Thousands of rowers are descending upon Boston to compete in the 53rd annual Head of the Charles Regatta this weekend. In our latest issue we chatted with Olympic medalist and top contender in the women’s championship singles race, Genevra “Gevvie” Stone and recently caught up with the local Community Rowing Inc. (CRI) Competitive Women’s team. The team, made up of more than 40 women with a broad range of ages and rowing experience, brought home 28 medals and took second place in the women’s team points at Masters National in August and will be competing in four races on Saturday.

Scroll down to meet 10 of the teammates who shared brief reflections on personal strengths, why they row and how the sport has influenced their lives.

Lisa Doucett, 62
Grant development, Middlesex Community College

“While I am relatively new to rowing, I try to cross train in my longtime sport of distance, mountain and trail running competitively. I spend most of my training time alone, which I think helps me appreciate the wonderful results of teamwork.”

Marie Keil, 25
Higher education administration
“I wasn’t at all athletic until after college—I never exercised, had terrible hand-eye coordination, and didn’t enjoy playing sports. Rowing over the last three years has completely changed that. If you had told me 4 years ago that I would voluntarily wake up at 4:30 am to exercise, I would have laughed you out of the room.”

Tara Diab, 54
Self-employed contractor and furniture designer

“I started rowing at 39 as a way to conquer the grief of losing my mother. I’ve met the most amazing women as a member of the Comp team. Everyone brings their own strength and we lift each other to be the best we can be. Rowing is a sport that you can start at any age, become proficient and compete at a national level if you have the will to push yourself.”

Left to right: Sam Fowle, Laura Gassner Otting, Miriam Ward

Sam Fowle, 26
Product specialist, Vistaprint

“I started rowing because my mom told me to. Half the reason I joined this team was so I could eat unforgivable amounts of pizza and ice cream, and because I like joy, pain, success, failure, laughs, tears, and blisters, in equal measure.  Also, I knit.”

Laura Gassner Otting, 46
Consultant, author and speaker

“Every woman on this team kicks major ass. And each of us show up every damn day to earn the privilege of calling them teammates. We launch in the pitch black, paddle up to the skyline and then, in turn, experience the brutality and meditation that is rowing, all as the sun rises over the city just waking up. There is no better way to start the day.”

Miriam Ward, 24
Rowing coach and retail worker

“Rowing gave me the ability to see myself as strong in every aspect of life. Every time I’ve felt my weakest, being in a boat surrounded by strong women working toward one connected goal reminds me just how strong women can be. Even when the doctor told me I’d never be able to run well again—if at all—I responded: ‘OK, but I can row, right?’”

Left to right: Courtney Forrester, Cam Sutter, Susan Lamprey, Cheryl Egan

Courtney Forrester, 39
Program manager

“The dedication of the women on the team inspire me on a regular basis. Despite not being a natural morning person, waking up each day before the sun to work hard and row together is the best way I can imagine to start my day. And, winning is pretty fun.”

Cam Sutter, 52
Child life specialist

“I’ve been rowing for 35 years. Started in college and never really stopped.”

Susan Lamprey, 41
Product strategy manager

“Being a coxswain [navigator of the boat] is like being a race car driver but powered by the physical stamina and mental endurance of my teammates. And, if I’m lucky, I find words that help them go faster even if it means they crawl a little further into that pain cave.”

Cheryl Egan, 63
Human resources director

“I always thought I would like rowing, so when I turned 40, I asked: ‘What am I waiting for?’ I am a 10-year breast cancer survivor, having built my physician team with those who believed that exercise is helpful in recovery. I was lucky enough to have missed only one week of practice and one race. Rowing provides me an opportunity to share incredible experiences with amazing people.”

Visit the HOCR website for the weekend’s full schedule and see the complete photo gallery of the CRI Competitive Women’s team at

Related Articles

Comments are closed.