CLRA Competes At John Bennett Regatta

From the left, Cooper Thomas and Joe Dahlgren of the Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association near the finish line in the Novice boys race at the John Bennett Regatta on the Black Rock Canal in Buffalo on May 6. Submitted photo

Press release from Jim Odrzywolski, 5/14/18 for Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association attendance to the John Bennett Regatta, on the Black Rock Canal, Buffalo May 6, 2018.

BUFFALO — The Chautauqua Lake Rowing high school team raced on the Black Rock Canal earlier this month. This race now draws teams from Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario; Erie and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Cleveland, plus the strong teams from Rochester and Buffalo.

More than 230 boat crews were in attendance on a beautiful racing day, with light winds, flat water, and comfortable temperatures. Preliminary races were set up as time trials with boats released every 15 seconds. Only the top four in each category advanced to any final, which are held as side-by-side races. Each of the CLRA boats competed against the clock.

CLRA sent six crews to the water. Two were boys and with girls in the other boats. The girls’ 8+ was the first race of the day. Alexis Barron, Anna Burt, Keeley Hayes, Shannon McKee, Leah Saxton, Lilli Baer, Tori Lai, Susan Bowers and steersman Makenna Graham finished ninth overall.

The boys took to the water next with the Varsity 4+ boys up first. Jacob Carlson, Blake Terry, Drew Laurin, Frankie Farrell, and steersman Cassie Spillane rowed well, by far their strongest race of the young season. Their finishing time placed them 12th. Novice boys, with crew consisting of Joe Dahlgren, Cooper Thomas, Tage Roehm, Carson Hanson, and steersman Emma Abers, were up next. They rowed the 1500-meter course to a 12th-place finish.

As the afternoon began, the remaining races faced a steady headwind. Novice 4 girls Berit Abers, Luna Thanning, Sophia Simons, Rita Svetanics, and coxswain Alex McKee, rowed well together. An equipment problem 100 meters from the end of the race resulted in some lost time. Even so, they finished a respectable 13th. In the final race for CLRA, two women’s 4s were entered. Women’s varsity 4 with Alexis Barron, Anna Burt, Tori Lai, Susan Bowers and steersman Makenna Graham rowing solidly finished seventh. The second varsity boat in the race consisted of Leah Saxton, Shannon McKee, Keeley Hayes, Lilli Baer and steersman Anna Jones. This crew finished 14th.

The high school team next heads to Saratoga Springs for the New York State Championships. To learn more about high school rowing, visit the teams web site at