By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
The first collegiate rowing regatta on the Navesink River in decades was cut short Saturday morning after wind-driven waves swamped sculls in the second race.
In a sport where weather rules, these things happen, said Dan Edwards, who organized the event.
“It’s not unusual,” he said. “It happens all the time. It’s just part of the sport.”
Still, Edwards deemed the regatta a wild success.
“Everybody had a blast,” he said.
Organizers called off the event after Drexel University rowers got swamped by a wave in the second of five scheduled races, Edwards said. The first race, for the Governor’s Cup, was won by Rutgers, and the team was presented with its trophy by Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, he said.
Even though the regatta came to a quick end, Edwards said the event put Rumson back on the map for collegiate rowing, which hadn’t been in the area for decades, and also made an impression on the visiting schools.
Nobody stayed in hotels. All the teams shacked up with local residents, Edwards said. Guadagno and her husband, Monmouth County Judge Mike Guadagno, even took a couple of them in to their Monmouth Beach home, he said.
“Now that’s an event. That was so cool,” he said. “One of the coaches asked a guy from Drexel where he stayed. He said, ‘I don’t know. I think it was a resort.'”
The regatta brought a sense of pride to Rumson, Edwards said. It could be seen Saturday morning, as teams launched on the Navesink to the race’s starting point.
Ava Bamberger, of Allenhurst, sat on the beach at Victory Park cheering on her son, Ian, a sophomore at Rutgers. He learned to race on the river, with Navesink River Rowing Club, so the race was extra special for her, she said.
“It’s extremely cool,” she said. “All we had to do was drive 20 minutes. It’s in our backyard. We’re very proud.”
Edwards said the race will likely return next year. Or, at least that’s what he’s planning.
“As long as everybody’s up for it,” he said.