Joanne Iverson Receives Ernestine Bayer Award at the 2010 USRowing Confernce
Joanne Iverson writes:
I returned last night from the USRowing Conference in Tampa where I received the Ernestine Bayer award for outstanding contributions to women’s rowing, mainly for my efforts to have women’s rowing added to the Olympic program. The award was very gratifying because on the same program was the winner of the Female Athlete of the year award, Olympic Gold Medalist and World Champion Susan Francia, and Vesper’s Jack St. Clair who won the Clayton W. Champman award for best emulating Mr. Chapman’s 30-year stewardship of the Eastern Sprints and IRA, someone who has consistently served behind-the-scenes role that consistently went unrecognized.
As you know, I was the first coach of women’s rowing at the University of Pennsylvania and it was so appropriate that Susan was recognized after starting her succesful rowing career there under Barb Kirsch Grudt, another Vesper Olympian, and most recently with Mike Lane whom I often accompany in the coaching launch. To add to my excitement at the ceremony, I was introduced by my friend Caryn Davies, stroke of the US Women’s Beiging Olympic gold meda eight and also a Vesper member.
In my acceptance speach I said I am proud of being President of Vesper where we are striving to put Vesper in a position where it contributes to the National and Olympic teams by identifying, developing and training rowers. It was gratifying that our head coach Michiel Bartman, board member John Strotbeck, and our Vice President Paul Horvat (who had just been elevated to the USRowing Board of Directors) were in attendance there with me.
There is no question that the national team selection process has changed, but Vesper has adapted remarkably well to that change, our focus on the under-23 program and qualifying eight athletes for the world championships in the last two years alone, is testament to that as is our work to get our senior team candidates called up to national team camps (Meg Walsh, Hannah and Jenne this year). I believe we have a stronger racing program in general, with more diverse components, than at any time in the past fifteen years. Our success this past summer is pretty good evidence of that.
I think that Vesper’s reputation is being enhanced by these awards, our racing successes, our willingness to host pre-elite camps, and our involvement in programs such as this one. It is time and money well spent to enhance the image of Vesper and Boat House Row in general.
USRowing News Release, December 09, 2010