BY LUKE REYNOLDS
The past two weekends along with the upcoming weekend are a little bit like an Oreo cookie.
Two weekends ago, the rowing community flocked to Boston for the annual Head of the Charles Regatta. A huge, storied event with thousands participating and thousands spectating. The delicious, crunchy top cookie.
And, next weekend, the rowing community will drive, fly, and row to Chattanooga, Tenn. for the Head of the Hooch Regatta. The equally delicious and important bottom cookie.
But this weekend was a special one. The creamy, sweet middle layer of filling also known—for the purposes of this analogy—as the Head of Schuylkill Regatta.
All three parts are essential to make the Oreo what it is just as these three regattas are essential to nourishing the rowing community. Without them, the fall season just wouldn’t be the same.
There are a number of reasons why the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta stands out as an important event for rowers this year. For starters, the Philidelphia rowing community is one like no other. It doesn’t even take a rower to identify the iconic Boathouse Row and to understand the importance of the sport to the city. But this year’s Schuylkill will hold a special place in the history books.
Along with all the racing that took place, the regatta honored the late Ted Nash. A revered coach, athlete, and friend who passed away in the summer of this year. Nash’s memory will not be forgotten, however, as two trophies were dedicated in his honor that will be awarded yearly, in perpetuity at the event.
The inaugural Ted A. Nash trophies went to Lehigh and Dartmouth this year. The two crews won the women’s and men’s championship coxed fours, respectively.
In addition to celebrating the life of a great steward of our sport, the Schuylkill marked a moment where triumph over adversity so common you hardly need to look to find it.
In the men’s high school eight, St. Joe’s managed to pull off a win two seconds ahead of the Rye America men and nine seconds ahead of third-place Saugatuck. Their win was not the only one of the day for the Philly club, with their men’s frosh/novice eight coming in first and their B-entry in the same event not far behind. Saugatuck’s frosh/novice eight finished between the two.
St. Joe’s success this weekend is a triumph considering the club’s battle—along with many other Philly institutions—with flooding only a few weeks ago.
There were a number of impressive races and results in Philly this weekend and to see the venue packed with spectators is a victory in and of itself.
Head of the Schuylkill wasn’t the only regatta taking place this weekend, though. In the central part of the country, the annual Head of the Colorado (Pumpkinhead) regatta was taking place in Austin.
The event is a huge attraction for rowers in the central region and had over 400 entries this year. Along with the usual cast of central region crews, this year’s Head of the Colorado had a special attendee.
Couldn’t have said it better, Jeff.
On the west coast, the Portland Fall Classic had more than 25 clubs race in its annual event. The host club, Station L Rowing Club were the winners of the team points trophy beating out second-place Sammamish by two points. Lake Oswego Community Rowing rounded out the top three with ten points.
Next weekend’s Head of the Hooch will mark the “Last of the Great Fall Regattas” and, for most crews, end the head race season so start polishing those erg playlists and wipe down those handles. Erg season will be here before your know it.