Blind rowers navigate Cuyahoga River all the way to Boston

Western Reserve rowing team includes two blind rowers

Blind rowers navigate Cuyahoga River all the way to Boston
The 23rd Head of the Cuyahoga Regatta was a stepping stone for a four-man Western Reserve team that was fielded by two blind and two sighted rowers. (Michael Dakota)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -Two Cleveland rowers are on their way to Boston.

Blind Rowers

The 23rd Head of the Cuyahoga Regatta was just a starting point for the Western Reserve Rowing Team that paddles with two blind rowers. The 2018 event was the inaugural race for the four man team.

The 23rd Head of the Cuyahoga Regatta was a stepping stone for a four-man Western Reserve team that was fielded by two blind and two sighted rowers.
The 23rd Head of the Cuyahoga Regatta was a stepping stone for a four-man Western Reserve team that was fielded by two blind and two sighted rowers. (Michael K. Dakota)

“It’s an attempt to be more inclusive,” Western Reserve Rowing Club’s Kirk Lang said. “We want to bring more people into the sport of rowing.”

Andrea Marley and Caleb Mckinsey are both blind, both have rowed before and both are thrilled to be part of a the “inclusion team” that will travel to Boston to participate in the Head of the Charles Regatta, the largest two-day Regatta in the world.

“It’s great exercise, a full body workout and a great experience, you get to work with other people," Marley said before the start of her 5,000-meter race.

The duo are part of the VIPER team (Visually Impaired People Enjoying Rowing) that regularly practices at Western Reserve Rowing Club.

More than 2.200 athletes and 540 boats from 12 states and two countries participated in the Head of the Cuyahoga Regatta Saturday, Sept. 15.

Mckinsey doesn’t feel his handicap has to hold him back from participating in the sport.

“For me it’s listening, hearing us move together, feeling us move together, kind of a tactical feeling,” Mckinsey said.

The two blind rowers will represent Cleveland in the Head of the Charles Regatta, held in Boston, Mass., October 20.

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