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Row With Champions

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By Elizabeth Tobey

The Greenwich Invitational on April 9 marked the start of sprint racing and Maritime Rowing Club’s New Canaan Crew brought home 4 golds and 1 silver to kick off the season. With gloriously beautiful spring skies and flat water, the women’s lightweight and open weight teams, as well as the men’s lightweight and open weight quad, all raced to victory showing the many family and friends gathered on the banks just how it’s done.

But what a difference a week makes. The sky was grey and the wind cold when boats launched Friday afternoon, April 15, to race on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, NJ. Home to the US National Team, this is the same venue that has hosted the US Olympic time trials for five consecutive years. But this weekend the well-protected and nicely buoyed course would offer no help to the 58 teams from across the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions who came to race. Teams fought for every stroke, and still the athletes from New Canaan Crew found a way to win.

Bea Tobey, Veronica Hoeft, Lilly Gorman and Aubrey Kenefeck set the bar early, winning silver medals in the Women’s Lightweight doubles events. They were followed in quick succession by Olympia Bordelon and Alexa Persico, who took bronze in the Open Weight Division. Not be outdone by the girls, Charlie Campbell and Jonathon Rosow saw clear water between them and the rest of the pack in the Men’s Varsity Double and earned the first gold of the day. Their team-mates Peter Tortora and Alex Buck brought home the silver in the same event.

New Canaan Crew took gold and silver again when Graham Mink and his partner Tucker Kivtey and Steven Gerasimoff and Alex Mauboussin went one, two in the Men’s 2nd Varsity Double.

Saturday the weather went from bad to worse, with both wind and flood advisories threatening to cancel each race minute by minute. It was a struggle to keep athletes warm and focused. Yet the Women’s Novice 8 maintained the will to compete and earned a silver for their efforts. Caroline Cone, Lindsay Ellis, Hannah Foley, Jenna Hickey, Lauren Howe, Victoria Mao, Meredith Rogers, Alex Yanoff and Charlotte Rosenberg (cox) could not contain their enthusiasm for their new found sport. Coach Stephanie Allgood said “the girls had worked so hard to get the right technique and it really helped them in this bad weather. I am really proud of them.”

Nor did the rain dampen the spirits of Justin Podlesak, Rex Rubin, Steven Mettler, and Blake Lange who won a silver in the Men’s Novice quad, or Glenn Wolyner, George Herde, Evan McAuley and Dan Crowley who brought home the bronze.

Petra Krompaska, Anastasia Livesay, Morgan Sheibley, Halley King and Ashwini Rao (cox) also earned bronze medals in the Women’s Varsity Lightweight 4 event. Meanwhile, Evan Turiano, Sam Wiley, Nick Flynn and Ned Berman with Samantha Escherich (cox) wore gold in the same even for Varsity Men.

Well-earned gold hung around the necks of Lilly Gorman, Alex Savoca, Kathryn Squitieri, and Olympia Bordelon after they beat the nearest boat by a full seven seconds in the Women’s 2nd Varsity Quad event, while Geoff Cloud, Charlie Mullaney, Arthur Roski, and Ryan Hanavan gunned for silver in the same event for men. Coach Olga Vengerovskaya said she had never seen rowing in such heavy rain. “The rain was so heavy and the wind so strong, it looked like the wind took them back with every stroke. They did a very good gob, a very smart job. They kept it steady and looked very good.”

As the weather became nearly impossible, Samantha Escherich coxed the Men’s 2nd Varsity 8 to a clear victory and suddenly Merritt Cullman, Alex Vernon, Evan Turiano, Oliver Viera, Charles Gaglione, Nick Flynn, Sam Wiley, and Ned Berman didn’t feel so cold or wet.

Finally, the battle with the weather could no longer be waged and the race was called before the schedule could be completed. This was tough news for Stephanie Winch, Rachel Paterson, Ellie Biddle, and Olympia Bordelon, who won their heat in the Women’s Varsity quad and would have rowed in the final. It was an equally rough decision for Colin Hill, Michael Squitieri, Henry Franco, Scott Yanoff, Jonathon Rosow, Peter Tortora, Alex Buck, and Charlie Campbell all of whom had placed second in their heats and would have contended for gold in the Men’s Varsity Quad final.

Rowing is an outdoor sport and in the last two weeks, New Canaan Crew experienced what mother nature brings to the equation. With 32 of the 36 planned events raced, New Canaan Crew brought home 16 medals – 5 golds, 8 silver and 3 bronze. New Canaan Crew showed they can win rain or shine. They compete again on May 1st in Cherry Hill, New Jersey at the Cooper Cup. For more information about rowing contact New Canaan Crew at The Maritime Rowing Club 203-854-5492 or on the web at newcanaancrew.com or maritimerowing.net.