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Rowers impressed with Oklahoma City but could skip the heat

BY ED GODFREY Outdoors Editor Published: August 15, 2011

The masters women's crew of Marin Rowing Association almost canceled their trip from California to Oklahoma City for USRowing's Master National Championships.

For weeks, they had been hearing about the oppressive heat Oklahoma was experiencing.

“We were very nervous about how we would hold up in this heat,” said Muriel Martens, a member of the Greenbrae, Calif., rowing club near San Francisco.

The men's masters team from the Marin Rowing Association did cancel the trip from California because of the expected high temperatures and now must face the consequences.

Their counterparts are returning home as the top masters women's crew in the nation, scoring the most points at the Master National Championships, which concluded Sunday on the Oklahoma River.

“I am very happy we did not (cancel),” said Marin crew member Arlene Killpack. “It's been a big, beautiful regatta.”

The Master National Championships is one of five major events sponsored by USRowing each year.

More than 1,200 men and women from 81 cities across the country raced for four days on the Oklahoma River to win national championships. OKC RIVERSPORT racers won 16 medals in the event.

In addition to the masters nationals, which is for adult athletes, USRowing also holds national championship events for youth, club, collegiate and elite rowers.

Next year, USRowing is adding a sixth national championship, the Masters National Head Races, which will cover longer distances than the normal 1,000-meter races.

This is the first time the Oklahoma River was selected for any of the national championships, but it won't be the last, said Brett Johnson, director of operations for USRowing.

Participation in rowing is growing across the country, not just in Oklahoma City, Johnson said. Oklahoma City, however, is unique in its level of corporate sponsorship for the sport and its facilities in the Boathouse District, he said.

See all Heats and Results from the weekend Alternate Crop blog: Rowing on the River

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