Bromfield Acton-Boxborough crews fight currents, bring home bling

The Merrimack River in Lowell was running swiftly, causing crews to adjust their strokes and strategies at the Amber Zapatka Memorial Regatta in Lowell May 11 and 12. By the end of the weekend, the necks of Bromfield Acton-Boxborough rowers and coxes hung heavy with medals: seven gold, four silver, and one bronze.

Crews raced in time trials under clear skies Saturday for placement in final heats, which were mostly on Sunday. “Learning how to push yourself in a time trial without the stimulation of side-by-side racing can be challenging,” said Holly Hatton, the team’s program director and head girls varsity coach. “Our second varsity 4 learned that the hard way. Their time trial put them in the B final, but when they raced in that final, they won going away. Their time would have placed them third in the A final, a live-and-learn situation,” she said.

Though the weather turned murky on Sunday, the river conditions didn’t change much for the finals. “The current was flowing very fast. I gather some crews just couldn’t get on the stake boat and were disqualified,” Hatton said, referring to the way boats line up at the start. “All of our teams handled this issue well,” she said of the BA-B boys and girls.

Christopher Clark warms up before winning a gold in the lightweight single class.  (Courtesy photo)

Brian DeDominici, the boys head varsity coach, agreed. “The flow was high and the boys had a good chance to feel the effects the current can have on the start of a race. This will be a big help next weekend when we race again in Lowell,” he said. The USRowing Northeast Youth Championship will be held at the same site May 18 and 19. That regional contest is typically held on Worcester’s Lake Quinsigamond, which is, as its name suggests, a lake, and not a river with a variable current. Crews that finish in the top three of their event at regionals will advance to the national championship in Sarasota, Florida, in June, so the extra practice could indeed make a difference.

DeDominici did not race an 8 in the Zapatka regatta, choosing to focus on smaller boats that he plans to enter at regionals. “The potential regionals lineups all placed highly in their events, and many of the other boys got experience in new boat classes or positions,” he said. “It was a great opportunity to get us prepared for our last two regular season races.”

Bare Hill Rowing will offer an introductory rowing program this summer for ages sixth-grade through adults; no experience is necessary. In five one-hour classes, new rowers will learn all the basics. The course costs $175 for one week. Visit barehillrowing.com to learn more and register.

Amber Zapatka Memorial Regatta Results

Varsity boys

  • Lightweight single: Christopher Clark, 1st; 7:23.157
  • Lightweight double: Kevin Yu, Christopher Clark, 4th in A final; 6:41.290. Brian Borghesani, Michael Ornek, 1st in B final; 7:32.567.
  • Pair: Ben Buchovecky, Stefan Scornavacca, 2nd in A final; 6:56.287
  • First varsity 4+: Dwight Fairchild, Ben Buchovecky, Stefan Scornavacca, Kevin Yu, and coxswain Amy Zhu, 2nd in A final; 6:24.754
  • Second varsity 4+: Sam Jackson, Will Bardenheuer, John Babcock, Max Ewing, and coxswain Arjun Khurana, 1st; 6:37.890. Tommy Vialle, Sebastian Parker, Ben Molnar, Ryan Camposano, and coxswain Amy Zhu, 5th; 7:09.314
  • Quad: Brian Borghesani, Timur Sahin, Olivier Bradley, and Matthew Atwell, 2nd in B final; 6:39.660

Varsity girls

  • Double: Emma Perkins, Hana Chytil, 1st in C final; 8:30.814
  • Pair: Molly O’Neill, Grace White, 4th in A final; 7:41.680
  • Lightweight 4+: Emma Gresco-Caulfield, Arianna Thornton, Audrey Maxwell, Catherine Zhou, and coxswain Rachel Shrives, 2nd in A final; 7:16.086
  • First varsity 4+: Anna Shlimak, Summer Maxwell, Katherine Fay, Kaylee Liu, and coxswain Sila Inanoglu, 3rd in A final; 6:57.451
  • Second varsity 4+: Jackie Sater, Sophia Defoe, Celeste Keep, Brooke Bourgeois, and coxswain Chloe Kranz, 1st in B final; 7:35.908. Julia Hawes, Hannah Dennison, Hayley Minar, Polina Bolberova, 1st in C final; 7:54.010.
  • First varsity 8+: Anna Shlimak, Summer Maxwell, Katherine Fay, Kaylee Liu, Grace White, Molly O’Neill, Arianna Thornton, Emma Gresco-Caulfield, 4th in A final; 6:27.666
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