On Sunday, October 9th, rowers from Navesink River Rowing travelled to the Upper Merion Boat Club in Bridgeport, PA to compete in their first regatta of the fall racing season. They returned with medals in 8 events – 4 gold and 4 silver – plus 3 third places finishes, in what NRR Youth Coach Mark Malone describes as “one of our best overall team performances ever.”
Both NRR youth (age 14-18) and Masters (NRR adult rowers up to age 70) participated in the 2011 King’s Head of the Schuylkill Regatta, rowing the 3-mile course in single, double and quadruple (quad) sculls. Many, including some of the medal winners, were racing for the first time.
“It’s been a crazy season so far,” said Coach Malone, a Rumson resident and champion rower himself, “We’ve had to contend with injuries to our rowers; illness. Practices and even regattas have been cancelled due to weather conditions. We were changing boat line-ups right up to the last minute.”
Just two days before the race, when one youth broke his ankle, 15-year-old novice rower Tad Gaffey of Locust was “thrown into the A boat” with more experienced rowers Dughan Ahimovic of Fair Haven and Brendan Sullivan and Salvador Tecalero, Red Bank. With only one practice together, the newly formed foursome finished second in the Men’s High School Quad (4X) race, earning a silver medal and, with a time of 16 minutes and 36 seconds (16:36), the distinction of being the fastest NRR boat of the day.
Gold medals also went to Sean F. Byrnes, Esq, of Red Bank, who took home two – one in the Men’s Club single (1X) event and another rowing with his son Aidan, 15 in the Father/Son Double (2x).
Coach Malone (Rumson) and his youngest daughter Kelsey, 17, won the Father/Daughter 2x event. Malone has now rowed in and won a parent/child race with each of his 4 children.
With an average age of 55, the crew composed of John Crilly, Shrewsbury, Linda Ensor and Trish Russoniello, all Red Bank, and Charlie Gross, Lincroft, came away with a gold medal in the Senior Masters Mixed Quad event.
In addition to the Men’s High School 4x, silver medals went to NRR rowers in three more events. John Crilly placed second in the Men’s Senior Master (45-54) 1X race. “He’s taken his rowing to another level this year,” Malone said. Crilly also coaches NRR youth.
Malone and Marc Damien of the Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania Barge Club earned a silver medal in the Men’s Senior Masters 2x event. Their blistering pace of 16:50 was by far the fastest raw time in this age-handicapped race, but fell just short of first place once times were adjusted for rowers’ age.
Placing second in the Women’s Masters 4X race was the crew of Lynn Clark, Red Bank, Sandra Talarico, Little Silver, Linda Decelle, Rumson, and Linda Ensor. Of the 3 NRR boats entered in this event, they were the top finisher.
Coach Malone emphasizes, “While winning medals is definitely gratifying, we couldn’t be more pleased by the performance, sportsmanship and team-spirit shown by all of our rowers, youth and adults, old hands and those not just rowing in but attending a rowing regatta for the first time.”