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Our Coaches

Matthew Petty
Men's Varsity Head Coach

Matthew Petty joined the Robinson Crew coaching team in 2017 as the boys' head coach and varsity coach. His rowing career started as a freshman at West Springfield High School.

"It was my privilege to have made the varsity boat after freshman year. Spending the next three years on the starboard 3 and 5 seat, I was named to the All Virginia teams as a junior and senior with times in the 6:30s.  Setting high goals, our boat placed second at both the VASRA state championships and NCASRA championships.  My high school rowing career ended with a personal 2k record of 6:21 (1:35.2 500m split) and selection to the 2003 All-Met team."

Still having a love and passion for the sport of rowing, and wanting to give back and help others succeed, Coach Matt started coaching at West Springfield as an assistant freshman boys coach in 2004.  In 2010, he had the opportunity to move up to a head coaching job, and spent the next six years coaching the West Springfield varsity boys.  His experience also includes coaching the NVRC masters and juniors from 2006-2013.   In Fall 2013, Coach Matt co-founded Resilient Rowing Club and coaches the competitive boys’ teams in the summer and fall.  


Cath Courtney
Men's Novice

Coach Cath joined the Robinson Crew coaching team in 2022 to lead the novice boys team.


Having been an athlete throughout her entire school career and adult life, rowing was a natural progression for Coach Cath. The Occoquan has been her "home river" having rowed and raced for NVRC (Northern Virginia Rowing Club) and OBC (Occoquan Boat Club). She continues to row and hone her skills as a sweep rower and a sculler.

As a qualified indoor rowing coach, she teaches classes at Row House Fairfax. She has also obtained her U.S. Rowing Certification.


Phil Vargas

Women's Varsity Head Coach

Coach Vargas joined the Robinson coaching staff in 2022 as the novice women’s coach and became head coach in 2023 to lead the varsity women’s team. He has been coaching high school rowing since 2016 and has coached both eights and fours to multiple podium finishes to include a 2nd place in the women’s varsity 4 at the 2021 Virginia Scholastic Rowing Championships and a 3rd place for the Robinson women’s 3rd 8 at the 2023 VSRC.


Coach Vargas also coaches cross country and helped lead the women’s team to a 2nd place finish at the VHSL State Championships.


His passion for rowing started as a sophomore at Lake Braddock and led to joining the UVA men’s crew team in his first year. Now, Coach Vargas aims to help others find their passion and drive for the sport and lead the Robinson women to success.

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