Mon07282014

Sports

Paddling prowess

Photo Courtesy Of Luis Yanez

Luis Yanez of Los Altos Hills was part of a gold- medal-winning crew at an international regatta.

Many of the world’s best rowers traveled to Canada last month for the FISA 2010 World Rowing Masters Regatta – and Los Altos Hills resident Luis Yanez was among them.

Forty years older than the youngest competitors, Yanez, 67, more than held his own. He and his crew won a gold medal, earned a pair of silvers and bronzes and finished fourth in two other races.

More than 2,500 Masters rowers representing 300 rowing clubs from 33 countries participated in the regatta, the largest event of its kind in North America. It was held Sept. 2-5 at St. Catharines Rowing Club in St. Catharines, Ontario.

The regatta offered races for eight- and four-man crews, divided into eight age categories (27 to 80 or older). “Some of the best (rowers) in the world” competed, according to Yanez.

“The competition in St. Catharines was brutal,” he said. “Some of the Russian teams and teams from the former Soviet Union are still very strong teams.”

Yanez represented Bair Island Aquatic Center, a club in Redwood City that sent two other rowers.

Yanez, who moved to Los Altos Hills in 1975, was national champion in his native Peru.

Competing in category G (average age of 65), Yanez won gold in an international quad race (four rowers in one boat). He teamed with Drew Harrison, 64, and Tom Lathrop, 65, of Canada and Juan Velasco, 69, of Peru.

Yanez secured silvers in two eight-boat mix races (four men, four women) in categories G and F (average age 60). His crew “was only 2 and 3 seconds behind first place” in both events, he said.

The local rower bagged bronzes in a pair of quad races, one in category F and the other in E (55). He took fourth in two other eight-boat events – a category F mix race and a category D (50) competition.

Yanez, who learned to row in high school while growing up in Callao, Peru, said he “trained the hardest ever to be prepared to participate” in the regatta. He continues to train six days a week, a regimen that includes rowing, running and weightlifting. And Yanez said he still saves enough energy to take his wife tango or salsa dancing every weekend.

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