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Splashing Into the Season

The unseasonably warm weather on Saturday created a perfect day for the Forest Hills Eastern Rowing team to start their spring season. Over the weekend the team participated in the Belted Galloway regatta hosted by Forest Hills Northern at the shared FHPS boathouse. Unlike some regattas, only “big” boats (eight-person and four-person boats) were allowed to race, excluding all sculling events. Despite the restricted event list, many members of the crew team were still excited to start the season. “I am so excited [to race] – usually you get upset when you get splashed by someone’s blade, but when you’re racing it’s fun. The adrenaline rush you feel from moving fast and racing other schools is one of my favorite parts about rowing,” explained Andrew Vazquez (‘23), who raced in the men’s varsity 4+ and the men’s varsity 8+.

The regatta kicked off with the men’s novice 8+, followed by the men’s and women’s lightweight 4+, the women’s novice 8+, the men’s varsity 4+, the men’s and women’s JV 8+, the women’s varsity 4+, the men’s and women’s JV 4+, and the men’s and women’s varsity 8+ to round out the day. Each race was 1,000 meters upstream, with the racecourse ending at the dock. 

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Daisy Vazquez ('24), Kara Berrevoets ('24), Elio Douglas ('24), and Hope Orban ('24) push their women's varsity 4+ off the dock.

Although Eastern did not win any races on Saturday, it was still a major achievement compared to previous seasons. This regatta is notoriously known as a day dominated by Forest Hills Central, so placing second as a team was a major victory for the FHE crew team. “Even though we didn’t win any races, we did so much better compared to last season. Quite honestly, last year we weren’t ready to race at Belted Galloway, and yes, we still need to improve this year, but the level of skill has greatly improved. Being able to beat Northern in almost every race was really exciting – it made the day a lot more fun for everyone,” explained Anna Alt (‘24), who raced in the women’s lightweight 4+ and the varsity women’s 8+. The two most notable races of the day were arguably both the women’s varsity 4+ and the women’s varsity 8+, with both crews being a mere few strokes away from placing first. 

The crew team will hit the water again at the Grand Rapids Invitational regatta at Riverside Park this Saturday. It’s the crew team’s last regatta in the Grand Rapids area this season, so don’t be afraid to come out and support the Hawks!

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