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Women's Master's Singles: New Race, Same Result - Gevvie Romps

By Sarah Barber - HOCR
Posted on October 23, 2021
Women's Master's Singles: New Race, Same Result - Gevvie Romps

Gevvie Stone returned to the Head of the Charles Saturday to begin her transition from championship racer to master’s racer. She was still in championship form, winning the Women’s Master’s event easily and shattered an event record that had stood for 24 years.

“It’s so fun to have the regatta back, and I was really excited to race the master singles and have a race actually just racing for fun, no pressure, no strings attached,” Stone said. “It was just me seeing how fast I could go on the course. There was a headwind, which wasn’t in my benefit, but it was still a fun row.”

Despite the headwind, Stone moved through the course quickly. Her overall time was 19:21, 34 seconds faster than the previous record of 19:55, which was set by Cynthia Matthes in 1997. Runner-up Shannon Kaplan crossed the finish line 1:25 behind Stone.

Stone’s father Gregg has been by her side for her entire career, as coach and father, father and coach. After Saturday’s race, he spoke first as her coach:

“It was very solid, she’s very fast. She had a great race, it was great water and this is really what she wanted to do, sort of end her career and restart,” Gregg Stone said.

Gevvie Stone’s legacy at the Head of the Charles is immense. She won the championship singles race a record 10 times in a 12 year span. Now, back as an emergency medicine resident at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center after a two year leave of absence to compete at her third Olympic Games in Tokyo, she decided to shift her focus at Head of the Charles from competition to enjoyment.

“In 2017, I raced the champ singles during my intern year,” she said. “It was a race that wasn’t fun, my body clock was off, I hadn’t been training, I hadn’t been sleeping well, because [intern schedules] just don’t allow for that. So when I got back into my residency, I said ‘you know what? I’m not sleeping consistently, I’m not eating well, I’m going to race the master singles and let people who are training full time race it out in the champs.’”

At future regattas, spectators can expect to see Stone in the master singles race. She confirmed that she will not race in the championship singles again.

“I’ll let everyone else do it,” Stone said, in regard to the championship race. “Ten is a great number. So I’m onto the masters rowing side of my career for sure.”

Gregg Stone, speaking now as the father, agrees it’s the right choice.

“​​I think it’s a really nice thing for her to do. I mean, most people like me and others, just hang out in the champs until we fall off the edge. For her to say, OK, I’ve done it long enough, let somebody else win, it’s great, and it’s really sort of nice symmetry that her doubles partner in Tokyo [Kristina Wagner] is starting first in the [championship] singles, so she’ll have a chance to win it herself,” Gregg Stone said.

While Gregg Stone has been his daughter’s coach for much of her world championship and Olympic career, Gevvie’s first coach was her mother Lisa, when Gevvie was a student at Winsor School.

“It was great to see her. I mean, she looked good, she’s having fun,” Lisa Stone said. “I can totally understand why she didn’t want to put herself out there [in the championship singles], because she’s working again.”

The return of Head of the Charles after last year’s hiatus has increased supporters’ excitement, the riverbanks and Elliott Bridge were crowded with fans as Stone rowed by.

“There were a surprising number of people out there at 8:20 in the morning,” Stone said. “I really appreciate it. There was a lot of noise, which was awesome. You can really feel how excited people are that the regatta is back, and it’s always great to have that encouragement from shore.”

Stone shouldn’t be surprised. She is maybe the most popular athlete ever to row in the Head of the Charles. Fans weren’t likely to miss the first chapter of this new era.

By Sarah Barber - HOCR
Posted on October 23, 2021