By Donna Oves
Now that the racing is over, local athlete, Matt Catanoso, had a moment to share his thoughts on his crew’s historic win at Henley’s Royal Regatta yesterday.
Matt had the honor of coxswaining for the United States Armed Forces crew. His team was comprised for the first time ever of both men and women athletes from the United States Naval Academy in honor of Navy Crew’s 150th Anniversary.
This elite crew raced seven other countries over multiple days, winning each of their heats by a large margin. At the final race yesterday, the US crew beat Germany by 3/4 of a boat length to win the regatta and the world famous Kings Cup.
Matt shared his experience. “Competing at the Kings Cup has been an absolute honor. The event is a commemoration of peace which both celebrates our longstanding relationships with our allies and reflects upon those who have paid the ultimate price so that we can live in a world of peace. To be able to represent the armed forces as a whole has been incredible. To be able to represent the United States in international competition has been unreal.
As for representing the entire armed forces, we came into this event knowing that we were not just competing on behalf of the Naval Academy, we were not just competing on behalf of the Navy, but rather, we were competing for all of our brothers and sisters in arms. We took to the racecourse on behalf of all of those currently standing the watch, all of those currently deployed and away from their families, and all of those who have served in one form or another. We also ensured that we remember the legacy of the United States Armed Forces and the various sacrifices its service members have made over various conflicts in order to protect our way of life.”
Matt Catanoso is a former OC Crew Team Coxswain, graduating just last year from Ocean City High School. As a first-year Naval Academy student/athlete, he was selected to coxswain the Academy’s Men’s First Varsity-8 Crew. From there he had the honor of being selected to coxswain the United States Armed Forces Crew at Henley’s Royal Regatta. That’s a lot of accomplishments in just one year!
Matt’s former Ocean City High School Crew Coach, Michael Millar, spoke with Matt while he was in England for the Royal Regatta. “I talked to Matt during the week, after each race leading up to the final. He told me that it was a big honor racing for the United States Armed Forces. I told him that he was also representing the OCHS Crew Team as well as and that we are all behind him here at home. Matt told me that he even brought some Ocean City Crew gear with him to Henley for good luck!”
Coach Millar was excited to watch the final against The Germany Armed Forces. “I was in the Poconos dropping my son Liam off at Boy Scout Camp for the week and I thought that I would watch the race when I got back home to Ocean City. All of a sudden my phone was lighting up with calls from coaches and former rowers saying that Matt Cat won the King’s Cup at Henley! The first call I got was from Zar LaRosa, an Ocean City Crew Team alumni and fellow Coxwain, who currently is serving in the US Navy.”
After the race, Matt explained his winning strategy to Coach Millar. “The US crew went though a wake half way down the course and Matt knew that the German crew would be going though the same wake shortly after. He called for a “Power 10” and just then they pushed ahead to victory.”
Ocean City High School Crew is so very proud of our MattCat and all of our former athletes currently serving the United States. Jack Branin is at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Forest Wan is at the US Naval Academy. Lindsey Wan is at the US Naval Academy. Garett Longstaff is at the US Air Force Academy. Eric Love is in ROTC at Princeton University. Ben Wiley is at ROTC at Rowan University. Randy Young is in the Air Nationals Guard. And Zar LaRosa is in the US Navy.
Interested in rowing? Ocean City Crew Camp is offering four sessions this summer from July 15th through August 12th. Interested campers ages 12-14, can access the application forms now and other camp information on our website at, www.ochscrew.com.