A true theme of the regatta is the grand reunion of rowers. Like Veterans of Foreign Wars these rowers will don old rowing gear from their college, club and National teams and will put together crews for nostalgic visit and strokes together. The starting area where teams are preparing for their race is a "time warp," says coxswain Yaz Farooq. Down below the starting line "you recognize rowers in their racing unisuits more than in their street clothes."
The 10th anniversary reunion row for the U.S. women's Olympic silver-medal four without coxswain from the 1992 Barcelona Games... Amy Fuller, Carol Feeney, Cindy Rusher (nee Eckert) and Shaela Donahoe rowing under UCLA in the Champ 4, will again put their feet in a boat and blades in the water for the first time since the Olympic Final. Coxswain for the four, 1992 eight, Yaz Farooq says she will, "hang those turns," and bring the summer of '92 back to life on race day. "I am pretty possessive about the Charles River," Yaz states, "We spent thousands of hours training here for the Olympics. The 'powerhouse stretch' (Western Street Bridge to Weeks Footbridge) is where we raced off and eventually selected 1992 Olympic Team. Boston and in particular Boston Rowing Center was the home for the US women's training camp from 1990 to 1992 will come back and pay tribute. "In the basin there is a friendly distraction before the three mile kick in the pants."
Practiced Veteran of the fall reunion is Mary McCagg, 1989 Harvard University graduate, two time Olympian and World Champion, says, "I found that you cannot really get more than 20 yards without stopping to talk to someone. That is why my non-rowing brother doesn't come any more, he can't stand the getting nowhere fast of it all." But she says, "My Mom and Dad love it. They take the day on Saturday to see everyone on the walk from Weld Boathouse to Magazine Beach, and spend Sunday in the sanctuary of Weld only leaving to visit some exotic vendor for lunch and perhaps a small bag of kettle corn."
Reunion 1980, Etas Unis RC and 1980 Rowing Club, the Men and Women reunion crews from the 1980 Olympic games. No US athlete was able to compete in the Moscow Games because of the Carter Administration Olympic boycott of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. After 22 years they still have fun racing but there is still deep and raw emotions about the Olympic boycott. Cary Graves, now the University of Texas Women's rowing Coach says it was the 'tightest team' she has ever participated. She has come away with a lot of positive feelings, commitment to each other and removing the 'Olympic' part of training. "Why she did the sport surfaced in the turmoil of 1980. She adds, "We kept pushing to be faster despite the political process going on around us."
University of Wisconsin - After winning the 2002 EARC Eastern Sprints last May and putting several members on the US National Team, how does Coach Chris Clark keep it all in perspective after two team members deaths in the past year? (Dylan Cappel was diagnosed with cancer June 2001 died last January 2002. Four year Wisconsin letterman, Allan Geweke [pronounced 'Getakey'] a 'walk on' in 1997 died this past summer.) Chris Clark says, "I try to keep Dylan and Allan alive in the minds of my rowers, they were two of the toughest guys Wisconsin ever had." He adds, "I have the utmost respect for the character and resilience of the rower's mind." Wisconsin rowers will be putting themselves out on the business end of the oar at he Head Of The Charles Regatta and will leave it all on the table.
Cell Phones and reuniting and family: One reunion go-er says, there is lots of cell phone calling... "I am still here"... "I am not going to be there for a while." At the end of the day she says to her Dad, "what did we ever do at the Charles without cell phones?" Dad answers with a smile, "you had to be considerate and meet your family when you said you would."