Flushing, NY – Braving cold temperatures and blustery weather, six adaptive athletes
from Rockland Rowing Association closed out a successful 2017 season at a
scrimmage hosted by Row New York on Veterans Day, November 11. Held on the
lagoon built for the 1964 Worlds Fair in Queens, the event included two 1,000 meter
races, one for AS (arms & shoulders) entrants and one for composite LTA (legs, trunk,
arms) entries and the racing ended with a “battle of the barges” for sweep rowers between
the local and the express barges. RRA shared the day with almost 200 youth athletes from
RowNY’s three boathouses in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan, who celebrated a
potluck Friendsgiving following the competition.
Six RRA adaptive rowers competed: Ron Gold, Caren Landis, Sheila Savage, Janet
Gonzalez, Dominic Romano, and Ryan Bolster. “You guys make me so proud,” noted
Coach Greta Nettleton. “The weather was really brutal but everyone showed up and raced
to the best of their abilities.” Due to the adverse conditions, the course was shortened
from 2,000 to 1,000 meters; Ron Gold and Caren Landis fought a 10 mph headwind in
the Wintech with two fixed seats, but still made a time of 11:28. Sheila Savage raced for
the first time, in a composite boat with Coach Greta in the stroke seat, and registered a
time of 9:54.
“I think we are really coming together as quite a nice team,” enthused Caren after the
race. "When I got home, I got under the blankets and didn’t come out until the next
morning!” Sheila added, “It was a great day and fun!!” Janet, Ryan, and Dominic
tried the barge for the first time and for those working with hemiplegic-type issues,
sweep rowing proved an excellent solution. Janet noted, “It is great for training…it’s
extremely sturdy for new rowers.”
Helen Hayes Hospital provided the bus to bring most of the RRA rowers to Queens. “I
remain very appreciative of your open arms for people w/physical challenges and I’m so
glad we’ve got the beginning of a good team,” declared HHH Adapted Sports and
Recreation Coordinator Eileen Andreassi.
Row New York’s host coach Carolina Quijada was thrilled to see RRA again after the
Bayada Regatta in August, and proposed another meet for local adaptive athletes
on Rockland Lake this spring.