We would like to thank you for your participation in the 7th annual Haxton Regatta. We are excited to host this regatta and look forward to seeing all of the rowers, coaches, sponsors and volunteers at Griggs Reservoir on October 29th. This has grown into an event of great pride for Upper Arlington and our community. We look to continue the excellent experience for all in attendance.
As many of you know, Chris Swartz, long time coach at Upper Arlington and founder of the Haxton Invitational Regatta, has taken an opportunity away from UA and will not be with us this year. We acknowledge that he has left us with big shoes to fill. His vision and effort to create an event to honor Blake Haxton has been incredible and his presence will be missed. Fortunately, the direction and momentum of this regatta is clear, and we feel very confident that we will make Coach Swartz proud.
Coach Rice and I have both known Blake since his time began with the UA Crew team. He is truly an exceptional individual which has been proven time and time again. In his senior year, around spring break, Blake was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis. This is a rapidly progressing disease which, for Blake, resulted in the loss of of his legs. I clearly remember the uncertainty in days and weeks that surrounded his diagnosis. Of all the things that many of us find so remarkable about this young man, his fight and will to live through this disease have to be the most prominent.
Blake has continued to impress us on and away from the water. During his recovery, when many would insist they weren’t ready, Blake returned his focus to his education and enrolled at The Ohio State University. He has recently graduated from OSU’s Law School. Several years ago, Blake also decided he would return to the river. First as a coach for Upper Arlington, and then as an athlete. Blake just competed in the Para Olympics in Rio and finished fourth with a personal best time, narrowly missing out on a bronze medal. The only thing we know for sure, is that Blake is not done being a leader and source of inspiration for our organization and it is an honor and privilege to assume the reigns of the event that bears his name.
Mike Rice and I are firmly committed to the Haxton Regatta along with the planning committee which is comprised of parent volunteers and long-time community members dedicated to the success of the regatta. We will ensure that the regatta continues on with the vision and care that has proceeded our leadership of the event. We will strive to make it the best event you attend this fall and that it does proper justice to the reputation of its namesake. We look forward to seeing you on October 29th.
Andy Wimmer & Mike Rice
2016 Haxton Invitational