Our Coaches and Coxswains
Lesleh Anderson Wright - Founder, Coach, Coxswain
I am Lesleh Anderson Wright one of the founders of Chinook Performance Racing. I have been immersed in the sport of rowing since 1976. I grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada; a prominent rowing community and home of the Canadian Henley Regatta. My family was heavily involved in the sport, my father was Captain and President of the club, my mom did an extraordinary amount of administrative work for the Canadian Henley Regatta and my brother Scott Anderson was a National Team Lightweight rower and a coach. I was fortunate to try rowing for the first time when I was just 11 years old, sculling with a friend whose father was Jack Nicholson, the coach of the Canadian National Team Scullers. I was hooked BUT girls were not allowed membership until 1976. That year I started rowing in high school, rowing bow seat in my high school program. The following summer our coxswain quit and due to my size I was coerced into the driver's seat with much reluctance on my part. The coach said "You will never make the National Team rowing Lesleh, but you could have a shot in the coxswains seat".
I was named to my first National Team as a coxswain in 1977 when I was 16. I was a National Team member for Canada for many years, and participated as coxswain of the women's 8 in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, finally retiring from the team in 1986 to start a family. I stepped away from the sport for many years, raising my family in rural Iowa kept me out of trouble for a number of years. I dabbled in rowing on occasion, but it wasn't until 2005 when my brother asked me to get back in the boat to cox his men's Senior Master 8 at the Head of the Charles that I returned for good. I began working with master's rowers through Masters Coaching with Mayrene Earle, and the Occoquan International men's team.
In 2012 I was invited to work with the Oxford University Women's Team under my friend Coach Christine Wilson, I was responsible for coaching the coxswains as they prepared for their ascent on the Thames in London for the first ever full distance Boat Race. I had the pleasure of working with the team for 4 years traveling back and forth to Europe and England. In 2013 my husband and I moved to San Diego, California where I worked as Head Coach at ZLAC, the oldest women's rowing club in North America. I stepped away from ZLAC in 2016 to manage Chinook Performance Racing full time.
SteeringUwright began as an Instagram handle, and turned into a small business shortly thereafter. We gather some of the best coaches in the world to join us in our adventures. We have travelled to Italy, Holland, Portugal, England, Canada, as well as all over the US to conduct master's camps. While I am still very much involved in the daily management of my home club Chinook, SteeringUwright allows me an opportunity to work with enthusiastic rowers from other clubs and hopefully make a difference in their rowing experience.
Cassandra Cunningham - Coach
Coach Cassandra Cunningham began her athletic quest at Mills High School in Millbrae, CA where she competed in cross-country and track for four years. Entering college she began her next sport in women's rowing. While at Sacramento State, Coach Cunningham earned three state championship titles as well as winning the 1995 Pacific Coast Rowing Championships in the Women's Varsity Eight. In 1996 she earned a Bachelor's of Science in Physical Education. After graduation she spent three years training with the Women's U.S. Rowing National Team. She is a five-time winner at the US National Elite Championships. She earned two international silver medals in the women’s lightweight quad at the 1998 World Rowing Championships and the 1999 Pan American Games. After her time on the national team, Coach Cunningham earned a Master of Education in Administration specializing in Athletic Directing at the University of Massachusetts while simultaneously coaching the school's varsity women's lightweight rowing team. Post graduate school she moved back to California where to began teaching Physical Education at San Francisco City College and coaching boy's rowing at Junipero Serra High School transforming it from a club program to a varsity sport. She spent three years at the University of Pennsylvania as the Women’s Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator. Coach Cunningham spent the past nine years assisting with the US Women’s Junior National Rowing Team. Power of 3, LLC was established in September of 2015.
To learn more about Power of 3, LLC go to www.priorproperplanning.com
Mike Irwin - Coach
Mike is the Head Coach of Men’s Rowing at Saint Joseph’s University. Mike possesses a wealth of coaching experience, having worked with the U.S. National Team, University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, Vesper Boat Club, Essex Boat Club, and his alma mater – Trinity College. Mike served as the boatman for the U.S. National Team for five World Championships and at the 2004 & 2008 Olympic Games.
Tracy Falkenthal - Fitness and Health Coach
IFBB PRO Tracy Falkenthal started her career as an athletic instructor at the YMCA in her teenage years, rowed for Berkeley High, Boston University, Chinook, Marin, Coeur D'Alene & Spokane Rowing. In rowing she has won 3 times at HOCR, nationals twice & World Championships (FISA) once (2011). Tracy won her IFBB PRO titles in Physique & Figure at Team Universe in July, 2016. She actively competes as an IFBB PRO.
Tracy served 16 years in the Army National Guard and finished as a Staff Sergeant. After the military she went on to become a firefighter with the Dallas Fire Department and later with the Alameda County Fire Department. She retired after 19 years of service without injury. Tracy is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & ACE Certified Health Coach as well as an IFBB PRO athlete & trains at her very own private training studio in Post Falls, Idaho.
Rarely without a smile, Tracy has a passion and enthusiasm for fitness which is infectious and provides a fun and rewarding atmosphere for her clients. She emphasizes a balanced approach of both proper exercise and carefully planned nutritional guidelines to maximize goal achievement. Tracy has 1 son & lives in Idaho with her husband.
Deb Snider Lloyd - Coxswain
My rowing career started in 1980 . I rowed lightweight for 4 years in High School, being small I was a consistent bow seat. I spent my summers rowing club for St. Catharines Rowing Club. My rowing continued first year at Brock University. However in second year I started coxing as the women in my crew were 6' plus.
While working in Toronto as an artist I coached Women's Lightweight Rowing at Havergal College. I am mom to 3 kids. Came back to coxing masters in 2011. I joined Chinook Performance Racing in 2013 and have been racing with them ever since. I have won the HOCR the past 2 years, the women's grand masters 4+ and the women's Veteran's 4+. There is something really special racing down the Charles river with 70 + 80 year olds in your boat.
Lesleh Wright &
Deb Snider Lloyd
Mike Irwin &
Deb Lloyd and her golden Vet4+ at 2018 HOCR
Tracy Falkenthal IFBB Coach
Health and Nutrition