Eric Houston ‘80 of the Kent Science Department and head coach of the Boys’ Crew is coaching the US Junior Men’s National Team. They are training at Kent and will then travel to Dorney Lake in Windsor, England to compete in the 2011 World Rowing Junior Championships. Dorney Lake is the home of the Eton College Rowing Center which next summer will be the venue for Rowing at the Olympic Summer Games.
Eric has been coaching Kent’s rowing program since 1984 and participated in it as a rower for all four of his years as a student. With three decades of experience at the highest levels of youth rowing, he seems the perfect choice. When asked what made it happen this year, Eric laughed. “The people at US Rowing asked me the same thing when they called to ask me to become part of the team – how come you’ve never put your name in? Frankly, I just didn’t think about it. We’ve been fortunate with our Kent crews and, particularly in recent years, we’ve often been competing at Henley, so my July’s have been pretty busy.”
The team has been enjoying the facilities at Kent – the separate boat house and Rowing Center, the athletic facilities, and that the river is right at their doorstep. “We’re so lucky here. I never take that for granted,” added Eric, “but seeing it through the eyes of these young men from across the country makes me appreciate Kent even more… It’s also been a great opportunity to work with the other coaches. We bounce ideas off one another and collaborate on drills and technique – it’s been a great experience!”
The selection camp began with 44 young men, including Kent’s own Alex Perkins ’11. According to US Rowing, the team is for young men “who have birthdays in 1994 or later that have demonstrated the ability to compete at a high level.” After two weeks, the number was cut to 26. Following another ten days the final cuts were made to fill an eight, a coxed four and straight four, a pair and a spare pair. Perkins is among those who gained a spot in the group that’s going to the World Junior Championship. Some of the rowers who did not make the Junior National Team will still have plenty to do this summer as they join the Junior Worlds Development Team. These young men will go on to Berlin Germany to scrimmage with the German Junior Nationals there.
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