Ellen Kloss, A Committed Student & Rower

Ellen Kloss

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While other graduate students are burning the midnight oil, Ellen Kloss' commitment keeps her rising to an alarm clock to train at Baltimore Rowing Club. This 29-year-old doctoral student at Johns Hopkins in the department of Biophysics has support though: Her husband John is a coach at BRC, and her doubles partner, Christine Bevacqua, will be at the boathouse. Kloss, a lightweight rower for Washington University’s (St. Louis) club program during her undergrad years, met her husband through the sport. They both fell into the rowing lifestyle once they settled in Baltimore. 

Now she has a consistent training partner (27-year-old Bevacqua, a grad student at University of Maryland), a great deal of rowable water in the Middle Branch Basin and Baltimore’s harbor and a 1-year-old Vespoli Matrix 29 lightweight women’s double.

Her decision to purchase a double while a newlywed and grad student may seem a bit unorthodox, but Kloss and her husband had it all figured out. “We didn’t have a car payment,” she asserts, and the double has made club rowing more efficient and enjoyable for the competitive double. She said that her club had several boats, but not a consistently-available lightweight boat that was rigged correctly for them. She also found that other boats were either easily broken or “loud.”

“We noticed the speed of the Matrix 29 right away and the boat was the correct size for us,” says Kloss of the double she tried out at Club Nationals in 2007. “With the wing rigger we had a lot of flexibility in rigging and getting our power application to match up.”

The boat has allowed Kloss and Bevacqua to train for racing, which is their goal. The duo has competed in Club Nationals, Head of the Charles championship double, Head of the Occoquan, Head of the Ohio, as well as few summer sprint races. “It makes us more committed (to have the boat).” They won the Head of the Occoquan and the Head of the Ohio in 2007, and would like to build on these results.

Ellen and Christine do sprint pieces during the summer and start base-building with some aerobic threshold work in the fall as head races come into view. In the dark mornings in the harbor, Kloss is glad to be rowing her Vespoli. “The durability of the Vespoli is great for us, because the water we row in often has submerged logs,” says the bowperson, “It is also great to know we can get the boat repaired by the manufacturer and that the reps are easy to talk to.” Kloss’s contact at Vespoli USA is Mid-Atlantic rep Amanda Kukla.

Kloss enjoys the head race season as she feels her boat is responsive and can make tight turns on the winding courses. Although she rows and competes successfully in some other club boats like quads and eights, her goal is to use that perfect-fit Matrix 29 she has on the rack in the BRC boathouse.

Accompanying Kloss’s double in the BRC racks are three other new Vespoli shells the club added to the fleet once the coaches and rowers discovered the speed and durability: a double, quad and coxed four.

Kloss, an Oklahoma native, completes her Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics in about 6 months and she and her husband are looking for employment where rowing is possible. Boston is top of the list for her husband right now, who is a systems administrator. Wherever she goes, Kloss will be transporting her Matrix 29.

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