Sacramento State Aquatic Center Alumna Mary Whipple was back at the Olympics representing team USA. Though the U.S. women’s eight rowing team has welcomed three new members since the Beijing Olympics in 2008, they managed to win gold once again in London.
Whipple is an American coxswain. She competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics, where she won a gold medal in women’s eight, and at the 2004 Summer Olympics where she won a silver medal. While growing up, Whipple was part of the Sac State Aquatic Center’s Capital Crew program.
“The summer before our freshman year of high school, my mom suggested that my sister and I take a learn-to-row class at the CSUS Aquatic Center at Lake Natoma. We did, and the rowing coach for the Capital Crew junior program saw us and our size and invited us to go out for the novice team in October. I don’t know why we remembered, but a couple of months later October came and my sister and I went down to the aquatic center to give rowing a try. We got to actually row in the beginning, because there was a barge for the novices. However, as soon as we graduated away from the barge and into eights, the coxswain seat became home.” – Mary Whipple, US Rowing Spotlight
Capital Crew is the Aquatic Center’s Junior Rowing program. Since 1988, Capital Crew has offered competitive rowing to all Sacramento area high school student athletes. Annually, the Aquatic Center’s junior rowing program attracts an average of over 150 participants. The team trains from mid-September to mid-May and competes against thirty-two other junior rowing programs on the West Coast.
Capital athletes are consistently selected to prominent college programs and chosen to represent the United States in rowing at the junior elite, development, and international level. The program has introduced hundreds of local high school students to the competitive sport of rowing. Capital is considered one of the foremost junior rowing programs in the Southwest Region.