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Next thing I know, I am under water
by Igor Belakovskiy
posted on July 3, 2006

Igor just days later, at the 2005 Fall Speed Orders

8,999 Meters
(June 13, 2006)

It was the week before the 2005 Fall Speed Order (a stake race over 8km at Lake Carnegie). A bunch of us were doing a practice piece in the basin, starting at the BU Boathouse, going down to the Museum of Science, spinning, and finishing back at the BU Boathouse. To make things official, we even had one of our coaches drop off a buoy by the museum, to clearly mark the turn. Some of the overachievers among us plan to do two pieces, while most of the sane crowd is perfectly willing to call it a day after the first piece. The first piece goes off, with the usual bumping and grinding of two flights of five singles each all trying to go through the same arch of the Mass Ave Bridge, but everyone survives, and returns to BU safely.

At this point, Pete, Sean, Trevor and I decide that too much is never enough, so we line up for the second piece (along with two pairs, if my memory serves me right). Again, everyone charges for the same arch at Mass Ave, heads for the same point inside the leftmost legal arch Longfellow, etc. I arrive at the turn, plant my port oar, and, in stupefied horror, watch my MK1 Magik Oarlock open, and release my oar. Next thing I know, I am under water.

Keep in mind that it’s the first week of November, and the water is a little bit on the invigorating side. Now, going for an involuntary swim in the Charles in November is bad enough, but what’s worse is that I can’t get my feet out of my shoes. I don’t really want to dive under to see what’s happening, so I try kicking, it the hopes that my feet will come out. Well, my feet stay firmly planted inside the shoes, however, one of the shoes does come off the footplate. Now, I have a Mizuno track shoe on one foot, and a Mizuno track shoe with a Van Dusen single attached to it on the other. At this point, I start thinking—“We, this is a pretty dumb way to go, ain’t it?” Luckily, Trevor is not too far behind, so I manage to swim to his boat (with the Van Dusen still attached to my foot), and grab on to his stern. He slowly begins to tow me towards the little platform by the museum, at which point I am hoping to hold on to a stable object and remove my twenty-six foot long flipper, and then figure out some way to get home. Of course, Trevor is rowing arms only, because he’s not particularly envious of my position, and really doesn’t want to join me.

In the meanwhile, the hullabaloo attracts the attention of the owners of a rather large industrial sized power boat. Sean and Pete suggest that I might be in need of some assistance, and so they help me out of the water, hand me a blanket, and perch my shell on the stern of their boat. They are really nice people, so they offer to give me a lift back to Riverside. And, we proceeded at stately pace through the basin, in a two story tall power boat, with an orange Van Dusen perched across the rear guardrails, gently waking everyone and everything, including some very unhappy Boston University pairs. Upon arrival, I quip “anyone can flip, and get picked up by a StillWater, but only I am gifted enough for this ride,” and sprint up the stairs to the shower. Two days later I was getting H2Row quick release shoes from the Van Dusen shop.