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Athlete Spotlight: BAYADA Adaptive Regatta

The BAYADA Regatta, now in its 35th year, is the nation’s oldest and largest all-adaptive rowing competition for athletes with disabilities. Sponsored by BAYADA Home Health Care, this year's event took place on August 13, 2016 at the St. Joseph’s University Boathouse on the banks of the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, PA. Resolute and Resolute Adaptive were there to support the crews and get the athletes' take on the new Adaptive Seat we offer. In the process, we had an opportunity to learn more about what motivates and inspires these tremendously driven rowers, including some one-on-one time with the following five athletes. For more information about the race, visit here or check out the 2016 Results

Hallie Smith

Club: Medstar National Rehabilitation Hospital, Washington, DC

Coach: Patrick Johnson

Hallie Smith has a bright smile, likes team sports and competition, but loves racing in her single. She recently earned a first place finish at the Bayada Competition on August 13, 2016 using the Resolute Adaptive Seat in her shell called “Crew’s Missile” (shown here in our gallery. Left, Hallie is featured alongside teammate Chanelle Houston (silver medalist) and Patrick Johnson, US Navy Retired). Her greatest rowing moment was when she hit the ‘para elite’ standard on the erg, a 1,000 meter time of 5:20 for A/ S female rowers with her close friend there to cheer her on and see her achievement. Two years ago, Hallie was involved in a serious car accident that left her with some challenges. Initially using the Resolute seat on the erg, and now rowing on the water and winning medals, she says she is, “So excited rowing has helped me regain confidence that has been difficult since my injury.”

Louis Amaro

Club: Miami Beach Rowing Club, Miami, FL

Coach: Stephanie Parrish

Louis Amaro is shown here with his wife Mayra and his Gold Medal in the Men’s A/S 1X race at the Bayada Regatta on August 13, 2016. He likes the inclusion of the rowing community, and has a goal of competing in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. His best memory is racing with his 12-year-old son in a Masters Regatta where he was the only adaptive rower in the race. He had tested and loved the Resolute Adaptive seat at Sarasota Rowing Camp and now has one at Miami Beach Rowing Club.




Helman Roman

Club: Miami Beach Rowing Club, Miami, FL

Coach: Stephanie Parrish

Helman Roman, a T/A rower for Miami, has an infectious smile and a lot of spirit. It was natural that we’d want to talk with him for an interview about his experience as a rowing athlete at the recent Bayatta Regatta. Helman was competing in hand cycling competitions when a friend suggested that he do some rowing for cross training. He likes the technique specificity that rowing requires and says, “To do well, one must row many hours in practice to be in shape for a 1000-meter race.” He attended an Olympic Camp in 2015 for Masters Adaptive T/A and, in 2016, qualified to go to Italy. His team got third in Italy behind Russia to qualify for Rio. When asked about his best rowing memory, his response, quite succinctly, was, “All of them. Each race is a different experience.”

Justin Boatner

Club: Athletes Without Limits

Coach: Patrick Johnson

Justin Boatner of Wakefield High School in Arlington, VA, has big dreams of rowing in the Olympics and attending flight school someday. He loves how rowing can be fun and competitive, yet quite calming. After signing up with Athletes Without Limits about 3 years ago, he has really taken to the sport and earned a number of accolades. He won his division at the Stotesbury Regatta in a double junior class, then in a single, and again in the 2016 Stotesbury Regatta rowing with a friend. He is now training a friend to help him win at Nationals.

Dammie Onafeko

Club: Capital Adaptive Rowing, Washington, DC

We’ve met Dammie a few times now, once at ECAC in April and recently at the Bayada Regatta in Pennsylvania on August 13, 2016. With his signature sense of style, Demmy tells us all about his love for rowing, citing specifically that he loves the level of finesse that comes along with it. As a pairs rower with blindness, he believes rowing is akin to flying – going fast is the ultimate in gracefulness. Demmy’s goal is to represent his country at the international level in the Olympics someday.