Octogenarians Celebrated on Day Three of 2019 USRowing Masters National Championships

Grand Rapids, Mich. — The third day of racing at the 2019 USRowing Masters National Championships was highlighted by a mid-day celebration of all the octogenarian rowers at the regatta.

87-year old Christopher Collins was a part of the celebration, and mentioned that he has won the Head of the Charles regatta an impressive 11 times, garning a massive cheer from the audience. 

“I won it the first time in 1958,” said Collins, somewhat surprised on how much time has passed since then. “However, I had a heart attack the next year, so I slowed down a little bit, but I came back and won it a couple more times.”

He then shifted into a mixed doubles competition where he and his partner won four of the first five years. 

“They cut our handicap in half, and we still won the second year after they did that,” said Collins.

His wife originally got him into the sport to encourage him to lose weight.

“I was pretty fat and flabby,” said Collins. “I weighed 50 pounds more than I do now, so I joined a health club, and I discovered the rowing machine and said boy this is for me. Then I got on the water and I’ve been rowing ever since.”

Over that time span, he hasn’t seen much change in the sport other than the increased participation, which he enjoys.

“[Masters nationals] great, I’d like to come visit even if I weren’t rowing,” said Collins. “It’s the same as the Head of the Charles. I’ll keep going even when I’m not rowing anymore.”

Rowing will wrap up Sunday, as racing begins at 8:00 a.m. with finals all day until just after 5:00 p.m. Rowers, family, friends, and spectators can enjoy the park for free, which features food trucks, a beer garden, vendor tents, and much more in addition to the racing. 

Each day’s finals races will be streamed live on USRowing’s YouTube channel. Results from each day’s racing and the upcoming schedule will be available on HereNOW. Entries, club lists, and more event information can be found on RegattaCentral. Photos of the event will be posted on usrowing.photos by the end of each day. The event is being hosted in partnership with the West Michigan Sports Commission and the West Michigan River Sports Association. USRowing would like to thank Connect-A-Dock for sponsoring this year’s USRowing Masters National Championships. 

In conjunction with AssuredPartners, Burnham Boat Slings, Gutzy, Neilsen-Kellerman, RowAmerica, Rower, and Vespoli, USRowing Productions is able to stream the event finals live on our YouTube page and on the Jumbotron at masters nationals. This allows rowing fans in the venue and from across the country the opportunity to be part of one of the biggest rowing events in the United States in 2019.

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