2019 Jingle Bell Row

We closed out the 2019 rowing season on the afternoon of Sunday, November 17th with GDRA’s annual Jingle Bell Row, in which we decorate an 8+ like Santa’s sleigh, with the rowers wearing reindeer antlers and the coxswain dressed up in a Santa suit. The weather was just right—sunny and mild, with no wind at all. The river was completely calm, and the water was clear.

Usually we have enough people for a decorated sculling boat, as well. This year, we had eleven Jingle Bell rowers, so a double also took part in the festivities—bright red to fit the season.

Instead of announcing “ready” by seat number as usual, the sweep team sounded off by reindeer names as the double rowers enjoyed the show. It was very entertaining!

Afterward we enjoyed hot chocolate and yummy baked treats.

Many thanks to Janice Hill for driving the safety launch and taking the photos!

Hooch, Hooch, Hooray!

Our club’s last regatta of the season traditionally has been the Head of the Hooch in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It is a challenging and very competitive two-day head race, with so many entries that the course often looks like a traffic jam on the river when rowers are lining up to start. So winning a medal at the Hooch is an accomplishment well worth celebrating; and Richard Pierce deserves hearty congratulations for his third-place finish (with the second-fastest raw time) in the Men’s Masters 1x in the 65+ age category.

The current was extremely swift this year, so much that on the practice day on Friday, November 1, singles and novices were not allowed on the course. Conditions were somewhat better on Saturday when the regatta got underway, but the current was still fast, and the water became quite choppy with around 2000 meters left to go. Ed Walz and Denise Heuser rowed extremely well in these conditions in the Mixed Masters double on Saturday, finishing in 8th place in a race that had 48 entries.

William Turner and his daughter Julia placed fourth in the Parent/Child double, coming very close to a medal. Meg Evans and Brian White rowed in both the Mixed Masters double on Saturday and the Mixed Open double on Sunday. Mike McCarty and Denise Heuser also rowed in the Mixed Open double. Brian White competed in the Men’s Masters Lightweight 1x.

Overall, we were pleased with our results; the only flaw in an otherwise excellent weekend was that there was heavy fog on Saturday morning, which caused the cancellation of our races in both the Men’s Masters double and the Mixed Masters quad.

Our trailer’s parking space for the regatta was under a bridge. We took a team photo behind the trailer as we were getting ready to leave.

It took some maneuvering to get the trailer turned around in a tight spot, but our intrepid driver, Brian White, was up to the task; and our team and all boats arrived home safe and sound.

Speakmon Success

Our team won several medals at the Speakmon Memorial Regatta, held at the Griggs Reservoir in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday, October 27th. William Turner and Brian White took third place in the Men’s Masters double. Our Mixed Open quad also placed third, with Mike McCarty, Paula Sideras, Ed Walz, and Denise Heuser. Brian White came in second in the Men’s Lightweight single, and Meg Evans had first place for the Women’s Lightweight single.

GDRA also rowed a Men’s Masters quad at the Speakmon, with William Turner, Todd Sobol, Brian White, and Chad Hagedorn. This was Chad’s first head race — he had a great time and is looking forward to more regattas next season! Richard Pierce competed in the Men’s Masters single race, and we also had two Mixed Open doubles — one with Ed Walz and Denise Heuser, and another with Meg Evans and Brian White.

October was a busy month for GDRA. We were represented at the Secret City Head Race in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on Saturday, October 19th. Some GDRA members went to the Music City regatta in Nashville on Saturday, October 12th, while others opted not to travel so far and instead went to the Hoover regatta in Columbus, which also was held on October 12th.

2019 Outdoor Experience

Linda Clemens, our Recruitment Director, organized GDRA volunteers to introduce people to the sport of rowing at the Outdoor Experience event, held the weekend of October 5th and 6th at Eastwood MetroPark. The rowing machines at GDRA’s tent were very popular!

Linda’s report is below. She wrote:

Wow, what a weekend! Our site at the Wagner Subaru Outdoor Experience had plenty of room for a big tent, four ergs, a large scoreboard, plus two boats. A steady flow of kids and adults tested themselves on the ergs, looked at the boats, and chatted about rowing. It was just super fun to introduce folks to the erg, and watch both kids and adults check out their scores. There was even a friendly rivalry among Five Rivers MetroParks staff.

