Augusta Rowing Club enjoys smoother run at regatta



LANGLEY — After the strong winds stopped competition last year and the recent ice storm halted practice plans, the Augusta Rowing Club finally caught a weather break at home.

The club had its first race of the season at the 2014 Augusta Invitational Regatta on Saturday at Langley Pond under calm conditions with temperatures in the mid-60s by noon. It all meant for a smoother run than last year’s event.

The College of Charleston won the overall college competition, followed by Georgia State and Davidson.

In the high school division, the Asheville (N.C.) Youth Rowing Association came in first, Triangle Rowing Club of Raleigh, N.C., was second and St. Johns Country Day School from Orange Park, Fla., was third.

Augusta’s junior team has about 30 members, with the athletes participating in sweep and sculling rowing.

In sweep, each rower had one oar; sculling required two.

Davidson Fine Arts senior Madison Kelly raced in both double and quad events. Kelly has been rowing for three years, taking up the sport after a cousin convinced her to try it.

Assessing the obstacles that come with double as opposed to quad, Kelly said they both present challenges.

“Since there’s less people, it’s easy to steer and it’s lighter,” she said about double. “But with less people, there’s less power. With quads, it’s harder to steer, but you can get a lot more power.”

Holden Usherwood, a senior at Greenbrier, also usually competes in double and quad events. Originally wanting to go to the Naval Academy, Usherwood looked into athletic options. He’s been rowing for about four years and now looks forward to getting the collegiate military experience he always wanted at The Citadel.

He called rowing the ultimate team sport.

“Everybody is bonding through that pain and wind,” Usherwood said.

On Saturday, the calmer conditions led to less wakes and chop during the races. Michael Cobb, the coach of the Augusta Rowing Club’s junior team, said while that made it easier, he preferred slightly more difficult conditions. The belief is it would have prepared his team for future races in Sarasota, Fla., which usually has rougher and windier days.

But Cobb thinks his team is hungry to get better.

“This group wants to learn and push themselves,” Cobb said. “The sky’s the limit.”