By MIKE SMITH
Two local rowers will be representing the United States at the junior world championships this week, as Rye’s Melissa Curtis and Harrison’s Liliane Lindsay will both be on the junior Women’s 8 boat that will compete in World Rowing Junior Championships in Trakai, Lithuania.
Curtis, who rows for the Greenwich Water Club and Lindsay, who operates out of the Pelham Community Rowing Association, were both selected to attend the U.S. Junior National Team Camp earlier in the summer, and impressed the camp’s instructors enough to earn a spot on the Women’s 8 boat that will compete against the best junior crews in the world this week. Both girls—whose clubs have scrimmaged against each other quite a few times—possess a great work ethic, something their coaches both feel has led them to this place.
“Lily’s potential was immediately obvious,” said PCRA coach Guy Monseair. “But you can tell what sets her apart is her professional approach to rowing, and she has a real love for the sport.”
Marko Serafimovski, who coaches the Greenwich boats, said that Curtis’ frame first alerted him that he might have a future star on his hands, but that the Rye native’s work ethic is what sets her apart from other rowers.
“When I first saw her, you see 5-9, 5-10, she had long arms, long legs,” Serafimovski said. “But being a good rower is more about hard work than genetics, and she’s always putting time in before or after practice, pushing herself to get better.”
Serafimovski went on to say the selection of Curtis for the Women’s 8 boat is significant because Curtis—who was more versed in the art of sculling (two-oar rowing)—has been working on the adjustment to sweeping (rowing just one oar), which she will need to do in the Women’s 8 boat.
The selection of the two girls to the national team is a huge coup for the two local programs, one that Monseair believes will manifest itself in the aspirations of younger rowers.
“It’s fabulous for our junior rowers to realize there’s no limit to what they can do,” he said. “It’s like that saying, “a rising tide lifts all boats.’”
Though it’s difficult to predict just where the American boat will place out of more than a dozen boats slated to row, most believe that the Women’s 8 has the ability to match up with the best in the world.
“You don’t want to take anyone lightly, but they have a chance to medal,” Monseair said. “But there’s some stiff competition, especially from Romania and Germany. Then you have China. It’s not often that they send boats to worlds, so, when they do, people know that it’s usually fast.”