This upcoming weekend marks the 38th anniversary of one of our favorite events, the Bayada Regatta. Each year, CARP seizes the opportunity to attend this all-adaptive regatta hosted on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, PA. This race is the nation’s oldest and largest all-adaptive rowing, also known as para-rowing, competition. CARP coordinates the participation of as many athletes as are available and interested in racing, ranging from Novice Inclusion events (first-time competitors with a volunteer bow partner), to the newest Elite 1x race using racing shells with or without pontoons. This year, we have 6 athletes and 9 staff/coaches/volunteers participating.
Bayada is a weekend-long experience for our attendees- beginning with travel and carpool Friday afternoon, the evening Jolly-Up event mingling with teammates (our own and others), and coaches meetings. Saturday morning races start at 0800 (with our coaches and volunteers starting rigging and organizing around 0630) and go until 1500. Saturday evening is a supported banquet, where each team is recognized and there is a special presentation of the Leo Reilly Award. The banquet is a night of food, fun, music, and dancing; CARP has historically been the first one on and the last one off the dance floor!
This event remains one of my favorite of the entire year due to the comradery displayed; all teams and all athletes really look out for and support each other, from sharing equipment to enable everyone the opportunity to get on the water, to cheering for all opponents. One of the most unique parts of the regatta is the Tupperware bins in which athletes place their prosthetics, canes, and other assistive devices to be transported from the launching to landing docks; often you will see volunteers running with an arm, leg, or wheelchair from dock to dock, and the best part is- this is expected!
I encourage everyone who knows someone in the Philly area to share that the Bayada regatta is this Saturday, August 17th (and of course with my bias, to come cheer on CARP)! I also encourage you to mark your calendars and consider helping out at Bayada next year! Go CARP, Go Capital!