Thank you to Our Amazing Regatta Volunteers

Thank you to Our Amazing Regatta Volunteers

Special thanks to Phil Planes for creating another amazing highlight video of our regattas. You can download/share this video online at

Greetings Rowers & Crew Parents,
Thank you to all of you who helped host the 2024 Bethany Medical North Regatta Rowing Championships on Saturday. This was easily by far our best regatta yet and we did it with perhaps our most inexperienced team of rowers and volunteers we've had in 10 years. But everyone pulled together and our veteran rowers and parents led the way! It was no easy task but the weather was on our side and there was no 3-4 hour drive home like the typical regatta.

Please share the video above online with your social circle. Let's show the world what we have accomplished as a team!

It takes a great effort to pull off an event of the magnitude of our regattas. In literally 48 hours we set up a venue for almost 4,000 people from scratch and then take it all down again so that there is no sign that we were ever there.

There are so many of you to not only thank but to heap praise upon! I was truly in awe at the way our Masters, youth and crew parents stepped up. Going into the regatta I feel our team leaders this year had a better grip on how to assign and train our new rowers and parents on what to do. Special Thank you to Erin Sanders and Stacey Finch for leading the way this year! Erin has really figured out down to the smallest detail how to set up the Regatta Lounge and position everything in Festival Park so that all the trailers and boats fit - no matter how many additional teams I keep letting in after we have gone way over the cap. Stacey not only has her finish line & results crew of Laurie Briggs, Rob Finch, Mark & Kelly Hrycay, Katy Bleakney fully prepared at all times but she also has all other volunteers reassured that ‘yes, there is some method to Gene’s madness and it will (should?) all be OK.’

We got started early this time on Thursday, which I learned makes a huge difference! The kids rowed the boats across, parents shuttled them back and forth and also got much of the bike rack in place. Huge thanks to Anthony Berg, Phoebe Clutter, Calvin Hrycay, Lyndon Briggs and Kylie Stewart for leading the team effort to make this process seamless. What a great start!

On Friday we hit the Erg Room to load up the UHaul truck with regatta supplies. Thank you Julie Curtis, Katy Bleakney, Abi Copeland, Shelli York, Alisha & David Schwanke, George Desser, Dave Nicoletta and I know there were also a few others who I apologize for not remembering here. We then unloaded at Festival Park where we were met with additional support from Stacey & Rob Finch, Lynne Klauer, Tanya Stewart, Christy Dyson, Mark & Kelly Hrycay, Lily Medina, Amal Salah, Sandy Franks, and Dave Gignac & Steve McCusker who were directing boat trailer parking. Chris Lengyel picked up the regatta shirts from the printer. The tent frames were put together, banners were attached to the bike rack and Coach Rob installed the large triangle safety buoys on the course. Y’all quickly got so much done!

Then it was Race Day! Getting cars into the venue has been a big struggle in past years. So, I went down to the park entrance at 5:45am where our volunteers were collecting money and directing cars and discovered they were incredibly efficient. Y’all got 700 cars parked before 9AM. Thank you Daniel, Valerie, Carrie, Alec, Sam, Ellie, George, and Alex - and I know there were others!

Realizing things were about to kick off I returned back up the hill to see Lynne (who deserves a laurel) standing watch at the gate and then found the Apparel Shop and Duck Bar were already set up and looking fabulous - thank you to all who assisted in this process - especially Mark Hrycay and Rob Finch who led the building efforts. It felt like yesterday when last year I pointed at heavy bags and said to Chris & Sandy Franks (Rebekkah and Sophia's parents) and Mark (Calvin's Dad) "this is a very large tent. Please set it up over there for the apparel shop." And Meghan (Alex's mum), who was handed boxes of t-shirts in the erg room Friday and told - "these need to be sold tomorrow." They did it then and this year we sold almost double the amount of shirts!

