Summer 2018 Racing Round up


Summer 2018 saw a flurry of RBC Stripes streaking down race courses and collecting hardware along the way. Here’s a quick roundup of where your fellow Stripes have been and how they’ve proudly represented our club on the water:

US Rowing Club Nationals Regatta

RBC fielded 34 entries across 25 events at the US Rowing Club Nationals Regatta. 14 crews progressed to finals. Some highlights:

  • Men’s intermediate lightweight 2- (3rd and 5th)

  • Men’s senior lightweight 2- (4th)

  • Women’s senior 4- (4th and 6th)

  • Women’s senior 4+ (4th and 6th)

  • Men’s senior 4x (4th)

  • Men’s senior lightweight 8+ (4th)

The men’s intermediate lightweight 8+ came less than 0.2 seconds behind Vesper in a nail-biting finish for second place.

Royal Canadian Henley Regatta (Masters)

RBC fielded 25 entries across 20 events at Masters Royal Canadian Henley Regatta. 19 crews progressed to finals and 10 of these placed in the top three, including:

  • Women’s AA-D 2x (2nd)

  • Women’s AA-B 4+ (3rd)

  • Men’s AA-C 2- (2nd)

  • Men’s 4+ (2nd)

  • Women’s AA-C 2- (3rd)Women’s D double (2nd)

  • Mixed masters eight (D-I 2nd)

First place finishes included the men’s E-I 4+ with Elizabeth Bayne, Rudy Schreiber, Nikolay Kurmakov, Ed Frankenberry and Ernest Cook; the men’s D-I 2- with Ernest Cook and John Yasaitis; and the mixed masters 8+ AA-C.

Royal Canadian Henley Regatta

Following the Masters regatta, RBC fielded 53 entries at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta. 11 crews progressed to finals and 4 of these placed in their events, including:

  • Men’s U-23 8+ (6:16.74)

  • Women’s U-23 8+ (7:12.04)

  • Women’s 1x dash

The women’s U-23 4+ with Hannah Knight, Kate Maistrenko, Tal Gilad and Maya Hartleben (coached by Nikolay Kurmakov) won their event with a time of 7:20.84.

Q&A with the Men's Sweeps Head Coach, Tom Guncik

Tom Guncik

Tom Guncik

Tom Guncik is one of the latest additions to Riverside. The new men’s sweeps coach brings with him years of experience coaching collegiate rowers, and an exciting vision for the future of the men’s team. In her final job for the Communications Committee, Amanda Milad Cox checked in with Tom about rowing, coaching and how he came to Riverside.

How did you first get into rowing?

I learned to row as a freshman at Ohio State University. I had never heard of or seen rowing, but I followed my roommate to the crew meeting — thinking it was a fancy name for a debate team or stage crew — because they offered pizza and it might have been a way to make the largest university in the country feel smaller. Rowing that first year gave me a year’s worth of new athletic experiences along with supportive teammates, both of which helped me grow up and handle the stress of figuring out who I was.

And coaching?

I started coaching the freshmen while I was finishing my senior year at Ohio State, and got my first legitimate coaching job in 2008, a year after I graduated. At the time I was driving 30 minutes every day to a desk job in the suburbs of Columbus Ohio, and gas was $4.19 a gallon.

Then my former coach at Ohio State told me was he he was just named the head coach at Bates College, that the season started in a week and he was wondering if I was available. The chance to have a 10 month paid vacation in Maine seemed like a good alternative to what I was doing in Columbus.

10 months turned into three years at Bates as the men’s assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, and then I coached at George Washington University for six years.

As the new men’s sweeps coach, what are your goals for the team?

My short-term goal is to understand how the team and the club itself operate and to find areas where my experience can leave a positive impact. My long-term goal is to promote the team’s vision of providing a high quality, welcoming, and fun home for rowers who want to continue to train, develop boat skills and compete after college.

If you could coach any rower, dead or alive, who would it be?

When I lived in DC we weren’t allowed access to the boathouse one day because Michelle Obama took a sculling lesson. Coaching her would have been pretty cool.

How did you end up at Riverside?

After nine years of coaching in college, I wanted to see a different side of competitive rowing. I’d heard from a colleague about the position being open and had a meeting with Mike Farry and Graeme Calloway. I was intrigued by the character of the team and the competitive goals that the captains laid out.

How would you describe your rowing philosophy?

My philosophy is simple: when people I’ve coached look back on their time with the sport, I want them to be able to say that the experience created a positive development in some aspect of their lives.

