Neither Wind Nor Rain Could Stop the 2015 USRowing National Head Race Championship

by Stories and Photos by Ed Moran, | Oct 03, 2015
head1LOWELL, Mass. – The conditions were anything but ideal on the Merrimack River in Lowell, Mass. for the 2015 USRowing National Head Race Championship.

The sky was gray, the air chilly and a light rain fell, adding to already swollen and fast flowing river that has been flooded with three days of a fall storm that covered much of the Northeast. It didn’t help that a steady wind whipped the surface into a swirl of white caped waves.

It was not a comfortable morning for racing. But it didn’t stop the more than ninety crews that traveled to Lowell to race in what many saw as an opportunity to get in an early head race and test their speed against solid competition.

“These were the roughest conditions I think I have ever rowed in for a race,” said Merrimac River Rowing Association’s Erin Lallemand, who won her event in the masters B women’s single. “I liked it. You heard a lot of complaints about the weather, but you can’t control the weather. It’s October in New England. You just kind of have to roll with it. I liked it because I like being challenged.

“I had a good start. It was really strong and I had a good stroke rate and pretty much maintained a high stroke rate until I got to that pump house area where the water was absolutely rough and insane, and that’s where I had to drop my stroke and focus on being clean, which I think helped,” she said.

It could have been worse. Hurricane Joaquin has been churning up the Atlantic Ocean and had been predicted earlier in the week to make a possible landfall right on New England. As it turned out the system veered away into the ocean, leaving the weekend relatively suitable for racing.

head2Saturday was the Head Race National Championship, which is scheduled to be followed by the Textile River Regatta Sunday that will include racing for junior and club crews. Saturday’s event was sponsored by USRowing and the MRRA.

In all, 23 events were held Saturday with championships being awarded in many different masters age divisions. “The regatta went off well,” said USRowing Events Manager, A.J. Dominique. “The weather held out enough for us to get everything in and everyone that raced had a good time. It was well received by those that were here and everyone was in good sprits,” Dominique said.

Even if some thought just getting down the course was victory enough.

“We survived today, so it was a good race,” said Ginger Rekemeyer, who rowed in a women’s E masters four from the Quinsigamond Rowing Club.  “We finished third overall and first in our age group. So we were happy. It was a good day for us.”

For results click here.
To see the photo gallery, go here.
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