Now in its 36th year, the BAYADA Regatta is the oldest and largest all-adaptive regatta in the U.S. It will take place on the banks of the Schuylkill River on Saturday, August 12 from 8 am to 5 pm at St. Joseph’s University Boathouse, 2200 Kelly Drive in Philadelphia.
Athletes from more than a dozen rowing clubs across the country—who are classified according to their physical or visual impairment—compete in events for novice, veteran, and youth rowers. The BAYADA Regatta is hosted by Philadelphia Adaptive Rowing (PAR), part of the Philadelphia Center for Adapted Sports. PAR provides recreational and competitive rowing opportunities for people with disabilities.
Lopes dreams of participating in the Olympics or Paralympics, and has a good chance of achieving his goal—thanks to the confidence that adaptive rowing has given him.
“With adaptive rowing, I feel like I can do anything I put my mind to,” Lopes said. “It motivates me to keep going. I know I can be the best.”
The BAYADA Regatta has changed the life of Bernadette Giddens of Secane, PA. Giddens has oculocutaneous albinism, a condition that has left her legally blind, but it hasn’t dampened her spirit or positive energy. After competing in the Regatta for 15 years, she began volunteering her time doing whatever it takes to make the Regatta a success.
“Adaptive rowing makes you a stronger person,” she said. “The BAYADA Regatta helps the athletes build self-esteem, and it enables us to be part of a team. I love it!”
Giddens will join a group of over 100 people who volunteer their time throughout the year, and on race day, to make the BAYADA Regatta a reality.
“It’s very rewarding to be able to give people with disabilities the same great experience on the water that able-bodied people enjoy,” said Michael Murphy of Ridley Park, PA, who has been a volunteer with PAR and the BAYADA Regatta since 2009. An avid rower, one of Michael’s most memorable experiences helping at the regatta was when he was a guide for a visually impaired rower. The guides and rower were each in their own boat. The guides rowed in front and gave steering instructions to the rower behind via radio headsets.
“I love rowing, and Philadelphia is a great place to do it,” he said. “I’m just happy to help other people enjoy the experience as much as I do.”
The BAYADA Regatta, sponsored solely by BAYADA Home Health Care, is free and open to the public. Medals will be awarded to the athletes throughout the day. Music, crafts, and refreshments will be provided.
For more information, visit https://www.bayada.com/regatta/