RCTW Junior Rowers experienced a unique opportunity early February when fellow rowers from Denver-area Mile High Rowing club visited.

RCTW rowers spent the weekend rowing and socializing with a dozen young rowers. RCTW and Mile High are part of the Central Youth district, which is widely spread out. The visit gave the youth a chance to meet and row with fellow competitors outside the realm of a competition.

Mile High Rowing Club has 27 members registered for the winter season; a dozen were able to make the short trip to Texas. Because of the colder weather, the team’s body of water is closed from December 1 through March 1, MHRC head Grace Malacrida said. She wanted a way to reward her rowers with some on-the-water time after spending so many weeks just rowing on the ergometer.

Malacrida and RCTW Head Coach Dee Hotop have had discussions of getting the two team together over the years. The trip was the first time Malacrida took her athletes on a trip like this. She was surprised by how many boats the Woodlands team had as well as the great body of water it has for workouts.

She said she appreciated the hospitality of RCTW and hopes to return the favor by having the Rowing Club of The Woodlands go and spend time in Colorado. Coaches Hotop and Flynn are eager to see this exchange happen.

“This was an experiment for my team, and I hope to make this a regular part of our training,” Malacrida said. “The beauty of Colorado and the benefits of elevation training are undeniable,” Flynn stated. “We have a great deal of respect between these two programs and a long time relationship with the coaches, we will work to make this happen for our athletes benefit,” Hotop said.

The RCTW junior rowers enjoyed the experience as well. After spending the weekend with the Colorado team, Morgan, a junior competitive rower for RCTW, said he had a new appreciation for the amount of time this team had to train on water.

“We could really appreciate how lucky we are to be able to row on the water more months out of the year,” he said.

For Hotop, the visit provided a chance to focus on fun and making friends among the sport of rowing. It also was a way to train with a team that is successful in spite of a short amount of water time.

“Even though it was cold, we all had a great time,” Brooks, a junior development rower, said.

“I enjoyed meeting other rowers,” Eesa, a junior competitive rower, said.”The people were cool.”

Mile high was established in 2009 by Malacrida and parent volunteers. The highly successful club regularly qualifies boats for elite national competitions and many of its junior rowers go on to Division I rowing teams in college.