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SoNo Rowing Crowned National Champions

Norwalk, Connecticut based SoNo Rowing competed in US Rowing's Club Nationals, taking home gold and silver medals.

Norwalk, CT, July 29, 2012 --( This was their moment. All season long, the training the SoNo Rowers exact each morning on the Norwalk River in Connecticut has been directed toward this race.

SoNo Rowing’s program won its second National Championship in three years, throwing down a dominating effort on the 2,000-meter course on the Cooper River in New Jersey. SoNo Rowing appeared in 5 finals and took home silver medals in the Women’s Quad and gold in Junior Men’s 8+. The latter is the penultimate race in junior rowing during the summer season as the race is used to determine the best and fastest crew in the nation, and this year it was the SoNo Rowing team. Equally as impressive: SoNo rowing is a team of less than 20 members and is the only club in the area to have won the event.

"We wanted to be gold medalists this year," said SoNo Rowing head coach Chris Wyant, who has now won two titles in the three years since he launched SoNo Rowing. "Everyone on the team was committed to that goal today and you saw it across all events."

Heading into the Championship race in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Wyant noted his team needed to have a phenomenal effort to unseat the other crews in the race. Despite coming into the final as the No. 2 seed, SoNo posted the fastest time in the heats and won its semi-final. However, its time was slower than the winner of the other semi-final race – a strong crew from Miami. Further, in the days leading up to the regatta, two members of the boat had to be replaced when one was diagnosed with mononucleosis and the other had a family emergency that required his presence.

Disadvantages aside, the SoNo rowers pushed the tempo from the onset. The boat quickly took a lead heading into the first 500 meters, with Miami chasing. Boats from Seattle and Washington DC were in a trail pack following closely behind. Control of the race was seized in the second 500, where SoNo used a powerful move to turn the slim lead into almost a boat length. Miami had now shifted positions to second, and the crew picked up its speed. Now the race was down to two boats and SoNo was not about to give way. SoNo rowed away from Miami winning the race by a little over half of a second.

"I woke up this morning with butterflies because I knew all of our hard work was coming down to today," said Channing Walker, who rows seven seat in the eight and will be attending Cal Berkley in the Fall. "This was my last race as a high school athlete and there were a lot of expectations ... We knew we had the skills to get it done."

The girl’s quad added to SoNo’s success with a silver medal. The quad included Wilton and Norwalk, Connecticut, rowers Robin Ritchey and Olivia Clark, both of whom competed with the Junior National team development camp and raced at Junior World Championship trials, missing out on gold during the last stroke of the race.

“We learned a lot on the course today,” said Robin Ritchey. “We definitely had our best performance and to miss gold by 0.3 seconds only motivates us more to train harder for next year.”

SoNo continued the weekend with Finals appearances in the Men’s Under-16 8+ (5th), women’s double (5th) and women’s single (6th). The team takes a hiatus for the rest of the Summer season, allowing members to recover and enjoy vacation time before returning to training the last week of August.

For more information regarding SoNo Rowing and its programs, please visit or contact the club at (203) 810-4848.
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SoNo Rowing Inc
Christopher Wyant

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