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Lake Stevens Race

Updated: Jan 16, 2023

By Katie Franco

The crew of the Bogie: Jeanne Costello, Jim Buckley, Katie Franco, and John Collins, practiced every day for a week on beautiful Lake Leland for our “big” 1000 meter race on Lake Stevens.

Here is the best group photo from the week of practice:


The question arose: is it worth it to travel all the way to Lake Leland for a 4 1/2- 5 minute race? What do you Rats think? I bet some would say “no”, but we sure wouldn’t.  We all agree. In one week of practice, we drilled with pause drills and race starts and we practiced various strategies using long, slow strokes or very strong fast ones. Each day we did several timed races against our own best times, using a different stroke rate, split time, and strategy for when to settle and by how much. We occasionally got brief split times under 2:00, and stroke rates up to 38. We began to have a deeper respect for a 1000 meter race. The strategies involved are so different than those for a 7.8 mile row around Rat Island. We were working really hard! 1000 meters seems very far, indeed, when giving it all of our strength and focus, we quickly learned. After a good week of practice, we were ready to go!

Leaving our beautiful winter rowing haven.





We unanimously agreed on a start-up at a stroke rate of 38, and settling to 28, with another high rate sprint for the last 100 meters. With an average age of 71, our crew was the oldest by 10 years over the next “elderly” crew, so we also had a bigger handicap than other boats. The lake is beautiful, with lovely homes and docks all around. There were 5 lanes clearly marked with tiny floats, for 5 boats per race.


We watched 2 octuples, one with a crew from outside Vancouver, using a shell from Lake Stevens, and the other from Lake Union.



We had rushed to get there by 8 for the coxswains’ meeting, which meant getting up at 4 or so, and meeting each other at 5. (Still worth it? Still an enthusiastic “yes!”)  Then we had 3 hours to wait for our start-up. We met up with Dave McWethy, got our boat and oars ready, and waited. At 30 minutes before our race we were allowed onto the water to warm up. When it was our turn and we raced forward at “Go!”, we found it difficult to stay in our lane, but so did the mixed Canadian quad in the next lane. We also were immediately passed by the other boats in our race, so we were at a big disadvantage which only grew. John had his meter reader going. We had an average split time of 2:13. Not at all bad. Quite good, actually.  We had begun at a 38 stroke rate, as planned, and settled at 31. We found the lanes to be narrow and our aim not that great, as we often went one way or the other and had to correct. At what we thought was the end of the race we stopped because we heard a horn, but alas, we needed to get through one more set of floats. Oh, well, another lesson: coming in DFL is not all that bad. We knew we had rowed hard, strong, and fast– just not as fast as the other boats. We had a lot of fun. Do it again? You bet! Worth it? Absolutely! Recommend it? Most assuredly. Good day. Good race. Tons of fun.

Just to show you all how happy we all were after the race.


Update 4/15/2015

The Rats took second place !!!

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