Paul Green of Saugatuck Rowing Club was making his way across Cuthbert Boulevard on Sunday after racing to gold in the "J" single. For clarity, US Rowing's "J" category is defined as 80 plus, with Paul Green having a couple clicks into the "plus" at 86 years old. He looked a little tired (he confirmed racing was long for him today), but overall pleased with his efforts.
"The main reason I do this is that I have Parkinson's, and rowing gets the blood flowing, sends blood supply to the brain, gets those neurons fired... I think it slows the progression of the disease," says Green. "A lot of my motivation is this Parkinson's - to show people you have to be vigorously active to make a difference - rowing is about as vigorous as they come, and it's a great quality of life too." Green smiles then says, " and to be with all those young beautiful people is nice...to always be with old people, it gets depressing. Inter-generational activities are key."
Green went to Brown University during World War II--he is not even sure there was rowing then. His rowing experience is a more recent post-retirement activity. He was living in Westport, CT and had an Alden, when the Saugatuck Rowing Club was established in 1990. He joined there and has been rowing a racing single out of that boathouse since.
Green also rowed a double with "young ‘un'" Mike Petty, 81, this weekend. "They gave us a gold medal," he says, as if it was a gift, but really, the gold was earned. Green felt good after those two longer races--he trains in shorter spurts of approximately 400 meters, so going the 1000 meters, twice, was a victory.
To continue to the singles news, a bit more from a few whose efficiency at the Masters Nationals is remarkable. John Tunicliffe entered six races at the Masters Nationals. "I am not sure I'll do that again," said Tunicliffe Sunday afternoon before his B 1x final, looking weary. He held that particular race until the last 20 strokes or so, when Sean Wolf, rowing from Lane 6 getting those blades in the water "right quick" kicked in another gear and won by split seconds. Tunicliffe, however, won gold in the A single, C single, D double with Peter Kermond of Upper Valley RA as well as the Burnham Boatslings guy (hey, good choice of doubles partner!), and bronze in the D quad in a composite. Nice work over the weekend for a 49 year-old knocking on D category's door – and I am even missing one result here, hard to parse through 200 categories, think it was another medal!
Still one category away is fighting-weight lightweight from Upper Valley Mike Van Beuren, who for the past two years has won both the heavy and lightweight E category singles. Van Beuren rowed in high school, and was on a Junior Worlds team that won gold, and then rowed one year at University of Pennsylvania before transferring out to St. John's. Although he got away from rowing for a while, (he is a sub 2:26 marathoner), he got back to singles in an old 1980's Kaschper years ago, really enjoyed the singles rowing, and started to compete again in 2002. This recent grandfather has one more year in the E category. Look out.
PBC, did we see you guys earlier this summer? The Potomac Boat Club seems to have the big sweep categories all figured out. Here in Camden, they owned the Club categories in the Men's C and D (again, forgive me if there is more, but 200 categories). The question: did I see some of these rowers in at the Henley UK? Pretty sure some of the older guys in the boat we saw in the semis of the Thames Challenge Cup. There is some talent in that club to be sure, as evidenced by their second place in total points in the regatta.
Palm Beach Rowing Club also brought a sturdy bunch of Masters Men who hung out at the Vespoli tent the entire weekend, where they rented their racing craft. In an encouraging display of how the rowing world really works, Casey Baker, Resolute Racing Shells representative, was one of them. Baker, a formidable oarsman, was all business of a different kind, as he was in the engine room of the winning Open D Eight for Palm Beach.
Sunday temps at the Cooper River were cool, and the breeze (the headwind that remained in varying degrees all weekend) had tapered, and some light rain even kicked in after lunch. Responding to considerable lobbying from the masters community a couple years ago, US Rowing has gone to static referee-ing for coxed Masters races (monitoring races from Lane Zero, basically) which means the aggressive 4-minute centers could be maintained. (The static ref-ing is a real sleeper tho, with launch driver volunteers--and reporters—nearly dozing on the wakeless launches). Referees kept all very amiable... this is one of the only races where referees will say they have their husbands or wives out there on the water, rather than children or grandchildren.
Mid-day on Sunday before the lunch break the regatta held a Row for the Cure event featuring six lanes (Lane 1 was a quad, the rest were eights) of cancer survivors (with a couple replacements as needed). Two of the boats were "We Can Row" programs, which are designed as a wellness and recovery program for breast cancer survivors through rowing. Row for the Cure Founder and President Kathy Frederick said there are 15 National events this year, all posted on RegattaCentral (she cites Steve Lopez of RC as a generous donor of time and energy on this). "25% of the funds we raise goes to cutting edge research, 75% goes to the Susan B. Komen Foundation," Frederick says. For this race, Sally O'Connor of Avalon Rowing Club put the boats together and did much of the logistics. The race wasn't the fastest of the weekend, but it looked like many of the women really enjoyed the experience--who knows if they will end up taking a seat on other squads in years to come.
One of the best stories on the weekend: a former Jacksonville University rower approached his former Coach Jim Tucci at the regatta launch area Sunday to reminisce about the college rowing days. It seems this rower--we'll call him Sam--liked to "find" bikes on campus, take them for a spin to the boathouse, go roaring past the boathouse to launch off the docks for a big splash into the water, leaving the cycle to a watery grave below. Tucci, always soft-spoken, suggested that maybe this Sam shouldn't do this anymore, as it may create a navigational hazard if these bikes keep piling up. Thinking about it for a while, Sam realized that 17 feet of water wasn't quite enough to keep the growing pile of handlebars from snagging a skeg. The mischievous little habit concluded.
With this, row2k departs Camden again, check results and galleries from the racing here on row2k. Saugatuck Rowing Club won the overall points trophy (this is not new for the club, kudos on the consistent performance), with Potomac Boat Club and Capital Rowing (go DC?) second and third.