by Roxy Capron
Row New York took over Boston this past weekend with an impressive six boats at the Head of the Charles Regatta! It was the 50th anniversary of this historic regatta, and both sides of the riverbanks were buzzing with excitement. Crews from all over the world were ready to race! It was an especially thrilling weekend for the entire RNY community, not just because they got to warm up next to Olympians, but because our six entries spanned the full spectrum of our programs. This was a special opportunity to show an international audience what we’re about. Youth, masters, and para crews left it all on the water and represented our organization well in each of their respective events.
First, four staff members hopped in a boat for the Women’s Club 4+, including Amanda Kraus (Executive Director), Jennie Trayes (Director of Programs & Operations), Breanne Fitzsimmons (Novice Program Director, Queens), and Eva Campbell (Middle School Program Director, Queens). RNY graduate Danna Matute served as coxswain. It was an excellent display of the cohesion and camaraderie that’s so characteristic of the RNY staff. The Men’s Club 8+ race was also a source of major excitement for our crew. The lineup was a new one, and some of the rowers had not yet competed with one another (including special guest rower, RNY Coach Ian Suchan!) but that didn’t stop them from rowing smoothly and in sync. Men’s Master 4+ gave a solid performance as the first masters entry for Row New York in this regatta, providing a good stepping stone for future crews.
The Queens Varsity 4+ race moved up 16 spots from the 77th seed to finish 61st. Queens Varsity Program Director Michael Eichler was pleased with the race, noting that the girls passed three boats and felt powerful throughout. “Although they did not guarantee their entry for next year [by placing in the top half], it was a good race and they were able to see what top level competition looks like, so they can reassess their goals and become faster.”
Manhattan Varsity Program Director Tom Eichler similarly reflected that the young rowers enjoyed being around so many elite rowers from around the world at such an important regatta. Warming up next to Olympians and national champs is never a bad way to prep for a race! Despite facing strong winds and chilly conditions on Sunday, our Manhattan girls 8+ boat raced hard, led by coxswain Lauren Michelson who steered a great course and managed to navigate deftly the many twists and turns of the Charles – which was tightly packed, with four and five boats across. They climbed up from an 82nd seed to a 58th place finish, an impressive leap from last year’s 66th place finish by Manhattan and 72nd place finish by Queens. The athletes look forward to putting their skills and determination to the test again at the Head of the Schuylkill in Philadelphia next weekend!
Our para-rowers combined forces with the athletes and coaches of Three Rivers Rowing Association to compete in Sunday morning’s Mixed LTA 4+. We were thrilled to collaborate with Three Rivers and to compete in the growing sport of para-rowing, especially at a regatta with such international attention. We’re proud of our competitive para-rowers and their hard work on the water, and excited that the weekend has generated additional interest in our para-rowing programs, which we highlighted at our Fall Benefit on October 2nd.
Director of Community Rowing Matt Logue observed that this was a unifying weekend for Row New York: rowers of all ages and their families, newcomers and veterans, Queens and Manhattan athletes, and coaching corps and office staff alike whooped and hollered on the sidelines for one another. The crowd’s excitement for each RNY entry added momentum for the next, and undoubtedly this will snowball into an enthusiastic showing at the upcoming Head of the Schuylkill. We can’t wait!