Varsity Pair Rows to Gold at Dad Vail Regatta
IN ITS FIRST NATIONAL championship race, the women's varsity pair crew shell from Seattle Pacific University captured the gold medal. Trisha Sawatsky teamed with fellow senior Kimberly Tschetter to beat the nearest competitor by a full 10 seconds at the 64th annual Dad Vail Regatta on the Schuykill River in Pennsylvania on May 11.
"Due to injuries during the season," says Head Coach Keith Jefferson, "it was clear that we couldn't get a varsity four team together, so we decided to pursue the best varsity pair we could." The duo turned out to be the best of the best. Though Sawatsky and Tschetter struggled to work as a team at first, by the end of the season they were an unbeaten pair at 7-0.
Seniors Kimberly Tschetter (second from left) and Trisha Sawatsky (second from right) won the Western International Rowing Association Championship in Folsom, California, en route to Dad Vail. They are pictured here after the event with (left to right) Assistant Coach Josh Adam, Head Coach Keith Jefferson and Assistant Coach Jessie Pennington.
Tschetter was a member of the varsity four a year ago. When she first joined SPU crew as a freshman, she and Jeffer-son locked horns. "Kim was a thorn in my side," he laughs. "She didn't want to take orders. But something clicked last year. She grasped what we were after: teamwork. She's been an absolute joy to work with ever since."
Says Tschetter: "Keith demands us to be people of character before he demands good rowing. He instills what it means to treat people well, to be a beacon for God wherever you go, to have devotion to your team."
Sawatsky, a newcomer to nationals, was serious about the sport from the beginning. "Trish is absolutely locked on," says Jefferson. "She has a wonderful work ethic. It's positive to see her growth."
The most difficult thing about crew, both Tschetter and Sawatsky agree, is that it's all-encompassing. It's hard to get up for a predawn workout, and it's rough doing 12 workouts a week. "I could have gotten into a lot of different activities at SPU," says Sawatsky, "but I knew that if I joined crew, I needed to concentrate on that one thing."
"It's the best diet plan, however," says Tschetter. "You can eat anything you want. I mean, anything."
On the day of the finals at Schuykill, conditions were perfect for rowing, with just a little tailwind. Jefferson told his dynamic duo, "You go out there and just unleash the hounds!" The two beat second-place Bucknell University with a finishing time of 8:08.1.
"It was an outstanding, solid win," says Jefferson about the pair's gold-medal finish. "It's the first time we've ever won a national championship with a varsity pair. We knew nobody could touch them if they had the right rowing conditions."
— BY MARGARET D. SMITH
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