GDRA volunteers handed out Learn-to-Row postcards and gathered contact information from people who said they would like to learn to row in the spring. Here are the numbers:

– 150 adults on the ergs
– 290 kids on the ergs
– 70 adults signed up for LTR information
– 21 GDRA volunteers

Our GDRA volunteers were fantastic. There was a lot of setup and tear-down, and the volume of visitors kept us all hopping. A big shout-out to Colleen, Stephanie, Amandea and Moe… it was great to get help from the LTR class of 2019.

Thank you to Doug, Ed, Jan, Wilfred, Colleen, Jim, Mike, Karen, Richard, Stephanie, Paula, Amandea, Moe, Patty, Fran, Peggy, Carol, Denise, Pete and Lorna for volunteering and making this event a success.

Regards,
Linda Clemens
Recruitment

Triumphant Triumvirate

Three members of our team won medals rowing at the Frogtown regatta in Toledo, Ohio, which was held on Saturday, September 28. Mike McCarty and Ed Walz took first place in the Men’s Masters double. Ed also won a third-place medal with Denise Heuser in the mixed double race.

Meg Evans is also shown in the photo, although without a medal, having finished fourth in the mixed double with Brian White. Rounding out our team was Richard Pierce, who rowed a single. Conditions were good; the Maumee River was mostly flat and calm during the regatta.

Cuyahoga Contingent

GDRA was represented by a small contingent at the Head of the Cuyahoga regatta in Cleveland, Ohio, on Saturday, September 21st. Richard Pierce competed in the single race and also rowed a composite double with Scott Callahan of Belmont Rowing. Brian White and Meg Evans raced a mixed double.

The Head of the Cuyahoga is a challenging course because it is narrow, has many curves, and passes through thick trees, with an occasional barge at anchor here and there. Rowers pass under several bridges, where spectators watch the race and cheer on the contestants.

Although we didn’t win medals, it was a lovely warm sunny day with perfect rowing conditions, and everyone had a good time. We plan to return next year!

Masters Nationals in Michigan

GDRA was represented at the USRowing Masters National Championship regatta held August 15-18 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. On the first day, Meg Evans rowed a lightweight single.

Brian White, wanting more than just one lightweight event, rowed his single twice on Friday, in both his age category and the one below. Here’s a photo taken at the start of his first race (dark green boat to the left).

On Saturday we rowed team boats (double and quad). Thanks to Bob and Karen Symonds of Wichita for taking part in a composite quad; it was lots of fun!

The weather was pleasant during most of the regatta. Unfortunately, thunderstorms blew in on Sunday and cancelled the afternoon’s racing; but by then we already had finished our events and were packing up for the drive home.

Dillon Lake Sprints

Our team rowed at Dillon Lake on Saturday, August 3, and had a great time on a gorgeous summer day with plenty of races for all! Here’s a photo of our team at the end of the day.

Kudos to Sharon Hagedorn for racing in her first regatta. She rowed in a mixed quad with her husband Chad, along with Meg Evans and Brian White. We all thought she did great!

USRowing National Championship

GDRA was represented at the USRowing National Championship regatta at Harsha Lake last weekend. In this highly competitive 2000-meter sprint race, Ben Boehm rowed very well, winning a silver medal in the men’s intermediate lightweight 4x event with a composite team called “Greater Dayton Composite.” His team also raced in the men’s senior/elite lightweight 4x event and placed third. Both events were straight finals.

Brian White competed in the intermediate lightweight 1x time trial. Because weight requirements for the boats were in effect, he had to add weight to his boat so that it wouldn’t be too light.

More to Discover

After so many people had a great time discovering the sport of rowing at our May event, GDRA held another Discover Rowing day on Saturday, July 13 and once again had the pleasure of welcoming a new group of enthusiastic visitors. Turnout was fantastic; we had 34 people registered, and they all showed up to row, along with a few drop-ins.

Volunteer participation also was excellent; we had almost as many volunteers (organized by our hardworking committee, led by Linda Clemens) as we had visitors. Several new volunteers who recently had completed Learn-to-Row classes were happy to spread the word about how much they’re enjoying the sport!

The river was flat and calm, just right for beginners, and it was a perfect sunny day. We had four quads on the water at the same time, with two experienced rowers and two visitors in each quad.

The Millennium, our big sweep boat, also made several trips up and down the river. As soon as one group returned to the dock, we had more visitors eager to take their place.

As with our previous event, many of the visitors had such an enjoyable time that they promptly signed up for the upcoming Learn-to-Row sessions. With so many new rowers this year, it’s great to see plenty of fresh faces on the river!