By: Érico Benseñor Lotufo
BU News Service
It was one of the harshest editions of the Head of the Charles Regatta in its 52-year history. Heavy rain interfered on the first day, while strong gusts were a recurring problem on Sunday.
It couldn’t stop Genevra “Gevvie” Stone, however.
The Newton rower dominated her home waters, winning the Championship Singles for the 7th time at the Charles River. It ties Anne Marden’s and Jim Dietz’s record for most wins at the HOCR singles event.
She finished with a time of 19:15.587, almost 40 seconds ahead of second place Stesha Carle.
“Every win here is so special,” said Stone at the trophy ceremony on Sunday. “I love this river and this water, it’s where I learned to row and where I train now.”
The 31-year-old rower, who collected a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, didn’t stop there. On Sunday, Stone commanded Cambridge Boat Club’s Eights towards victory, despite the tough weather.
They completed the course in 16:30.368, 15 seconds ahead of the second-place team, the New York Athletic Club. The unfavorable conditions raised the winning time in 32 seconds, compared to 2015’s Regatta.
“It was gusty,” she said. “It was all about handling each gust and recovering from each gust.
“In addition, there was a flash flood two days ago, so there was still current moving against us,” she explained. “We did a good race, despite the conditions.”
With her titles and local ties, Stone quickly became a fan favorite. While she rowed at her singles competition, cries of “Go Gevvie!” could be heard from around the Charles.
“It’s kind of surreal,” she said. “I’ve gone past a few people who double-take and say: ‘Is that Gevvie Stone?’ I’m not used to that.
“I’m a rower. We don’t do it for the fame, we do it because we love rowing,” she added.
“I look up to Gevvie since I was high school,” said Erin Driscoll, the coxswain for Cambridge’s Eights and a Needham resident.
“To be asked two years ago by her to cox the boat was such an amazing honor,” she said. “And to do it again means even more. It was such a special experience.”
Stone is uncertain about the future, despite the support. With a medical degree from Tufts University, she plans to begin her residency next June. She doesn’t know how it will affect her rowing.
“I’m taking it step-by-step. We’ll see what happens,” she said.