photo & story
by Christopher Annino
In the early hours of the morning the sound of oars cutting through the placid water echoed as rowers passed under the drawbridge in downtown Mystic. Mystic became a modern day Mt. Olympus for nautical sports by hosting the sixth annual Battle Between the Bridges and the seventeenth annual Coast Weeks Regatta, the weekend of September 13-14. Battle Between the Bridges attracted national, collegiate and worldwide Olympic rowing champions to compete.
This year future Hall of Fame inductees and Beijing Olympics medalists Anna Mickelson Cummins and Michelle Guerette competed and spoke at the National Rowing Hall of Fame at the Mystic Seaport. The National Rowing Hall of Fame, recently established by Hart Perry, is gaining international interest. Nationally known athletes Jonathan Winter, Rob Zechmann, Harrison Macris, Heather Moon, Sarah Trowbridge, Catherine Infantino competed in the races and former Olympian Jim Dietz was one of the officials on the course.
Andy Card, announcer and Yale coach, best described the sport when he said, “Rowing is the only sport where you act as both the horse and jockey.”
The awards were given out at the end of the day. Peter Morelli won first place in the men’s lightweight class. Jonathan Winter took second place and Andrew Hashway took third. For the men’s heavyweight class, James Dietz II won first, 40-year-old Scott Killen took second, and Patrick Sullivan took third. For the women, Sarah Trowbridge won first, and Siobahn Steyn took second place.
Michelle, an Olympic Silver Medalist, said, “I look forward to Battle Between the Bridges. Mystic is an amazing town to have it in, and its great to row against and meet up with old friends.”
National Rowers Sarah and Siobahn agreed, “At the end of the day it becomes anyone’s race, and everyone wins because it is friendly competition.”