Kendall Chase looks back at the photos taken two years ago at the University of California-Berkley rowing camp and it’s downright atrocious. At least in her mind.
“I was really bad,” Chase said.
But, oh, how things have changed since 2010.
A year after Chase and pairs partner Alana Bobka, members of Denver’s Mile High Rowing Club, won bronze at the U.S. Rowing Youth National Championships they outdid themselves, taking gold June 8-10 at Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn. They won the Women’s Youth 2 Final A division in 7 minutes, 54.675 seconds, beating out the team of Maxx Tanklage and Katherine Armstrong of Marina Aquatic Junior by nearly three seconds.
“We trained a lot harder this year preparing for that. Also, the competition this year was a whole lot higher than it was last year,” said the 17-year-old Evergreen resident and 2012 Mullen High graduate.
Chase also placed sixth in the Women’s Youth 4+ Final A individual race in 7:42.337.
It’s been a whirlwinded 12 months for her. Not only did Chase improve her standing at nationals along with Bobka, but she also competed with the U.S. Junior National team last summer in Eton, Great Britain. That is the site of this year’s 2012 Summer Olympics.
“It was really cool,” Chase said. “The reason they brought me there as an alternate was so I could see what racing is like on the international level.”
“She talented in all ways — physically, emotionally. She has a great sense of power, really athletic. A great athlete,” U.S. Junior National team coach Liz Trond said.
As if that’s not enough, Chase was recruited by Stanford, California, Harvard, Yale and Virginia before accepting a scholarship to row for Cal-Berkley starting this fall.
Chase will make a return visit to the Junior World Championships in mid-August. This year’s event is scheduled for Bulgaria. Trond said she wouldn’t be surprised in the least if Chase was representing the U.S. as soon as the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, if not sooner.
“I have a goal down the road to make the national team. At this point, I just want to row for Cal,” Chase said. “Four years is a really long time. I think my training with Cal will help me in the long run if I want to make the Olympic team.”