On Oct. 19, a sunny and windy Sunday, hundreds of crew teams from across the United States and the world competed in the 50th annual Head of the Charles in Boston, the ultimate race that ends the primary rowing season. The river, which winds its way through the city, shone in the bright sun, but even brighter were the two silver medals earned by the Old Lyme Rowing Association / Blood Street Sculls.
“This is a great accomplishment,” declared Head Coach Steve Baranoski, continuing, “Dedication, hard work, and tremendous support from the board, families, the town, and the school all contributed to this win.” Baranoski took seven high school students to the contest, five of who are competing in their senior year before heading to college.
One medal was earned in the Young Men Fours race by Lyme-Old Lyme High School seniors, Liam Corrigan, Harry Godfrey-Fogg, Josh Swanski, and Thomas Crisp and Madison High School junior, Jeremy Newton. The boys placed second with a time of 17:33.69 minutes – only seven seconds off first place – to complete the 4800 meter (2.98 mile) race in the field of 84 crews from all over the world.
In a race of doubles Lyme-Old Lyme High School students Brandon Green, a senior, and Peter Fuchs a junior, rowed a strong double race coming in 15th (28th) among 42 entries in the Men Youths Double. They rowed the 4800 meters in 19:47.17 minutes — just 1.32 minutes less than the winners.
Another silver medal was earned in the Director’s Challenge Women’s Quads by Charlotte Hollings, Candace Fuchs, Peggy Johnston, and Kacey Elfstrom. These master rowers finished second out of 30 competitors in their 4800 meter race, which they completed in 19:23.23 minutes only 23 second off the lead.
“It’s a great honor for me to coach this team that competes and finishes so well against a stacked international field,” Baranoski said. He added, “The team has worked incredibly hard and dedicated hours to this goal in all kinds of weather. We practice before school at 5:30 a.m. and then again after school at 3 p.m.” Noting that the whole team had stayed focused and dedicated to this race, he commented, “They entered the race with a mission to do well and they all did. These team members showed a level of perseverance and focus in addition to remarkable skill and expert rowing.”
The Head of the Charles is the equivalent of the World Series of racing and the Old Lyme Racing Association / Blood Street Sculls prepared for this race throughout the season. This year’s performance winning silver medals was a marked improvement over the last year when the 4+ came in 25th.
Coach Baranoski noted that the performance in this premier race, “Shows how the program is progressing. This club can compete with the best crews and belongs with the elite rowing groups.” He attributes the success to the creative, involved board members, supportive parents, and enthusiastic, dedicated team members.
Adding, “I am very fortunate to be a part of this club and to help it achieve success as a competitive program,” Baranoski concluded, “We have great athletes on both the boys and girls team. I invite others to join. We need members of all ages and levels.”
Next weekend the team will race again at the Head of the Fish in Saratoga, N.Y.