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Greenwich Crew Teams Take Nationals By Storm

From left, Estie Forstbauer, Jessica Bernstein, Brakely Bryant and Gillian Burke will be one of four Greenwich Crew boats to compete in the rowing youth nationals in Tennessee this weekend. Photo Credit: Eric Gendron
Greenwich Crew girls head coach Marko Serafimovski gives instructions to one of his teams at a recent practice. Photo Credit: Eric Gendron

GREENWICH, Conn. -- The members of Greenwich Crew have met just about every goal they have set this year, but qualifying four boats for youth nationals is beyond anything they expected.

After sending two boats to nationals a year ago and only one the previous two years, Greenwich Crew qualified a club record four boats after competing in the regional finals in Lowell, Mass.

Greenwich Crew will send the teams of youth women's four sculling boat with Megan Slabbert, Melissa Curtis, Sarah Reswow and Alex Slabbert; youth women's lightweight four sweep boat with coxswain Paulina Goossens, Gillian Burke, Brakeley Bryant, Jessica Bernstein and Estie Forstbauer; and youth men's lightweight four sweep boat with coxswain Janine Jay, Oliver Probst, Matt Lattarulo, Spencer Sands and James Doherty, to the youth national competition in Oak Ridge, Tenn., which begins Friday.

Curtis also qualified in the youth women's single sculling event.

Girls head coach Marko Serafimovski said the team has guarded expectations, but the upward progression of the program in the past few years makes higher goals at nationals a little more attainable.

"I'm really excited about this team and about nationals," Serafimovski said. "When we get there, whatever happens, happens. But we're really hoping to get into the 'A' finals."

Crew teams by nature need to work in sync, but Burke, a senior bound for Wake Forest, said this year's group has become especially tight-knit over the season.

"I don't think I've ever been on a closer team or a stronger team," she said. "Everyone has been working so hard. It says a lot about how far this team has come."

Part of the team's rise in the region has been a growing push to excel from the coaches and building teams that are dedicated to the sport, Serafimovski said.

"They have fun, but they put in a lot of hard work as well," Serafimovski said. "We have morning practices, afternoon practices and some weekend practices. But it's gotten to the point where I really don't have to tell them to do much. They really have started doing things on their own."

No matter the result at this year's nationals, Greenwich Crew is built for the future with most of the teams made up of underclassmen and a crop of up-and-coming freshmen set to join the experienced group next season.

"I'm looking forward to the next couple years," Serafimovski said. "Hopefully we'll be winning medals at nationals with many different boats."

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