As far as Gevvie Stone knew, she was finished with the Head of the Charles, except for showing up in Boston Sunday evening to collect the medal she had won Saturday in the Women's Championship Single at the end of regatta awards presentations.
The awards was special because it was the eighth time the 2016 Rio Olympic silver medalist has won the race, and it set a new record for the number of wins in the event. Stone, who retired from international competition following her Rio performance to start a medical residency left Boston content in her victory and new record and drove to Maine to attend a mandatory retreat for Beth Israel Deaconess residents.
She had to get a bit of special dispensation to get to the retreat later Saturday to race and pursue the record, and her mind was not on any more Head of the Charles racing. But she wanted to be back for the ceremony.
Still, the Cambridge Boat Club sculler would have loved to have stayed in Boston to race on Sunday in the 2017 version of the women's Great Eight, an annual collection of the top women’s scullers in the world who switch to the sweeping in the women's Championship Eight at the Charles for kicks and a new challenge.
Stone raced in the crew in 2016, but because she was no longer competing internationally, she was not eligible to be part of the crew. Rules, as is said, are rules. Stone had sat in a few practices this week in the boat while the crew gathered in Boston, and she knows every one of the women and had raced most of them before.
"I said earlier in the week there is no other boat I would rather be a spare in," Stone said.
But, alas, there was work, and of course, rules. Until 10 Sunday morning when the call came in from Boston. Austrian Magdalena Lobnig had been stricken with a stomach virus and was not able to race.
Once again, special dispensation was granted to Stone for the second time in the weekend, and when the Great Eight took to the water Sunday afternoon, there was Stone in stroke. And, of course, in keeping with the theme of her weekend, she set another record.
With Stone setting the pace, the Cambridge Boat Club sculler and hometown hero, helped power the women's crew to a win and a new course record. (It should be noted here that it was a day for setting records in Boston. Records were broken in 16 events yesterday.)
Women's Great Eight pushing for the win
"It’s funny because I told the Radcliffe girls I’m just subbing on Wednesday, that’s it. I said, I’m not in the boat, then I got the call up to race. I was surprised, but there’s no boat I’d rather be a spare in.
"These ladies are so fun to row with. We just had some strokes that were awesome, just long and powerful. There was definitely some power in that boat, and I wanted to die in the last mile.
"We knew the flat conditions were super fast," Stone said. "There’s no current and we had a great tailwind, so we knew it was going to be a fast course. We knew that we had to square up early and we knew we had to hold onto the finish. We knew it was going to be a fast course, we didn’t know how fast.
"Today was for fun and it was really fun. And now I need a nap."
Hugs all around in the Women's Great Eight