Ken Geromini ’68, MS ’72 was a part of AIC crew when it was in its heyday. At its peak from the 1950s until the early 1970s, the Yellow Jackets ruled the Connecticut River as part of a burgeoning rowing community, along with other local colleges and all of Springfield’s high schools.
So when he was challenged to a race in 2017 by Springfield College alum Robert Englebrecht—a fellow member of Springfield’s Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club (PVRC)—Geromini couldn’t turn down the opportunity.
The two agreed to square off on the river in September 2017 as part of the PVRC’s Rockrimmon Regatta and Geromini set off to recruit former rowers to man his boat. With the help of AIC’s Alumni Relations Office, he found former teammates Doug Mattson ’70 and Paul Carabillo ’70. In need of one more member to fill their four-man vessel, Geromini reached out to Al Collings ’64, who, as it turns out, “lives on a lake and he has his own shell, so he still rows,” says Geromini.
With a team assembled, Geromini said the group managed to get three practice sessions in during August 2017, and then the race was on. Tasked with rowing from the Memorial Bridge to the North End Bridge—“a 1,000-meter dash,” as Geromini calls it—the AIC team enjoyed sweet success in the form of a 200-meter victory in front of a sizable contingent of fans.
He added that AIC hopes to put an alumni team in the water again in 2018. Regardless of whether Springfield College participates in a rematch, he said four Yellow Jackets will participate in the Rockrimmon Regatta. Unlike the short sprint the two college alumni teams participated in this year, the Rockrimmon Regatta is a head race in which all teams are timed as they complete a 5,000-meter course between the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to the North End Bridge.
“What’s going to be difficult is getting more practices in, because we are going to need it,” Geromini chuckles.