Your real estate agent might be a rower, too

It didn’t seem to make sense for a real estate company to sponsor the 22nd Annual Windermere Cup Regatta Saturday on the Montlake Cut in Seattle.

What possible connections could there be?

Plenty.

Agent Paul Schonberg with the Camano Island office said it’s one of the events that says spring has arrived.

“The crew races by athletes from around the world are the highlight,” Schonberg said. “These competitors are here not for fame or fortune but for a love of the game.”

Crew was here before professional sports, he said.

His crew coach in the early 1970s was Bob Ernst, who now coaches the University of Washington women’s crew team. Schonberg said Ernst continues to have a huge impact on young people in the sport.

At the Mukilteo office, Allen Cox, 18, works part time as a receptionist. He is a very busy student, both at Kamiak High School and at Edmonds Community College, in the Running Start program, where he will graduate from high school the same time he earns an associate degree. He set a junior world record in November for the lightweight marathon, an indoor virtual crew race equivalent to an outdoor marathon.

It’s virtual because you can’t find an outdoor course that is 26 miles long, he said.

Since 1987, Windermere Real Estate has sponsored more than 700 athletes who get to participate in Windermere Cup title races. The annual race is held in conjunction with opening day of boating season, one of Seattle’s largest free community events.

Competitors will compete from 24 Northwest clubs, high schools and university teams as well as Poland and Australia.

Windermere agents have raced in the regatta. A man who helped found the Everett Rowing Club, Larry Johnson, is an agent in Marysville.

He was a member of the 1970 University of Washington Husky crew that won the national championship, said broker Jim Rowley.

And Jane Jacobson, 51, an associate broker and Realtor in Lake Stevens, has raced in the Windermere Cup.

“Ah, rowing. Friendships, focus and determination,” Jacobson said. “It’s the best.”

She started the way many do, taking a class with the Everett Rowing Club. She had something major to conquer — a fear of water. Jacobson almost drowned when she was 7 years old.

Jacobson overcame her phobia and went on to win rowing events around the world.

She also competes in virtual racing, connected electronically to foes around the globe.

“Just call me a passionate rower who loves to live life,” she said.

“There is nothing like experiencing racing through the cut, hearing the crowd roar, focusing and squeezing out each stroke, pushing the aerobic limit, maxing our bodies, pushing ourselves to the max of our training as a team,” Jacobson said. “Rowing and real estate have given me many lasting relationships across the globe.”

Columnist Kristi O’Harran: 425-339-3451, oharran@heraldnet.com.

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