Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Glorious Day on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia

Bo Tanner reports on the experience and results for the Holyoke Rows team participation in the 30th annual Bayada Regatta in Philadelphia on August 20. Luckily, the event was one week before
tropical storm Irene hit Philadelphia!

Holyoke Rows team from left to right: Jim Sliski, Ben Kidston, T,
Bo Tanner, Carlos Gonzalez, Stephanie Moore, and Jim Brooks.

Five members of the Holyoke Rows adaptive rowing team and coach Stephanie Moore traveled south on Friday August 19th for some fun in the sun and heavy duty competition at the nations only adaptive only regatta. That’s right, the able bodied athletes had to sit this one out and watch the fierce competition. We started with the Jolly Up cocktail party receiving information on the course, races, rule changes, and greeting old friends. The athletes were also informed that around half of the Paralympic rowing team were competing in this regatta as a warm-up for the world competition starting on the following Monday in Croatia. Yikes! I hoped all that training this summer would pay off! We got an unexpected surprise when our little buddy T showed up at the party with his mom, our coach, Stephanie Moore. This was a boost for the athletes as T is one of our biggest supporters at the Holyoke boathouse, and a great man in the pit crew. Just the week before 8-year-old T rowed a single by himself on the Connecticut River with a swift current.

The first rower of the day for Holyoke was Jim Brooks rowing in the mens TA (trunk and arms) division - he won a silver medal in a fast 1000 meter race. Next up were Bo Tanner and Ben Kidston rowing in a mixed double LTA (legs, trunk and arms) division. This is an unusual combination in that Bo rows fixed seat TA  sculling (2 oars) and Ben rows with a sliding seat and sweeps (one oar). We seemed to be able to make it work because we also won a silver medal! Two races later, after some quick changes by the pit crew (Stephanie and T) Bo took off again, this time with veteran rower Jim Sliski in a mixed double TA race. They managed a 3rd place in a tough race against the #1 and #2 Paralympic mixed doubles teams. Next up were Jim Sliski and Carlos Gonzales (first year rower) in a men's singles TA race. They placed a respectable 3rd and fourth place. The last race of the day for the Holyoke rowers was Bo Tanner, in her third race of the day, rowing in the women’s single TA race. She placed second in the 1000 meter competition, less then 30 seconds behind the Paralympic teams top sprinter. Yeah!!!!

Bo with her well-earned 2 silver medals.

We ended the day with a barbecue, beers, and music on the banks of the Schuylkill, sharing some time and merriment with our new friends and old friends, looking forward to meeting up with them again next year at the Bayada Regatta.

Great job Holyoke Rows! Kudos to Jim Brooks, Bo Tanner, Jim Sliski, Ben Kidston and Carlos Gonzales!! They'll be rowing at home on September 25th in the annual Paper City Regatta coming up September 25th at the Jones Ferry Access Center in Holyoke, MA.

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