Rowing Adventures

The small but mighty Lake Lure Racing team, led by Wade Oppliger and Leslie Rowland took to the water for the first time on Saturday, May 25th at the Dogwood Regatta in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

They dedicated their first race as Lake Lure Racing to the memory of Mayor Kevin Cooley--who so enthusiastically embraced their request to become part of the Lake Lure community.

We are proud to share their results: Three race entries.  Three Gold medals!

The Dogwood Regatta is also the un-official kick-off for Sprint Racing in the southeast region for Master's rowers.  Competitors are tuning up for the Southeast Region Championships in Augusta, Georgia next month--with eyes towards the National Championships in August.

This year's regatta featured 142 entries from 17 different rowing clubs.  

The first race of the day for Lake Lure Racing was Wade's 1x (single rower) race.  Posting one of his personal best times ever for this event (credit the fabulous training waters of Lake Lure!), Wade handily won the 51-60 year old category winning by 7 seconds raw time and over 14 seconds with handicap considered.

Lake Lure Racing's second event was the Mixed 2x event with Leslie and Wade teaming up for the D (51-55 years average age) category event.  In a well matched age-group race, Leslie and Wade were able to start fast and hold the lead for the entire 1000 meter race winning by 8 seconds raw time and with handicap adjustment.

Third and final event for Lake Lure Racing was the Mixed 4+ (Sweep Rowing) race.  Two women and two men plus a coxswain crew.  This set up as a tough race on paper with the primary competition coming from former Asheville Rowing team members.  Additionally, a moderate crossing head-wind had come up since the morning, which always adds challenge to a race for both steering and effort.

Based on the average age of each crew, Lake Lure Racing needed to win by 5.3 seconds--raw time to capture the Gold Medal.  

As can happen with nerves on a race day; Lake Lure Racing's bow seat rower, Anna Hallet pulled a bit too hard on the first stroke of the race, upsetting her position on her seat (which roll forward and back with the rower on ball-bearing wheels on metal tracks).  Anna quickly made the adjustment to get re-seated properly--but the critical mechanics of a quick, precise start were upset giving the competition a slight lead coming out of the first 100 meters of the race.

The Lake Lure team kept their composure and settled into their race plan for the final 900 meters.  By the half-way point, Lake Lure Racing and the Asheville boats were in a dead heat--at which time, the Lake Lure team brought their stroke rating up two strokes per minute--as per the race plan.  

Doing so pulled the Lake Lure boat ahead handily by the marker for the final 250 meters--but not far enough ahead to overcome the 5.3 second handicap!  So with 150 meters to race, Lake Lure Racing's coxswain, Katie Callahan called for the crew to sprint to the finish.

Lake Lure responded effectively and worked to pull further ahead until the horn sounded indicating the team had crossed the finish line buoys.  Fighting to catch their breath, each counted silently in their head's the time between their finish horn and the horn signal for the Asheville boat's finish.  One by one, each stated what they counted and the projected outcome—Wade said he barely reached "5" in his head and presumed they were going to surrender the Gold Medal to the other boat by one second or less.  

They rowed back to the docks, put their boat into its slings, re-counting the events of the race where we learned of Anna's seat issue at the start.  They all felt the missed strokes at the start of the race, but none of them knew the cause—they just kept rowing.  

When the official results were posted a few minutes later they found we had indeed won by just enough of a margin to secure the Gold Medal--by a mere .8 second window, Lake Lure completed their tri-fecta!  Certainly, Mayor Cooley would have been as proud and excited as they were.

Lake Lure Racing's next regatta will be the weekend of June 22, 23rd in Augusta, Georgia's Lake Olmstead Park (just across the street from Augusta National Golf & Country Club, where the Master's Tournament is held).  

Lake Lure Racing & Rowing Retreats sends their thanks for your support and Leslie and Wade extend their gratitude.

Wade Oppliger & Leslie Rowland

Lake Lure Racing & Rowing Retreats