By Evelyn Radford
Oak Ridge resident Michael Schay is making a big splash in the rowing community.
Accompanied by his wife and training partner Nancy, Mike rows out of the Oak Ridge Rowing Association boathouse, competing under the name of “Atomic.”
The couple recently traveled to Worcester, Massachusetts, to compete in the 2016 USRowing Masters National Championships. Unlike the flat waters of Melton Hill Lake that Mike is accustomed to, Lake Quinsigamond, the body of water where the 1,000-meter head-to-head races were held, is known for its hazardous conditions and constant choppy water.
Yet if you know anything about Mike, you know that when he puts his mind to something, he intends to accomplish it. Mike ended up sweeping almost every single event, advancing through heats to win gold medals in the Men’s F1x, Men’s E4x, and Men’s F4x.
Taking first place in 1x event was made even sweeter by the fact that Mike, the “wild card” in the group, won by several boat lengths of open water.
But these victories didn’t come easily—at 60 years of age, Mike trains almost every day of the week, including early mornings and on weekends.
Not one to set his sights low, Mike now shifts his focus to fall racing, with plans to race in the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, Massachusetts—the largest regatta in the United States. While there, Mike will face some of his toughest competition yet, all while winding his way through the complex curves of the Charles River.
Mike’s volume of training will also increase in the months to come, since fall rowing means longer distance races.
So if you pass by the Oak Ridge marina anytime soon, you may want to stop in and wish Mike “good luck,” because chances are that on the river is exactly where you’ll find him.
Evelyn Radford is a coach and administrations manager at the Oak Ridge Rowing Association.
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