As reported by US Rowing, September 25, 2013
Not a Classic Without Her – Martha Shumaker the 2013 John J. Carlin Award Winner
September 25, 2013
No San Diego Crew Classic in the last forty years has gone on without the work of Martha Shumaker.
And the 2014 event won’t either. While Shumaker retired from her position as executive director of the regatta this year, she is staying on to assist through the first spring.
Shumaker has shown that kind of devotion to the regatta and to the sport of rowing for most of her life. She has been working behind the scenes since the inaugural Crew Classic in 1973, first as a 25-year-old public relations consultant, and since 2004 as its executive director. In her time with the event, she has helped it grow and expend the regatta from a three-hour event with 12 races to a two-day event with close to 100 races that draws 4,000 collegiate, junior and master athletes from across the country.
In recognition of her commitment to rowing and the Crew Classic, Shumaker has been awarded the 2013 USRowing John J. Carlin Service Award, which is given annually to honor an individual who has made significant and outstanding commitments in support of rowing.
“I hardly know what to say about being in the company of all the other recipients,” Shumaker said. “I’ve loved the sport for 50 years and been involved with the Crew Classic over 40 years, always in the background, which didn’t change when I became executive director in 2004. I’m honored to be recognized for being here to support, enable and develop the volunteer component as they stage the annual regatta.”
Shumaker’s involvement in the Crew Classic began in 1973 when she was hired to help publicize the inaugural event and managed to get Sports Illustrated to come. From that year on, Shumaker has brought attention to the Classic and guided it through good and bad years, helping it change and grow so that it attracted collegiate crews through junior and master rowers.
Last year, after the 40th anniversary, Shumaker said she was stepping down. She said a replacement has been found, but that regatta directors have not yet announced who the new executive director is.
Shumaker said she is planning on working with her replacement through the 2014 Crew Classic and then will be devoting more time to family. While Shumaker has been a driving force of change and growth through the years, the regatta takes a small army of volunteers, contributors and sponsors to run.
The Carlin Award, she said, is really the result of the efforts of all who are involved.
“This award belongs to all those whose hearts and energy are committed to once again presenting an exceptionally well-run rowing regatta which competitors, spectators and especially volunteers, will reluctantly leave on Sunday afternoon, until next time.
“I do appreciate the recognition of success directing such a project to the extent that I do. It is a complex event with many constituencies and diverse elements. Going to work every day on behalf of the regatta, the sport and its people has made me happy and fulfilled. The award is lovely recognition. Those of us in the background aren’t accustomed to spotlights of any sort,” she said.
The award is named after John J. Carlin, a Philadelphia oarsman and coach who dedicated over 50 years to the development of the sport. During his lifetime, Carlin served on the United States Olympic and Pan American Committee, was a FISA representative, Commodore of the Schuylkill Navy and coached at the University of Pennsylvania. He was also heavily involved in Philadelphia junior and high school rowing.
The Carlin Award is one of thirteen annual USRowing awards, which will be presented November 20 at the Golden Oars Awards Dinner in New York City and December 6 at the USRowing Annual Convention in Seattle, Wash.
USRowing is a nonprofit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee as the governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States. USRowing has 60,000 individual members and 1,200 member organizations – offering rowing programs for all. USRowing’s official suppliers include Concept 2, Croker Oars, Filippi, JanSport, Nielsen Kellerman, Vespoli and WinTech. USRowing also receives generous support from the National Rowing Foundation and its corporate sponsors and partners ANXeBusiness Corp, Boathouse Sports, Citi Women, Connect-A-Dock, EMCVenues, Ludus Tours and Rudy Project. The USRowing National Team program relies on strong partnerships to enable continued success. New opportunities exist to support the teams through the next quadrennial, culminating with the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. America Rows, which supports diversity in rowing, and the USRowing adaptive programs also benefit from corporate support. For more information, visit www.usrowing.org.