Riverside Boat Club Sends Five Athletes to the World Championship

Written by: Annalise Routenberg

Kevin Meador

Kevin Meador

Five Riverside athletes will compete on two weeks at the World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Jillian Zieff and Jen Sager will race a lightweight women’s pair; Kevin Meador will represent the United States for the men’s single; and Hillary Saeger and Sam Hausmann will race in the women’s and men’s lightweight quads. All five athletes qualified for their spot on the national team 2018 roster at the U.S. Senior and Para Trials II in early August.

Jillian Zieff in stroke and Jen Sager in bow.

Jillian Zieff in stroke and Jen Sager in bow.

Sager and Zieff have been best friend and training partners for six years, since they first started rowing together at Trinity College. That relationship continued through last year’s World Championship, where they raced for Team U.S.A in the lightweight women’s quad.

This year, they won their qualifying final with a time of 7:28.11, well ahead of Vesper’s second place 7:36.75

They say this year’s win is a culmination of years of hard work.

“It’s been truly inspiring to be supported and pushed by the entire boathouse,” says Zieff. “It’s been giving us confidence and I think it shows in our performance at Trials.”

Keavin Meador took an unconventional route to racing the men’s single. Before winning his event to qualify for World’s, Meador raced in the fall of 2017 with the men’s sweeps team and won the club 8+ event at the Head of the Charles. Meador only began full-time training for single’s events this past year.

Following the National Selection Regatta and an injury that took him off the water for six weeks, Meador returned to the single two weeks out from Trials. Despite the fact that this was only his second sprint-race in a single, he won his time trial, his heat and came in second place in the semi-final.

Meador then won his final to qualify for Worlds at 7:02.59, more than a full second ahead of Malta Boat Club in second, and five seconds ahead of Vesper in third.

“I am very excited for this opportunity to race internationally,” he says. “I hope to do every possible thing in my power to make Riverside proud.”

Hillary Saegaer

Hillary Saegaer

In the men’s and women’s lightweight quads, Sam Hausmann and Hillary Saegaer raced composite entries at Trials with fellow lightweight national team hopefuls. Saeger has been training in a quad here in Cambridge for what will be her seventh World Championship appearance; she has already medaled three times. Hausmann has been training for his event in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Both quads were uncontested at Trials, but had to meet a time standard to qualify for Worlds. The lightweight women’s quad finished at 6:42.51, and the lightweight men’s quad came through the line at 6:11.61.

Building Riverside’s Facilities Future—A Phased Approach

Riverside’s aspirations for renovating and expanding our boathouse entail design, financing and permitting challenges that will take multiple years to realize. As we work on those plans, the aging of our 1912 boathouse continues and there are safety and operational concerns to be addressed now. The good news is that the current approach does not conflict with investment in our existing facility. We formed an Engineering Committee led by Board Member Neil Harrigan and Building and Grounds Committee chair Carson Burrington to define the projects and oversee their execution.

New Docks

New Docks


Caro, Carson, Paul Martin, the Engineering Committee and the Board have been working for several years to investigate and design plans for the next generation of docks for Riverside. Many hours of research, photos, drawings, changes to drawings, teleconference calls and prototyping occurred before the team settled on final designs and vendors. Caro led many of these efforts on the ground level and approved final production plans, from concept to reality.

Renee Lanza headed up RBC’s permitting/regulatory efforts along with creating an RFP which captured our specs for the new dock, a scorecard for evaluating vendors and set up a timeline. In April 2017, Renee and our team settled on a handful of reputable vendors to invite to respond to our RFP with proposals.

In January 2018, after several conversations with vendors, review of existing prototypes and installations and subsequent deliberation, the Engineering Committee recommended that RBC pursue an aluminum-framed dock with composite surface decking. Through RBC member referrals (thanks Jim McGaffigan!), research and the RFP proposal, they found an able partner in Row America and its manufacturing partner, Poralu Marine out of Montreal Canada. This program allowed RBC to also rely on existing relationships with Eastern Seaboard Concrete Construction and GEI Consultants.


A partnership was struck between the three vendors and RBC to remove, demolish and replace our docks with Poralu’s state of the art system tailored to the sport of rowing. Specifically, they divided out the deliverables as follows:

  • Poralu Marine & Row America – In-kind construction & replacement of dock and swing dock

  • Eastern Seaboard – Crane-removal, demolition and disposal of existing docks; complete environmental remediation of the site.

