Personal Best: Dry-land rowing record holders eye national medal 

After a recent Saturday morning workout on Lake Merced, two Pacific Rowing Club teammates took a breather to discuss their world record.

Deanna Wong recounts the Thanksgiving Day call that she made to teammate Maggie Bowman-Jones.

“I didn’t even say hello,” Wong said. “I said, Maggie, do you want to set a world record with me?”

Although Bowman-Jones teased her friend for researching rowing-related world records on the Internet, she was as eager as Wong to become a record holder.

On Dec. 19 at 9:30 a.m., the well-conditioned athletes climbed aboard the ergonomic rowing machine in the garage of Wong’s family home in The City’s Sunset district. 

The 6-foot Bowman-Jones rowed the first leg, with the duo switching off after every 10,000 meters. While one rowed, the other hydrated, stretched and changed the DVDs from “Kill Bill” to “300” to “The Lion King.”

After 7 hours, 17 minutes, 55 seconds of rigorous rowing, the duo emerged as the 100,000-meter erg tandem women’s heavyweight 19-and-under world-record holders. Wong, a Lincoln High senior, and Bowman-Jones, a Terra Nova High junior, had averaged 2:11.3 per 500 meters, breaking the old record of 2:16.

Like cross-country skiers falling across the finish line, both women were exhausted but elated once the feat was complete.
“I had to have my boyfriend drive me home,” said Bowman-Jones of Moss Beach. “I couldn’t drive. It was like parts of my body did a full shutdown.”

Having attained the dry land record, the teammates have unfinished business on the water before Wong graduates and launches her collegiate rowing career at UCLA next fall. The women are 2-for-2 rowing as a pair, including a victory over Marina Aquatic Center of Marina del Rey on Feb. 21 at the El Camino Real Cup.

Whether competing as a duo or in a boat with four or eight rowers, the goal is a trip to Cincinnati in June for the national championships.

On her two previous experiences at nationals, Wong has posted fourth- and fifth-place finishes.
“I want to medal this time,” Wong said with her ever-present smile.

Team co-captain and coxswain Jordan Duval-Smith is confident that her world-record holding teammates have what it takes to win at nationals.

“They’re definitely the most dedicated people on the team; everyone looks up to them,” the Lowell High junior said. “They know there’s an end goal and will try their hardest to be ready for the championships.”


Pacific Rowing Club

What: According to head coach Robert Maclean, 30 area high schools row out of the program; 18 colleges have recruited out of the club.

Training: 15 hours in the boat on Lake Merced per week

World record: Validated by Concept Ergometer


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