Racing on a National Level- A Rower’s Experience


Ari Solomon, Staff Writer

   The weekend of Nov. 2nd through the 3rd, the Tampa Prep Crew Team went to the Head of the Hooch in Chattanooga, Tenn. This regatta is a large competition with crews from around the country, especially the south.Not only do high school crews compete, but master rowers and collegiate rowers compete as well. The regatta has over 2,000 entries over the course of the weekend and has been running since 1982. 

   This is the second year that the team chose to attend this incredible regatta. It is very exciting to travel with your team, especially when your team consists of your best friends. 

   As this is my third year rowing, I am comfortable with the team and racing, so the regatta was overall extremely fun.

   Our team shared a boat trailer with the USF rowing team. Due to a missing axel and a teeter-tottering trailer, both teams raced to get all of the boats off of the trailer. The next two days were whirlwinds of exciting racing from every boat. While the weather was cold and windy, the crew team braved it and truly showed what Tampa Prep is about.

   The team raced two Women’s Youth 4+’s, 2 Men’s Youth 4+’s, a Women’s Youth 2x, a Women’s Youth 1x, a Men’s Youth 2- , a Men’s Youth Novice 1x, and a Mixed Youth 8+. I raced in the A Women’s Varsity 4+, and the Mixed Youth 8+. Both were extremely fun races. 

   While racing hurts, rowing up to the start is the most aggravating part of the entire race. Overall, the course is 5,000 meters, but with an extremely strong current, rowing up to the starting line feels like a lifetime. Not only is the current strong, but so is the wind, so it is extremely cold as you prepare to race.

   As you row into the starting line, you go in a single-file line with the other boats that you are competing with. The adrenaline starts to build as you enter the “shoot” right before you start. 

   Once we start, the current takes us with it and makes us 10x faster than we normally are. As you we raced to the finish line you pass other boats and try to hold your competitors off. 

   Right before you reach the last 500 meters, you go through three bridges that parents and supporters are screaming on. 

   As you go through the last bridge before the finish line, you hear the announcers say your team and your boat. You zoom by the parent tents and the dock, and you wait for your bow to pass the finish line. As you pass the finish line, you breathe a sigh of relief because the pain is over, and you are proud of what you did. 

   With the help of our coaches and our team parents, the Tampa Prep Crew team was able to beat our Tampa competition, and to come home a successful and proud crew.