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Saugatuck Rowers Celebrate 2nd Place at Masters

WESTPORT, Conn. – Saugatuck Rowing Club lost a seven-year stranglehold on the USRowing Masters title at the championships, but coach Costel Mutescu could not have been more proud of his team.

Minneapolis Rowing ended Saugatuck's run, amassing 552 points to 488.25 for the Westport-based team earlier this month. The meet was held in Oklahoma City and Saugatuck had 33 athletes – compared with 80 when it won the title last year. So Mutescu knew it would be hard for his team to repeat. Yet going into the last day, Saugatuck still had a chance of overtaking Minneapolis.

"We're a small team, so we knew it would be a challenge,'' Mutescu said. "The whole team worked hard all year. We thought we were going to get it."

Even with a much-smaller-than-usual lineup for the Masters meet, Saugatuck earned 41 medals. They won 16 races, including seven women's races, five men's events and four mixed competitions. Both the men's and women's teams finished third in their divisions. The club's medal count included 16 silver and nine bronze.

The distance to Oklahoma City – Mutescu and his coaches drove 3,048-roundtrip miles to transport the racing shells – and the economy factored into the smaller team for Saugatuck. Considering those handicaps, Mutescu said his Masters athletes reached their maximum potential. "The goal this year was quality over quantity,'' he said. "We had some good races. I thought we surprised everyone. I think we made a name for ourselves in the rowing world.

Mutescu traveled to Oklahoma City with coaches Nicky Donea and Florian Tudor. His rowers included Julie Brown, Renee Bowie, Prenny Claflin, Tim Davies, Peter Derow, John Everett, Marta Flavin, Eve Green, Stephen Gurney, Jim Hagan, Kate Kislevitz, Mark Krosse, Larry Kurzner, M. Kurzner, Valerie Leinfelder, Ron Letzler, Sunny McLeaan, Bob Morton, Ted Mueller, Sue Padilla, Bart Pasternak, Vince Petrecca, Dave Raila, Pam Raila, Franklin Rubenstein, Pancho Ryan, Dan Schley, Martha Strom, Dobria Tudor, Liz van Turner, Ineke Wyngaarden, Bill Webster, Maury Wind and Kit Wise. Among the top winners were Pam Raila, Bowie, Padilla and Leinfelder, who won three gold medals.

It was the first national meet for Mutescu, who took over as the coach of the Masters program last year. "It's challenging, but I like challenges,'' said Mutescu, who was a 12-time member of the Romanian national team. "I'm trying my best. I hope I'm up to the standards of the Saugatuck Rowing Club."

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WESTPORT, Conn. – Saugatuck Rowing Club lost a seven-year stranglehold on the USRowing Masters title at the championships earlier this month. Coach Costel Mutescu, however, could not have been more proud of his team.

Minneapolis Rowing ended Saugatuck’s run, amassing 552 points to 488.25 for the Westport-based team. Considering  that the meet was held in Oklahoma City, Okla., and that Saugatuck had 33 athletes – compared to 80 when it won the title last year – Mutescu knew it would be hard for his team to retain the title. Yet going into the last day, Saugatuck still had a chance to overtake Minneapolis.

“We’re a small team, so we knew it would be a challenge,’’ Mutescu said. “The whole team worked hard all year. We thought we were going to get it.”

Even with a lineup much smaller than it usually travels with to the Masters meet, Saugatuck earned 41 medals. They won 16 races, including seven women’s races, five men’s events and four mixed competitions. Both the men’s and women’s teams finished third in their respective divisions.  SRC’s medal count included 16 silver and nine bronze.

The distance to Oklahoma City – Mutescu and his coaches drove 3,048 round-trip miles to transport the racing shells – and the economy factored into the smaller team for Saugatuck. Considering those handicaps, Mutescu felt his Masters athletes reached their maximum potential. “The goal this year was quality over quantity,’’ he said. “We had some good races. I thought we surprised everyone. I think we made a name for ourselves in the rowing world.

Mutescu traveled to Oklahoma City with coaches Nicky Donea and Florian Tudor. His rowers included Julie Brown, Renee Bowie, Prenny Claflin, Tim Davies, Peter Derow, John Everett, Marta Flavin, Eve Green, Stephen Gurney, Jim Hagan, Kate Kislevitz, Mark Krosse, Larry Kurzner, M. Kurzner, Valerie Leinfelder, Ron Letzler, Sunny McLeaan, Bob Morton, Ted Mueller, Sue Padilla, Bart Pasternak, Vince Petrecca, Dave Raila, Pam Raila, Franklin Rubenstein, Pancho Ryan, Dan Schley, Martha Strom, Dobria Tudor, Liz  van Turner, Ineke Wyngaarden, Bill Webster, Maury Wind and Kit Wise.  Among the top winners were Pam Raila, Bowie, Padilla and Leinfelder, who won three gold medals.

It was the first national meet for Mutescu, who took over as the coach of the Masters program last year. “It’s challenging, but I like challenges,’’ said Mutescu, who was a 12-time member of the Romanian national team. “I’m trying my best. I hope I’m up to the standards of the Saugatuck Rowing Club.”

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