  • GEI Consultants – Review of vendor proposals, preparation of project materials for Conservation Commission, onsite representation of RBC to the Conservation Commission.

RBC received tentative project approval from the Cambridge Conservation Commission and DCR in February 2018. Final approval from the Conservation Commission and the DCR came on May 21 and the Conservation Commission inspection was completed on June 12, 2018.

Carson, Caro, Neil and Evan developed logistics for readying the site for the 70-ton crane and dock sections that arrived from Canada. Our club members chipped in and spent several Saturdays clearing out, cleaning up, and improving the downstream construction site. The sequencing of events for demolition, removal and installation was a coordinated effort. Carson, Caro, Evan and program coaches worked earnestly together to modify rowing programs as needed to accommodate modified schedules that week.


Our communications plan for the membership included three town-hall style presentations and daily email updates for the membership. The old dock was closed for operation on Sunday evening, June 17 and the new dock opened for launching on Saturday, June 23. On time, on spec, and on budget.

We have asked a lot from our members this spring in terms of flexibility and disruptions to schedules. The timing of both dock and slab replacements in the same year was indeed a huge undertaking. However, the sheer momentum of it all did carry us to the finish line with few regrets, and RBC is all the better for it!

The geese were the first to arrive of course, but we have plans for them too!

Riverside Hosts 6th Annual Stripes Gala


On September 16, 109 Riverside members, family, and friends came together for the 6th annual Riverside Stripes Gala. The evening featured both a silent and not-so-silent auction, a literal wagon of meat, and an opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments of the past while looking forward toward the future of Riverside.

Nearly 70 total donations contributed toward a grand total of $72,000 for the club. An additional gift of $25,000 brought the total to $97,000, a remarkable commitment from the attendees to the health and future of Riverside.

Donations will support the renovation of the docks, repair of the concrete foundations of the boathouse, the expansion of the facilities and boat bays and to continued support of Riverside’s High Performance athletes. To add your name to the list of supporters of Riverside, please consider a donation. Every contribution, no matter the size, makes a difference toward securing the future of our beloved boat club.

The evening featured a speech from 2016 Rio Olympic Silver Medalist and first year medical resident, Dr. Gevvie Stone. Dr. Stone spoke about her journey from high school crew, to Princeton University, on to the training to make the US National Team while simultaneously completing her MD at Tufts University. Her inspiring story is one of perseverance, commitment, and determination to achieve one’s goals. Thank you Gevvie!

Thank You Volunteers! The 2017 Gala was a smashing success and would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts of all the volunteers. Most of all, thank you Christine Higgins for your hard work planning the event and coordinating the volunteers!


Riverside rows for cider & syrup

The Green Mountain Head was raced on a beautiful Vermont day, there were a lot of RBC rowers and many of them did well.  Pictured below are some of the Riverside rowers with their prizes of apples, cider and maple syrup!


  • Alex Brown won 3rd place in the M1X 19-34 category with Joseph Hanna right behind him in fourth place.
  • Peter Morelli won 2nd place in the M1X 35-44 category with Mike Farry coming in 4th place.
  • Sean Wolf won the M1X 45-54 category (beating Russ Cone by .4 of a second!)
  • John Tracey came in 4th in the 55-64 category with Mike Bannister coming in 5th.
  • Ilana Zeiff came in 4th in the 19-34 category with Sarah Cottrill coming in 8th place.
  • Elizabeth Diamond came in 4th in the 35-44 category.
  • Catherine Widgery came in 5th in the 55-64 category (at 64 is relieved to move up to the next category next year!)
Lib and Pete, enjoying the regatta.

Lib and Pete, enjoying the regatta.


  • Sean Wolf and Peter Morelli won the 80+ category (combined ages, they aren’t THAT old).
  • Hilary Saeger and A. Cruz won the women’s open category.

Riverside athletes and coaches head to Sarasota

Riverside Stripes will be wearing Stars and Stripes at Worlds, and we would like to celebrate Judith Vogel, Tom Keister and Liane Malcos Keister for their dedication and expertise in launching these extraordinary athletes from Riverside’s humble boat club on the Charles.

Many thanks, members and friends, whose sustained programmatic support is critical to this effort and accomplishment. We are immensely proud of our extended Riverside family and wish them good luck and good racing. Go Stripes!

Men's Lightweight 4x, September 2017

Men's Lightweight 4x, September 2017

There are 19 current and former athletes and coaches who will be at Worlds.

