Del Mar resident and Bishop’s School student Chloe Belle Hooton, 15, was recently one of only 30 rowers to be invited to the 2012 U.S. Junior National Team Development Camp. In June, Chloe Belle will spend three weeks in Connecticut receiving expert coaching and training with the U.S. Junior National team.
In February, Chloe Belle attended the two-day West Coast Junior National “I.D. Camp” in Marin County to try to qualify for the U.S. Junior National Team. Each year, approximately 400 of the top junior female rowers come to one of the eight selection camps across the U.S. to try to earn a seat on the team. The top 24 (usually seniors) are invited to train for a month followed up by a trip to Europe to represent the U.S. in Belgium. There is also a highly selective training camp — the one Chloe Belle was invited to attend — for the rowers that the coaches believe have the talent to be groomed for next year’s travel team.
The invitation has special meaning for Chloe Belle as she is a former nationally-ranked golfer who had to give up the sport due to a back injury. Her father, Claude Hooton, said that Chloe Belle, on a whim, took a beginning rowing class at the end of last summer and fell in love with the sport. Chloe Belle competes in a variety of events for her new sport, and has already won first place titles. She practices six days per week with the San Diego Rowing Club and is on the club’s junior team. Another member of the San Diego Rowing Club, Marissa Gibson, was also invited to attend the camp.
“It appears that it has been many years since any girl from San Diego has been to the Junior National camp, definitely not two in the same year, so this is big news down at the San Diego Rowing Club,” Claude said.