Founders Day Regatta
In 1959, Katherine Conroy of Washington bestowed upon the school’s longtime crew coach Rod Beebe a gift of $5,000 to establish the Founder’s Day Regatta, and a large sterling silver trophy, originally called the Founder’s Cup.
In the inaugural race, 60 boys from The Gunnery, Choate and Haverford raced over a three-quarter-mile course on the New Preston side of Lake Waramaug, and The Gunnery won the cup.
With the advent of coeducation at The Gunnery in 1978, girls teams participated in the regatta for the first time, rowing a 1,000-meter course. That same year, the race course was moved from the New Preston side of the lake to Lake Waramaug State Park, and the regatta expanded to include teams from eight schools.
By its 50th anniversary year, Founder’s Day had become the largest one-day youth fours regatta in New England, drawing more than 1,400 rowers who competed on behalf of some two dozen high school and boat club teams from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio and Rhode Island.
In 2019, the school celebrated the 60th anniversary of Founder’s Day, the second longest-running high school regatta in New England after the New England championships on Lake Quinsigamond.
Spectators pitch colorful school tents along the shore and cheer on their teams for a day of racing in coxed four shells.
“Six decades after it began, Founder’s Day continues to be an outstanding day of competition and sportsmanship, as well as a celebration of our student athletes and the sport of rowing.”
Lincoln Turner, Boys Head Rowing Coach