National Team (Riverside alumni):

  • Lauren Schmetterling (W8+)
  • Maureen McAuliffe (W4x)
  • Elizabeth Sonshine (W4x)
  • Emily Huelskamp (W4x)
  • Nick Dawe (LM4-)
  • Andrew Neils (LM4-)
  • David Smith (LM4-)

National Team (Riverside athletes): 

  • Chris Lambert-Rogers (LM2x)
  • Peter Schmidt (LM2x)
  • Jillian Zieff (LW4x)
  • Brendan Harrington (LM4x)
  • Jack Ruske (LM4x)
  • Jacob Georgeson (LM4x)
  • Will Young (LM4x)

National Team Coaches and Staff:

  • Judith Vogel
  • Tom Keister
  • Liane Malcos Keister
  • Matt Muffleman (alumni)
  • Will Daly (alumni)

Three represent Riverside at US Masters Nationals

View of the race course in Oak Ridge, TN.

View of the race course in Oak Ridge, TN.

Masters 8+s.

Masters 8+s.

The US Masters Nationals was held August 17-20 on a beautiful cool river in Oak Ridge, TN.  The water temperature was about the only thing that was cool as the heat steamed up during the day, but cool breezes and plenty of shade made the whole experience a delight as all the teams rented spaces for tents on shore to watch the racing.  The weather and conditions were pretty much perfect though the sun was really intense as the rowers sat out in the boats waiting for the start of races.  Three mornings there was an hour long fog delay but the organization by US Rowing was excellent as 99 teams with over 3000 rowers participated.  Chinook again won the points trophy with almost twice as many points than second place, Texas Rowing Center.  Only three members from RBC attended: Sean Wolf, Nikolay Kurmakov and Catherine Widgery.  

Catherine Widgery racks in the medals.

Catherine Widgery racks in the medals.

Catherine again competed as part of a composite team of masters women from around the country and earned three golds: WF2X, WG4+ and WE8+ and three silvers: WF4X, WD8+, WF8+. 

Masters Nationals moves to Oakland, CA next year.

Summer hydration & nutrition tips from your local HPG rower

By: Peter Schmitt

Canadian Henley might be in the books and many of us are taking a well deserved break before the start of the fall racing season but the summer heat is still here in Boston. And with the higher temperatures and UV indexes, comes a greater need to pay attention to our nutrition and hydration so that we can keep enjoying summer to its fullest.

One thing that goes without saying is the importance of hydration. The main rule of thumb that I try to adhere to is drinking between 0.5 and 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. So for example, a 160 pound person should drink between 80 and 160 ounces of water. This isn’t to say that all of this has to come from water alone. Fruits and vegetables have water in them, as well as quinoa and other grains have water in them so you don’t need to be trying to drink over a gallon of water per day. (you might be spending a considerable amount of time in the bathroom if you do!) One tip for getting hydrated: watermelon is a delicious summer fruit and is 93% water. You can eat watermelon to your heart’s content, get hydrated, and not have to worry about losing your beach body that you worked for on the erg over the winter.

For those of us that still have races to compete in this summer, here are a few statistics to think about just in case you were on the fence about how important hydration is. Performance can be negatively impacted by as little as 2 to 3% body weight loss from sweat (e.g. 3-4 lb. for 150 lb. athlete) Additionally, dehydration can cause a decrease in the volume of blood being circulated in your body leading to your muscles not getting enough oxygen to perform to their true potential and exhaustion setting in earlier in a race. On top of that, your body is not able to flush lactic acid as effectively after a workout, leading to a longer recovery time between workouts. A general rule of thumb for how much water to drink before, during, and after a workout is 16 ounces or more 2-3 hours before a workout, 8 ounces 15 minutes before, drinking fluids as necessary during a workout, and consuming 16-24 ounces after a workout for every pound of fluid lost.

If you’re someone who sweats a lot, or even if you’re not, its a good idea to weigh yourself before and after workouts to see how much you sweat out so you can adequately rehydrate. Additionally, you may want to consider adding a supplement to your water bottle for consumption during a training session. Nuun and GU make hydration tablets that are easy to carry and add a tablet to your water before you launch, plus they come in all different flavor options so you can find one that you like best.

Take a look at the links below for more information on the benefits of staying hydrated and other tips as well. And if you have any questions or want a few more tips, you can come find me at the boathouse, chances are I’ll be there.