Gevvie Stone has a knack for keeping busy and going after big wins on the Charles River. Yesterday was no different for the 31-year-old Newton native, Cambridge Boat Club member, and 2016 Olympic silver medal women's sculler, who is also a doctor in her first full year of residency.
With seven wins in the books in the Championship women's single, Stone was attempting to win her eight and set a new record for number of wins in the event that was previously held solely by two-time Olympic silver medalist Anne Marden, who won seven between 1986 and 1993.
Winning eight Head of the Charles championships, in any event, is a difficult enough thing to pull off, but it is especially daunting given that Stone "retired" from competitive racing after taking silver in Rio and is being consumed by everything a medical residency requires.
Those viewing the attempt from a distance wondered if Stone had been training enough and could hold off a highly competitive field of women, including Felice Mueller and Mary Jones, both of whom just raced in the 2017 World Rowing Championships just weeks ago. Jones, a lightweight, won silver at the World Champs and Mueller was seventh in the open event.
But those who know Stone, knew the record had meaning and that to her and that she has, in fact, been training with Jones throughout the summer, were confident she could win. Even Marden was on hand to support the effort.
Stone did not disappoint and when she rounded the final turn after passing her home club and rowing a perfect line under the Elliot Bridge, she was well ahead of the field and on her way to another win.
And then she jumped into the shower at the Weld Boathouse where she keeps her single and helps out coaching the Harvard women, rode her bike to her apartment to get in her car and drive to Maine for a mandatory retreat for the Beth Israel Deaconess residents.
But just before she got out of town, Stone took a minute to talk about her achievement and the race with row2k.
row2k: I think everybody around Boston who knows you believed you were going to win, but with you being in retirement there were people who wondered if you could. What was that like? Did you think you could?
Stone: Yes. But it's stressful though when it gets the start line and people are going like, "Oh, you're just going to beat up on us." And I'm like, "no, I swear I don't know if that's true." I've been in residency. I've been training a little bit and I know the course and how the steering, but I have to work hard. It's not easy to win this. There are a lot of fast people.
row2k: Tell me about the race? You were pretty much out in front the entire way.
Stone: It was difficult in that there was a little bit of a headwind. But conditions generally throughout were pretty perfect. I can't complain. It's difficult to race a time trial I think, in a way. I had opened it up on Stesha Carle, [who started second and finished ninth], and she hasn't been training either. I think I thrive on competition. It's hard to race with kind of no one in sight and that's a mental battle and it definitely was a mental battle that I had with myself today, which was how much can I continue to push myself.
But, it's definitely a fun challenge in a way and it's why we row because finding out how fast can you go is a fun challenge. At the same time it's challenging so when you're in the moment it's a constant mental battle to try see how deep you can dig. I mean, I definitely think maybe it hurts a little more being a little bit more out of shape.
row2k: So, now you're the record holder.
Stone: Yes and Anne Marden, who was the prior record holder, lives in England now and she came to Boston this weekend to see me try to beat her record which, when I heard that after my race, I started crying. That's as supportive as anyone could be and it means a lot.
row2k: Now for the big question - will you come back for another Olympic run? And how many times have you been asked?
Stone: A lot. And I still don't know the answer. It's really stressful. It's a really big question and I don't know. There's a lot of emotion involved, and I wish I had an answer.
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10/23/2017 10:33:39 AM
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