Chautauqua Lake Rowing Club Competes In Pittsford Regatta

The Chautauqua Lake Rowing Club’s high school team competed in the Pittsford Regatta on the Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Submitted photo

The Chautauqua Lake Rowing Club’s high school team concluded its competitive season with the traditional Pittsford Regatta on the Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.

The regatta was held on the Erie Canal near Rochester. While the course at 1,200 meters is shorter than the official spring sprint of 1,500 meters, the canal is relatively narrow making overtaking other boats a challenge. The home team, Pittsford Crew, is one of the strongest teams in New York state, and took part along with several other teams from the state. Each day of the event is considered an independent regatta. On Saturday, the girls’ events are all in 4-person shells while the boys row in 8’s. On Sunday, the boat size is reversed.

Each day, the individual crews must qualify to reach a semifinal by racing time-trial events. In these races the crews are released one boat at a time about every 15 seconds alternately in one of two racing lanes. The top four boats in each category make one of two semifinals. Summer-like heat and humidity prevailed during both days of racing. On Saturday, the CLRA had three girls’ boats, second varsity 4+, novice 4+, and a first varsity 4+. The second varsity crew of Leah Saxton, Lilli Baer, Sarah Quadt, Keeley Hayes and steersman Anna Jones finished seventh in 5:23.58, just ahead of Mercyhurst from Erie, Pennsylvania. Next up was the novice boat with Berit Abers, Sophia Simons, Zara Miles and Rita Svetanics rowing, steersman duties falling to Alex McKee. These young women also finished seventh in the time of 6:17.35. The final race of the day belonged to the first varsity boat of Alexis Barron, Anna Burt, Tori Lai, Susan Bowers and steersman Cassie Spillane. Although their time was a fast 5:04.07, a mere 1 second out of contention for a semifinal, it resulted in a sixth-place finish.

On Sunday, both the CLRA boys and girls took to the water of the Erie Canal. First to hit the water were the novice boys of Tage Roehm, Cooper Thomas, Joe Dalhgren, Drew Laurin and steersman Emma Abers. The raced to a solid time of 5:07.69 and fourth place entitling them to a semifinal against the first-place finisher later in the morning. The varsity boys crew of Jake Carlson, Blake Terry, Carson Hanson, Frankie Farrell and steersman Cassie Spillane rowed next. Even with the fast time of 4:40.89 they wound up in eighth position, but only 5 seconds out of fourth place. Final time trial event of the weekend for CLRA was the girls 8+ consisting of Alexis Barron, Anna Burt, Leah Saxton, Lilli Baer, Sarah Quadt, Susan Bowers, Shannon McKee, Keeley Hayes and steersman Makenna Graham. The young women finished ninth overall.

For the final racing of the day, the novice 4+ boys of Tage Roehm, Cooper Thomas, Joe Dahlgren, Drew Laurin and steersman Emma Abers, would race in so-called Henley-style racing in which two boats race in head-to-head competition from a stationary start. CLRA was faced with a daunting task in having to race against the first place Pittsford crew boat. The home team got an excellent start and held that lead throughout the race leaving the CLRA boys in second place. The Pittsford crew would go on later that morning to win the overall title for the Novice 4 boys.

For more information on high school rowing, see the high school links at