On Nov. 3 and 4, junior Molly Kidwell and the Clermont Crew Rowing Team travelled to Chattanooga, Tennessee to compete in the Head of the Hooch Regatta. The regatta featured over 2,000 boats competing for lead titles in the two-day competition.
The Last of the Great Fall Regattas, as nicknamed by participants, is known for being the second largest regatta in the United States, bringing together competitive rowing teams from all over the country to face off in the Tennessee River.
Kidwell, who grew up participating in water sports, first began rowing during her freshman year at McNick and claims to have been hooked ever since. Her team, the Clermont Crew, is made up of young men and women from around Cincinnati, all with one thing in common -passion for rowing that is essential when competing in the highly-physical sport.
“It’s safe to say that rowing is one of the most intense physical sports out there,” Kidwell said. “We willingly exposure ourselves to insane amounts of pain and exhaustion and push ourselves past our physical limits every day, yet honestly it’s the thrill of the sport that keeps us going. Although it hurts like crazy, allowing yourself to reach that physical limit is a really cool thing to experience and it helps you learn that you’re a lot stronger than you think.”
At the end of this year’s regatta, the Clermont Crew placed in a variety of categories. The men’s youth 4x varsity team placed 20 out of 32, and the varsity boys 2x placed 16 out of 49. In the women’s competition, the women’s 1x placed 30 and 42 out of 43, and the women’s youth quads placed 22 and 36 out of 41.
The Head of the Hooch also features a Race for the Cure series, allowing donors to sponsor races that send proceeds towards breast cancer research funds. One of Kidwell’s boats, the Junior Women’s 4+, competes in the race each year.
“Rowing is the ultimate team sport because without all your teammates giving their all in a boat, you won’t achieve your very best,” Kidwell said. “It’s such a great sport, and it has honestly changed my life for the better in so many ways.”