Carnegie Lake Rowing Club's Regatta Provided Competition, Camaraderie
By Bill Alden
Chip Carstensen was a bit uneasy last September when he first took the water with Carnegie Lake Rowing Association (CLRA).
"That first weekend in training when they put you in the boat, you think it's going to tip over," said Carstensen with a chuckle.
Undeterred, Carstensen made it through that first weekend and recently enjoyed one of his better athletic weekends as he rowed on a novice four that won its category at the 19th annual Carnegie Lake Regatta.
"We had practiced hard," said Carstensen, who was joined in the boat by Jim Bernstein, Andrew McLean, Farrell Delman, and coxswain Vickie McCarthy.
"Once the race started, you don't even see the other boats. You just focus on rowing as hard as you can, There is such a camaraderie to being part of the team. You have to be in sync because you're only as strong as your weakest link."
The 6'8 Carstensen, a former basketball player at Dartmouth, was just one of many rowers who enjoyed the CLRA event.
"We're thrilled with turnout," said CLRA president Karen Ellis. "Not only did 33 clubs participate, but nearly every member of our club contributed to the success of this event."
The event drew more than 400 rowers, with the Capital Rowing Club of Washington, D.C. emerging as the winner of the Heebink Bowl, given to the club that amasses the most points at the event.
While the CLRA managed to tie for third in the overall standings, longtime regatta director Tom Heebink had no qualms with the club's effort.
"Carnegie Lake Rowing Association is made up of a terrific group of people who come from all walks of life," asserted Heebink.
"Members range from former college rowers to those who participate in our annual Learn-to-Row program. It's wonderful to see all of them have a chance to compete.
Carstensen, a Princeton resident who got interested in joining the CLRA after his wife Marilynn enjoyed her first year as a member of the club, looks forward to his thrice-weekly training sessions which start at 5:30 a.m.
"It's a great way to get in shape,"
said Carstensen. "The club has great coaches, first class
facilities, and great camaraderie. It's been a great experience."