By Juliette Gaggini ’20
On May 5, The Gunnery held its 60th annual Founder’s Day Regatta on Lake Waramaug. On our home turf, twenty-four teams, both club and school, raced on our buoyed course competing for the Founder’s Day Cup. Starting in 1959, the regatta is the second-longest running high school regatta in New England after NEIRAs.
An astounding amount of preparation is needed in order for the event and the races to run as smoothly as they do. At the start of the season, all of the crew coaches work together to install the buoyed course. Mr. Turner, Head Coach of Boys Crew, has been coordinating with schools and clubs for months to figure out which teams would be competing. He also has to work with the timing company ahead of time to make sure all of the heats were properly timed.
Mr. Turner loves the enthusiasm and is grateful for all the hard work everyone puts into running Founder’s Day. When asked about future changes he would like to see with the event as a whole, Mr. Turner said, “I would love to see a more full event, as in more boats registering, because it just makes for a more fun experience.”
Mr. Poole, Head Coach of Girls Crew, works alongside Mr. Turner with helping run the regatta. It is his third year coaching at The Gunnery, and although he enjoys helping run Founder’s Day, Mr. Poole wishes he could spend more time focusing on his team on race day to best prepare them for their races. However, Mr. Poole said, “The team has really been gelling together in a way that I was not expecting to happen so quickly, but puts them in a really good spot.”
Leading up to Founder’s Day, the crew teams had a great start to the season, having competed in two races and an ergathon against Canterbury. With great results from the varsity teams, there was also a lot of excitement around the novice crews racing in their first Founder’s Day. Mr. Lovejoy, who coaches the novices on Girls Crew said, “I am very happy to see them race together after all their improvement throughout this season and I am excited to see them come back next year and build a great program.” Mr. Visentin, who coaches the novices on Boys Crew, was equally excited to see his boat compete. In the future, Mr. Visentin hopes to see the rowing team grow and wants to get more kids to join the squad.
Both Mr. Turner and Mr. Visentin rowed in Founder’s Day when they were in high school. Mr. Turner raced in 1978 and 1979 while he was at Pomfret School, started participating with other teams that he was coaching in 2007, and has been running it for the past couple years.
Mr. Visentin rowed in Founder’s Day while he attended Kent School from 2005 to 2008, and this year was his first time working the event. As a competitor, Mr. Visentin didn’t realize how much work went into planning and running the event, but now appreciates all the dedication by the coaches and the Gunnery community to put on such a big regatta.
The race is also hugely supported by student and faculty volunteers. Every year we have dozens of volunteers that participate. Ms. Nongera is in charge of the volunteer aspect of Founder’s Day, and every year she gets students and faculty excited for the race and to help out in the community. Student volunteers do everything from holding boats, flagging the finish lines, working the gear tents and helping out on the docks. “We want to make sure that the volunteers can help make the day run smoothly but we also want to make sure the volunteers have a fun time doing it,” said Ms. Nongera.