Fox Chapel duo victorious at regatta event
After winning six years ago, a Fox Chapel woman took first place with another of her children in the mother/son sculling event at the Independence Day Regatta in Philadelphia this month.
Maggie and Tom Charley finished the 1,000-meter sprint in 3 minutes, 38.22 seconds, seven seconds ahead of the runner-up, competing for the Steel City Rowing Club in Verona.
Maggie and Ben Charley won in 2009 and were second in 2011.
Maggie Charley — an Oakland dentist whose professional name is Margaret Horning — suggested to Tom they enter this year.
“I talked to him about going if it wouldn’t interfere with his other events,” said the elder Charley, 61, who took up rowing in 2007 to stay in shape.
Tom Charley, 26, a former member of the Trinity College men’s rowing team in Hartford, Conn., said he liked competing with his mother.
“It’s an activity we’ve both enjoyed for years, but we don’t usually get to do it together,” said Charley, who lives in Fox Chapel and works as a mechanical engineer for a Coraopolis company. “It’s fun to joke around, have fun on the water and try to move the boat together.”
Charley said he felt little pressure in following his brother.
“I knew (my mother and I would) have a good race either way,” Tom Charley said.
Steel City Rowing program director Ben Fields admires Maggie and Tom Charley’s devotion.
“When you get two athletes as dedicated as they are, that’s awesome and great things happen,” Fields said.
Regatta spokesman Clete Graham said the tandem was one of four entries in the mother/son race.
“We’ve had the event for more than 15 years,” Graham said. “(It) was originally parent/child, but (it) was so popular, it quickly became four events: mother/daughter, mother/son, father/daughter and father/son.”
Mike and Salli Bowman of Hampton were among 10 to 12 duos in the father/daughter event.
“It was humbling, but fun,” said Mike Bowman, who competed with his daughter for the first time.
Maggie and Tom Charley were among 10 Steel City Rowing Club members in eight events to reach the finals.
Tom Charley was second in men’s intermediate 4x, fourth in men’s intermediate 2x and sixth in men’s intermediate 1x.
Salli Bowman took second in women’s junior 1x.
Christen Mazur, Ilya Deynega, Ben Akers, Corinne Hall, Ben Stevenson, Dylan Lukas and Natalie Sebastian also competed.
The regatta contained 1,100 entries from 98 clubs.
“I got to see the kind of competition I will be facing at (the USRowing Club National Championships),” said Salli Bowman, 18.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.