Eight paddlers from Hamilton College’s Marathon Canoe Racing team took part in the annual Long Lake Long Boat Regatta on Sept. 24. The regatta plays host to the New York State Collegiate Co-Ed C4 championships, which sees four-person canoes paddled by two men and two women flying along a 10-mile course on the wind-whipped waters of Long Lake. Hamilton first won the cup in 2014, took second in 2015, and reclaimed the cup this year, prevailing over reigning champions from Paul Smith’s College by a narrow 5-second margin.
Hamilton fielded two C4s this year, one consisting of Anne McGarvey ’17, Samuel Bernstein ’17, Kevin Roback ’17, and Rachel Lannino ’17 and one crewed by Brady Bruno ’17, Tate Beirut ’18, Stephanie Talaia-Murray ’17 and Maggie Smith ’17. For many of the paddlers this race was the culmination of a long paddling career with the Canoe Racing Team. McGarvey, Smith and Bernstein were all part of the winning boat in 2014 while McGarvey, Roback, Lannino and Smith had all served as team captains over the past two years.
This year’s course saw paddlers start and finish from the town of Long Lake, making a 10-mile circuit up and down the lake. After a chaotic start, Paul Smith’s C4 pulled ahead by several boat lengths. For the next hour Hamilton’s C4 captained by Lannino clung on tenaciously, staying five to six boat lengths behind Paul Smith’s. Finally, with just three miles left in the race Hamilton started to pull on their challengers. Twenty minutes later, with the finish line less than a mile off Hamilton inched past Paul Smith’s and built up a small lead. Exhausted but pulling together in perfect time, Hamilton flew across the finish line for a final time of 1:40:08 with Paul Smith’s coming in second by a mere five seconds for a final time of 1:40:13. Hamilton’s second C4, affectionately nicknamed “Snickers” (like the candy bar) by its crew finished third with a final time of 2:02:20.
For many of the seniors involved, racing at Long Lake and winning was an emotional experience. “I’m so happy,” said Lannino, “this was the perfect way to finish the last race of the fall and it was so special to do it with the people I’ve paddled with for the last four years.”
With the Long Lake Regatta over, the boats will come off of the water until the spring when the team will begin working to recruit and train new members in the little-known but highly rewarding sport of canoe racing.