recruiting. Recruiting services seem to have the athlete’s best interests in mind. Recruiting services seem to offer exposure that a family can only dream of.

Recruiting services seem like a no-brainer. So why the questionable reputation? Unfortunately, recruiting services are not as they seem. Here are three reasons why recruiting services don’t work.

The Recruiting Service Paradox

  1. College coaches want to hear directly from the student-athlete

According to a survey of college coaches by the ABCA, the majority of college coaches want to make communication through players a requirement of the recruiting process.

This is perhaps the most important reason why even well-intentioned recruiting services put athletes at a disadvantage. The recruiting service model contradicts what college coaches are looking for. College coaches want players that take initiative. An athlete that transfers responsibility to a third-party misrepresents himself as passive and unmotivated.

This goes back to the fact that coaches take a holistic approach to evaluating student-athletes. They want students who will be super teammates and superstars. A student-athlete’s character is a key factor in a collegiate coach’s evaluation. You can’t determine an athlete’s character through communication with a proxy.

At their core, recruiting services monetize fear.”

  1. Inflated Sticker Price

Recruiting services operate on a simple premise. A rookie recruiting mistake can cost a family a lot of pain. The cost of the recruiting service pales in comparison. This pitch preys on a family’s insecurities about being novices to the process. Recruiting services take advantage of a family’s desperation to navigate the process correctly. At their core, recruiting services monetize fear.

Families are manipulated into forking over thousands of dollars for an inflated service with no clear attribution of value.

  1. Relinquish Control to a Third Party

Recruiting services remove the athlete from his or her recruiting process. Relinquishing control is dubious when you consider that it’s to somebody that cares less about your future than you do. It’s ironic how a solution which promises to eliminate uncertainty leaves you even more in the dark.

And in whom are you entrusting your future?

Let’s recount how they work. Recruiting services hook families through enticing them to create a free profile viewable by colleges. It is only after they invest the time into building a profile that the families are presented with the tall cost of the “free” service.

The dishonesty doesn’t end there. Once they’ve secured a family’s money, do recruiting services deliver?

“They promised they would be there for support every step of the way,” said Sean Lunkenheimer, a former student-athlete whose family invested in two years of a popular recruiting service to help him run track in college. Routine check-ins were part of the offering. “I only heard from them once.”

“I would write with schools I was interested in,” said Lunkenheimer.

“They told me that the schools were not looking for someone like me this year, based on the events I ran,” said Lunkenheimer. “Despite the fact that my events spanned sprints, middle distance events, and hurdles.”

“It was basically a transaction.”

Here at RCTW, your future is not a transaction to us.  Our coaches are committed to helping you reach your goals.  To honest effort.  They know this sport and how to help you succeed.  They can help you select the college that is best suited for you. 

1.     Make a list of colleges you are interest in, why are you interested in each, and share them with your coach.

2.     Do they have the degree program you wish to study?

3.     Collect your school transcripts

4.     Have you taken the SAT/ACT?

     a.      If not, get the dates of these tests and start studying, ensure your test dates do not conflict with regatta weekends.

     b.     Which is more important to the schools you are interested in attending?

5.     Register on NCAA.com, there is a fee for this.

6.     Register on BeRecruited.com, they will attempt to set up a service, but simply say no.  They are used by rowing coaches and are reputable.

7.     Train to make your body strong, fit and know your sport

8.     Eat healthy to fuel your training

9.     Rest, the hours before midnight are the most important!

10.  Hydrate, if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.  The body needs consistent water input!

11.  Study

12.  Maintain balance in your life!

13.  Communicate any contacts that you receive from a college with your coach.  Allow us to work for you. 

14.  There are rules to follow in the recruiting process.  Allow your coaches to assist in making sure you get the most out of every contact, visit or phone call.