Three UCF Rowers Invited to Attend National Team Camps Over the Summer

May 5, 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Three members of the UCF rowing team recently learned that they were selected by USRowing to attend two different Women's National Team camps during the summer. Junior Samantha Sarff (Valrico, Fla.) was invited to the Pre-Elite Camp in Indiana, while Christina Bechtold (Somers Point, N.J.) and Chelsey Lauzon (Rockford, Mich.) both earned an invitation to the Freshman Camp.

"I am really excited that Sam, Tina and Chelsey will have the opportunity to work with National Team coaches and train with other top caliber athletes," head coach Becky Cramer said. "They will be able to spend more time sculling and rowing small boats, which will help prepare them for their National Team goals. All three have been leaders on our team and it is exciting for them to go to the next level."

Sarff, a member of UCF's varsity eight crew, was one of only 30-plus rowers to be invited to the Pre-Elite Camp, and will be attending one of two sessions in Bloomington, Ind., at Indiana University. The junior will have the opportunity to participate in one of two month-long sessions in Indiana, with session one taking place June 14-July 19 and session two to be held July 10-Aug. 10.

During her time at the camp, Sarff will have the opportunity to race at three different regattas, including the Independence Day Regatta, Club Nationals and Canadian Henley. If she is among the top two-to-four athletes at camp, she will also get the chance to race at Elite Nationals and, if competitive, at U23 Trials.

According to USRowing.com, the Women's National Team Pre-Elite Camps are focused on developing athletes who have the potential to contribute to future national teams, U23 and senior. The goal of these camps is to introduce and develop sculling, improve technically focusing on small boats, gain fitness and increase strength to weight ratio, and acquire skills necessary to compete at the elite level. These camps provide a 4-8 week training and competition experience. Athletes train intensely with 2-3 practices per day. They row primarily in small boats, 2x and 2-, and they have opportunities to race throughout the summer. Camp sizes are small, about 10 rowers each, so that each athlete will get individualized attention.

Bechtold and Lauzon were two of only 20 rowers selected to attend the first session of the Freshman Camp to be held June 14-20 at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Big Red head coach Hilary Gehman will run the camp.

Bechtold has spent the spring rowing with the Knights' top novice eight boat, which has been victorious in seven of its eight races in 2009, while Lauzon is one of three freshmen on the Black and Gold varsity eight squad this season.

According to USRowing.com, the Women's National Team Freshman Camp is for athletes with elite-level potential and aspirations, but who are freshmen in college and/or have only one or two years of rowing experience. The goal is to provide a week-long, intensive experience to expose athletes to elite-level training, row in all boat categories (1x to 8+), learn technical and physiological basics and train with athletes of a similar caliber. This camp is for the young athlete that has physiological potential and the desire to learn about the national team.

The rowing team has been hard at work preparing for the South/Central Regional Championship on May 16-17 in Oak Ridge, Tenn. For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.