Students compete in Fisher Regatta
Lucas Masin-Moyer | Monday, May 1, 2017
As they have for the last 30 years — though the event claims to be the 25th annual every year — members of the Notre Dame community crafted boats using whatever materials they could find and rowed across St. Mary’s Lake Saturday as part of the Fisher Regatta, which raises money for St. Adalbert Elementary School in South Bend. This year, riders endured even more challenges than riding boats made of floaties or styrofoam, as many of the early races took place in the rain. Freshmen Connor Kooistra, James Pescio and Greg Wall, all residents of Fisher Hall, won the competition with their canoe, “Floaty McFloatface.”
Junior Patrick Murday, Fisher Hall resident and co-chair of the organizing committee for the Regatta, said the event was a success despite the conditions.
“I think we were pretty happy overall with how it went,” he said. “ … The weather wasn’t as bad as we thought it was going to be — it only rained a little in the first 20 to 30 minutes. We had a lot of great boats this year.”
One of the students who made a boat and competed in the Regatta this year was freshman and Pasquerilla West Hall vice president Abbe George, who helped craft the “Dub Tub.”
“A couple other girls were actually building it, and they needed another person to help out,” she said “I rowed in high school, and they thought that would be helpful but it’s very different. [I] just wanted to help [Pasquerilla West] out with the boat.”
The “eclectic group of boats,” Murday said, was what made this year’s event stand out.
“The sci-fi club had a ‘Star Wars’ boat, and two guys in Zahm swam with a piece of wood tied to their legs, and that was funny,” he said. “ … The Knights of Columbus had a huge barge that they grilled steaks on. I think it was cool things like that that added to the event and made it unique.”
George said the experience of creating and racing a boat was one to remember.
“It was a lot of fun, but it was freezing,” she said. “But it was fun building the boat and getting to know the other girls in [Pasquerilla West] who I didn’t know before, and the actual race itself was a ton of fun too. All of us were dreading going onto the water because it was freezing, but we got out there and it was a ton of fun. We could tell we were going to lose — we started doing donuts in the water. It was a blast.”
The boat achieved a rare feat for a Pasquerilla West, George said.
“We were the first PW boat, in all of [Pasquerilla West rector Sister Mary Jane Hahner’s] time, to make it across the lake so that was exciting,” she said. “We were moving pretty fast for our little styrofoam raft.”
George said the success of this year’s boat and the fun of the event motivated her to invest wholesale in next year’s Regatta.
“We were talking, [and] we want to go really hard next year,” she said. “We want to get a boat commission going so we can make a lot of cool boats, because a lot of people started earlier and had really intricate boats, whereas we just pulled some styrofoam out of the storage closet and threw it on the water. So we do want to get a couple boats together next year and make them more intense.”
The event was not only a success for many of the racers, but also in terms of the amount of money raised for St. Adalbert.
“Just at the event itself I think we sold close to 100 [tank top shirts],” Murday said. “With the event — we’re still doing our final count, but we should be right on our target of $10,000.”
The success of the event was contingent upon many people and groups, Murday said, and he thanked everyone who contributed to and participated in the Regatta.
“I’d just like to extend thanks out to the staff that worked very hard throughout the semester and put this event together,” he said. “Also [to] the guys in our dorm who sold tanks, and our rector, [Rick Mazzei], who provided us with guidance and help throughout the process … and to the racers, because they’re the ones who make the event special.”