Steve Gennaro was hoping for a chance to race his older brother Mike's crew when he heard that Yale was entering an eight in the Temple Challenge Cup at Henley, and that his brother was going to be coaching it.
Steve rows seven seat in the Temple University eight, and he wanted a shot at his brother's crew. Some of it was a brother thing. Steve is the youngest of three Gennaro boys who all grew up rowing on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia.
It did not hurt that the Gennaro siblings are hyper competitive, and that brother Mike is a decorated former US national team athlete who was coaching a combination crew of mostly second and third varsity guys from Yale University -the 2018 IRA Champions.
Even so, he was not hoping for it to be on the first day of racing - but that happens in the random Henley draw, and Temple and Yale were matched up in the heats. "I wanted a chance to race them when we were here," Steve said. "I was not hoping for it to be the first day. But it was."
The crews rowed even off the line, but Temple moved too close to one side and their oars hit some of the large white booms that line the course; Yale moved into the lead and won.
"When we saw we drew Yale, at first it was kind of a shock to the system," Gennaro said. "You come all this way to race another American crew. But once it settled in, it's just another race. We didn't think much about them being the national champion, it was just another race. And we knew we had to go and hit them with the kitchen sink."
As for racing his brother.
"It was fun. we were talking trash all week to each other, all year really, so the chance to go up against him for the first time in my rowing career was great. When I heard the draw results, I walked down a couple of tents to go see him and said some things that I shouldn't say in an interview.
"I still have another year, so maybe I will get the chance again."