Rowing to the Fall Finish Line: Crew Team Wraps Successful Season at Bill Braxton Regatta

By Jack Sullivan ’19

The Chaminade crew team capped off a successful 2016 fall season this weekend in the 43rd annual Bill Braxton Memorial Regatta, held in Windsor Township, New Jersey on Mercer Lake.  This event honors a popular and inspirational rower for Marietta College, who was killed in 1973 in an automobile accident.  His family hosts the regatta in his name, Bill Braxton, while inviting some of the most prestigious high school, college, and club teams in the nation.

“We are flying,” said head coach Mr. John Callinan ’84 on crew’s fall season.  Last weekend, Chaminade’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th varsity boats, along with its 2nd freshman boat, won all of their races at Fordham Prep.  The Flyers were able to outperform tough opponents such as Fordham Prep, Iona Prep, St. Peters, and Don Basco in that tournament, an indicator of the team’s readiness for Sunday, November 13 in New Jersey.

The crew team is on the water in preparation for the Bill Braxton Regatta, the last of the season.
The crew team is on the water in preparation for the Bill Braxton Regatta, the last of the season.

The Flyers looked to continue their winning ways and complete a fantastic fall season on Mercer Lake, where Coach Callinan’s varsity boat won the event last year.  This year, the coach was counting on his varsity team of six seniors and three juniors, some of whom have earned college scholarships to elite Division 1 schools, to bring home a victory.  The regatta was comprised of one-mile sprint races, with six boats competing in each race.  Despite the fierce, 18-boat competition, the varsity boats ended the weekend with a solid performance, wrapping the tournament with two finishers in the top six.

The JV Flyers also had a stellar performance in the regatta.  One of the four JV boats took home a 1st place win, while two others finished with silver medals.  Finally, two novice boats entered the regatta, one of which was composed exclusively of freshmen who were able to seize the day by capturing a gold medal for the Flyers.  Coach Callinan praised this particular boat, noting that these freshmen have worked extremely hard for the past three months and that he is excited to see their efforts pay off.

Coach Callinan was exceptionally pleased with how the Flyers have performed throughout the season as a whole unit. “I can’t give one boat the MVP because it was truly a team effort,” he said.

The Flyers’ outstanding season is certain testimony that they can compete with anyone out on the water.  Both coaches and players alike were thrilled with the Flyers’ sendoff as the season closed with the Bill Braxton Regatta, and the team anticipates rowing its way back to victory next spring.