The Regatta Lounge looked resplendent thanks to our set up & host committee of Erin Sanders, Jackie King, Stacey Finch, Dave Gignac Debbie Citta, Lily Medina, Julie Curtis. What really makes the Regatta Lounge look stunning is the flower arrangements prepared each year by Shelli York - she does them all!

Now mentioning Shelli, it breaks my heart to say she had a nasty fall on the recovery dock on Saturday and broke her wrist. Shelli is a founding member of our first Masters crew and soon approaching her 10 year anniversary with the club. I cannot recount how many times and ways Shelli and her husband Brandon have contributed to the vitality of this club over these years. I personally put a lot of effort into making this regatta a fun and safe event for all and it sickens me that someone was injured while volunteering to help make it safe. I have promised Brandon that I will put even more effort into ensuring that we have a new floating recovery dock in place before our next regatta so that this never happens again. I am so grateful to all of you who were working at the recovery dock on Saturday.

On a lighter note, Bravo again to Lyndon for bringing her Westchester Country Day School friends to man the finish line horn all day. Thank you to Bev Snively and Carrie Bunton for training Alisha and Jen Lyon on how to run Boat Check and to John & Alison Luderman who took over later in the day. I can't say enough about the Finish Line squad. Wow! Not only did you figure out how to do the most important job of the regatta - the timing and results were perfect!

Out on the water, the rowers were in the capable hands of alums Sarah McKinney at the 1,000m mark and Kinkead Crotts at the starting line. Jim Davis (Rowan’s Dad) was also out in his private boat and kept crews from wandering onto the course near the launch dock. Coach Rob was at the finish line marshaling crews safely back to shore. Together they safely started 445 crews in 90 races in one day! Races were barely ever more than a few minutes behind ever, which is incredible.

When boats returned to dock, special thanks to Coach Mallory Atkinson who was our dockmaster and all who worked the recovery dock including Christy Dyson, Valerie Lavoie, George Desser , Leo Havlen, and Nelsen Citta.

More accolades to Brandon York (Shelli’s husband) for setting up the P.A. system and getting the music rolling. They donated the sound system to the team and what an impact the music has on setting the mood. And I am also grateful to Dave Schwanke for taking over for Brandon who had to take Shelli to the hospital.

Of course, Tanya (Kylie's mum) once again did a fabulous job at sorting the medals into envelopes for winning teams and Amal (Layla’s mum) and Amy (Dillon’s mom) handled all the medical scrapes and bruises throughout the day.

A new addition to the regatta this year was the Duck Bar. Thank you to Julie & Charlie Hiatt (Ridge’s parents) for taking on this project and turning it into a winner with the volunteer assistants Kate Spoon and Dena Bregman. A bunch of local High Point folks came out to watch the races enticed by this new attraction and y’all made it so welcoming and fun. You even judged the Best in Show dog competition!

I cannot finish before again recognizing our amazing, many time Masters MVP, Erin Sanders, who managed the Regatta Lounge set up, organized the police and fire department presence, and also snuck in two races herself! I have said this before, the Regatta lounge was introduced in 2022 for our sponsors, Bethany Medical and the Lenny Peters Foundation, and I simply said to Erin - "make it feel like the Wyndham Championships" - and Erin had it looking absolutely gorgeous and welcoming all day. Special thanks also here to Dave Nicoletta (Katie’s Dad) of Giannos who catered amazing hot food for our rowers, volunteers and VIP guests.

I know there are many volunteers not mentioned here. I am grateful to you all especially those who helped unload at the erg room or stayed late to get the kids shuttled back and forth. This regatta could never be as amazing as it was without all of you.

Finally, all of this - we do for the rowers. And what an outstanding performance our youth and masters achieved on the water. The team was self managed and led by the team captains, Phoebe, Calvin, Anthony and Lyndon all day and they ensured all the boats made it safely back to the other side after racing. The whole team did an amazing job getting the fleet back to base. We will be handing out well deserved medals this afternoon at practice. Congratulations to all our rowers for medals won and races hard fought!

Thank you,
P.S. my wife Amy was pretty helpful too ; )