PHOTOS AND STORY BY LUKE REYNOLDS
On Sunday morning, amidst the fog, rowing shells, and dewy grass a small army of yellow-vested volunteers fanned out across the Head of the Hooch venue.
Some walked out on the long dock extending out onto the Tennessee River, met up with their USRowing officials, and fired up their outboard motors to head out on the racecourse. Their volunteerism was a result of months-long planning that led to a wildly successful event.
“It’s a lot of planning,” Hooch Head Referee Doug Jones said. “I’m on the Hooch Organizing Committee and we meet once a month like six to eight months out so we’re planning almost year-round to make sure we understand like ‘how’s it going to work?’ ‘what are things that happened last year?’ ‘how can we improve things?’”
Sunday’s racing was the culmination of a large group of volunteers, members of the Hooch Organizing Committee, and the rowers themselves’ efforts to make Hooch happen after a pandemic pause. Their efforts paid off tenfold.
Jones credits the organizers of the regatta for their work in ensuring that the regatta can be flexible and adjust to assure the event is successful.
“One of the things we do is constantly seek tweaks so that the rowers have the best experience possible. Because that’s really what we’re here for. The athletes. To make sure they come away going ‘wow, I had a really awesome regatta.’”
Sunday’s events included men’s and women’s champ singles, youth lightweight eights, inclusive events, and many others.
In the men’s championship single, Alvaro Torres Masias from RowHouse defeated Thomas Foltz representing Virginia Tech finishing with a time of 16:04.834. In the women’s champ single Elizbeth Ray from Lincoln Park finished 34 seconds ahead of Duke’s Olivia Schenk Grafin von Stauffenberg for first place.
In the youth lightweight eight events, the women of Atlanta Junior Rowing Club won with a time of 15:52.313. On the men’s side, Belen Jesuit defeated Canisius by more than 30 seconds finishing with a time of 13:55.660.
A full list of results can be found here.