NORWALK, Conn. -- Norwalk rowers are showing strong results this fall season, bringing home many medals for Norwalk River Rowing through the lion’s share of the season’s regattas.
Sept. 29 found Norwalk River Rowing at the Head of the Merrimack in Methuen, Mass., at a regatta with 148 entries from 27 clubs from seven states.
Norwalk’s youth teams came home with six first-place finishes, five second-place finishes and one third. On the boys team, Norwalk residents Willem Pacella and Kevin Conover helped pull the first varsity quad to a first-place finish while Norwalk residents Chris Martensson and Joel Ayala helped take second in the same event and Norwalk resident Vishesh Ramesh coxed the lightweight four to another second. Fellow Norwalk resident Brian Helms contributed to the second place finish in the first varsity eight and a third place in the lightweight double.
On the girls side, Norwalk residents Amber Baker and Mary Wimpfheimer took first in the lightweight four while Amelia Ornato and Nicole Vacas brought home a first place in the girls quad and a second-place finish in the four.
On Oct. 6, Norwalk River braved the cold and rain at the Head of the Riverfront on the Connecticut River in Hartford, a regatta with more than 3,000 rowers and 608 boats in competition. The youth team came back with the DiscoverRe Cup for its first-place finish in the boys varsity four plus coxswain, along with two silvers and three bronzes in other events.
Not to be outdone, the masters team (adults) came back with a gold in the mixed eight plus coxswain. Norwalk resident Kevin Conover helped power the boys quad to its silver and the second varsity eight to its bronze, while fellow Norwalk residents Brian Helms and Willem Pacella also rowed in the second varsity eight that took a bronze.
Chris Martensson helped pull the second varsity four to its silver. Norwalk residents Elisabeth Stonehill, Paula Palermo and Tom Helmkamp helped power the masters mixed eight plus coxswain to its first place finish.
Oct. 12, Norwalk spent a gorgeous fall day in Shelton at the Head of the Housatonic, one of the largest single-day head races in the country with 700 boats competing. The youth team brought back two gold medals and a bronze medal, and the masters had two boats finish fourth, just seconds behind the medal winners.
Norwalk resident Brian Helms helped power the boys second varsity four plus coxswain to its first place finish, while novices Daniel Ely and Joel Ayala rowed in the novice eight plus coxswain to its third-place finish. Norwalk residents Elisabeth Stonehill and Sarah Kline rowed in the masters women's four that took fourth, and Tom Helmkamp also of Norwalk was in the master mens four that took fourth.
Last week, Norwalk River Rowing sent select boats up to Boston for the Head of the Charles, one of the premier head regattas in the world, attracting more than 9,000 athletes and 300,000 spectators. Norwalk River’s top finishing boat was the boys first varsity four, which came in an impressive 10th in a field of 84.
The girls first varsity four with Norwalk residents Mary Wimpfheimer, Amelia Ornato and Nicole Vacas also earned an automatic bid to return next year with a finish of 37 out of a strong field of 85.
The masters had five boats entered in the regatta, with the mens veterans (age 60+) single having the strongest finish, 29 out of 51. The adult boats included Norwalk's Tom Helmkamp, Elisabeth Stonehill, Sarah Kline, Lisa Gregory, Lisa Sanders, Terri Polley and Juliet Brocki.