Dominating top boats from across the country, Westport’s Saugatuck Rowing Club Juniors brought home two national titles at the US Rowing Youth National Championships, June 12-14 in Sarasota, Fla.

The victorious girls varsity 8+ and girls varsity lightweight 8+ boats bested strong competition to take the gold, making Saugatuck only the second club ever to win both events at nationals in the same year. Also medaling was Saugatuck’s girls varsity pair, taking the bronze. The win at nationals by the girls varsity 8+ capped an undefeated year, in which the crew achieved the rare accomplishment of youth rowing’s “triple crown” - winning the Head of the Charles Regatta, San Diego Crew Classic and Youth National Championships.

“It’s an incredible accomplishment for a club to win a national title, let alone two, as we did at nationals,” said Sharon Kriz, SRC junior director and boys head coach. “On the girls’ side, of the 30 rowers we sent to Sarasota, 20 returned home with medals, and 18 of them will be returning for the 2015-16 season. We’re eager to continue our strong performances next year.”

At nationals, Saugatuck was widely praised for the depth of talent shown by the club. In addition to its first-place boats, SRC also sent a girls second varsity 8+ boat, unusual in that clubs rarely can qualify more than one boat per event for nationals. Racing against a field of first varsity eights, the second varsity 8+ crew clocked the sixth-fastest time in the competition and placed eighth overall. Also racing were a lightweight girls 4+ - composed of all first-year rowers - which won the C final, and a boys quad and lightweight boys double.

The SRC Juniors girls team is coached by Head Coach Chase Graham and Assistant Coach Gordon Getsinger. Also helping prepare the crews for nationals was Assistant Coach Reid Johnson.

“Our rowers have undergone intense, year-round training, many of our graduating seniors during all four years of their high school careers. It’s rewarding to send them off to college with gold medals and national titles, and we’re enthusiastic about the strong squad returning next year,” said SRC Junior Girls Head Coach Chase Graham.

New Canaan’s Genevieve competed on the winning Girls Varsity 8+ boat:

Lelia Boley, Westport; Genevieve Esse, New Canaan; Margaret Manley, Wilton; Grace McGinley, Westport; Alison Morrison, Westport; Lily Pillari, coxswain, Greenwich; Katherine Ratcliffe, Westport; Willemijn ten Cate, Westport; and Nica Wardell, Westport.