Adaptive athletes from the Sarasota County Rowing Club's Adaptive Rowing Program (SARP) competed successfully at the Bayada Regatta held in Philadelphia on Saturday, August 18, 2012. The Bayada Regatta, in its 31st year, is the longest-running adaptive rowing regatta in the country. Billed as "Freedom on the River," the event takes place on a 1,000-meter race course, using both full and half distance on the Schuylkill River. Adaptive rowers from all over the U.S. race in a variety of categories based on classified disability.
The Sarasota participants included SARP coaches Joe Dobson and Todd Yeomans who accompanied adaptive rowers Betsy Mitchell and Jack Gerber in a total of three races. Yeomans joined Gerber in a double, placing fourth in the men's LTA category (Legs, Trunk and Arms). Mitchell placed first in two races, rowing in a single, and also in a double with partner Keniel Martinez of Athletes Without Limits Club of DC in classification TA (Trunk and Arms). Martinez is coached by Patrick L. Johnson.
Mitchell won both her races by a significant margin, 8.9 seconds ahead in her 1000-meter TA 1x race, finishing with a time of 5:13.42, and 7.79 seconds ahead in the 1000-meter TA Mixed-2x race, with a time of 5:05.42. Notably, the second-place Mixed-2x boat was rowed by Paralympic champion, Laura Schwanger, who won a Bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Betsy and Keniel will join forces again at the Head of the Anacostia and Head of the Potomac Regattas September, 29th and 30th, before competing in Boston at the famed Head of the Charles in October.
In addition to the accomplishments of SARP's athletes, the Sarasota-based rowing program was also honored at the event by being selected to receive a new Wintech race boat (the standard for adaptive rowers) as well as a pair of Concept 2 oars. The new boat was awarded by event founders and benefactors Mark and Anne Baiada. SARP's coaches and participants are thrilled to be recognized in what has become a tradition at the annual event.
SARP's coaches and adaptive rowers are available for interviews and/or to provide additional information on the adaptive rowing program. SARP is a chapter affiliated with Friends of Sarasota County Parks, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization.