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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane rowing club springboard to success

Rich Landers Outdoors editor

Spokane athletes, from activities ranging from ballet to cross country, are finding new homes on collegiate rowing teams.

Jamie Redman, whose 6-foot frame always stood out as she lined up with the Lewis and Clark High School cross country team, sampled crew with the Spokane River Rowing Association.

“The Spokane workouts were very early, that’s the first thing I noticed,” she said, noting the 5:30 a.m. start time, “but they were almost magical out on the river with the sun rising. As I got better at it, the whole endorphin thing got going; it was peaceful and athletic at the same time.”

Redman’s size, strength and endurance caught the attention of several collegiate coaches as she applied to universities. The high school valedictorian chose Yale, where, as a freshman, she emerged from unknown to the varsity on one of the top 10 women’s teams in the nation.

“It’s a big leap from Spokane to collegiate rowing, from training three days a week to going every day, sometimes twice a day, and it’s all so much more intense, from strength training to technique,” she said.

“Even though I ran cross country and lifted weights in high school, I probably didn’t even work some of the muscles I found in rowing,” she said. “I’m repping my high school max bench press five times or more.

“I’m going to have to slim down a little this summer or my friends in Spokane are going to be afraid of me.”

Caroline Tripp, a Spokane ballerina, was lured to the Spokane River Rowing Association beginner classes last year by Redman, a high school classmate. As a college freshman, she’s found her place in the stern as a coxswain for a Northwestern University men’s club team.

“They do the hard work, while I sit there in an awkward position keeping them going,” she said. “You can’t get them off course because the North Fork of the Chicago River where we train is incredibly polluted. If you fell in it’s like you’d need an instant tetanus shot. It’s disgusting.”

Tripp is a model coxswain: assertive, articulate, 112 pounds and 5-feet-1 1/2 inches tall. “Be sure to include that half-inch,” she said.

“Physically, my life is easy,” she continued. “I don’t lift and workout. But a coxswain has to build a relationship with the rowers. You have to get to know what they need to hear. You’re the person who gets them through the race.

“Rowers move the boat forward, but you’re the one who gets them to pull harder when they think they can’t. I use certain phrases, tone of voice and intensity to get the message across.”

The Inland Northwest was well represented at the NCAA Women’s Rowing Championships May 27-29 at Rancho Cordova, Calif.

Among the notable participants were:

Redman, who’s No. 2 varsity 8 team placed second in the Petite final.

Lindsay Mann-King of Colville, Samantha Marikis of Republic and Amelia Whitcomb, a Ferris High School graduate, were on the Western Washington University women’s varsity 8 team that won the Division II championship.

Competing in Division III were Spokane rowers Mira Copeland for University of Puget Sound and Justine Scott for Colby College.

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