At 6:30 am, there was already too much traffic upstream and Potomac Boat Club’s Men’s Sweep Team wanted to get in a decent technical row before leaving for Masters National Rowing Championships this week.Â So, Marco Bovo, coach of the team, decided to do something different and started practice downstream instead.
Marco followed the PBC men’s eight and four as they warmed up close to the Virginia shoreline and rounded Theodore Roosevelt Island. About 150 meters from Theodore Roosevelt Bridge, Marco stopped the crews so they could hydrate before doing a few race starts.
Marta Ulbricht, cox of the four, and Tiffany Dao, cox of the eight, pointed their boats throughÂ an arch and awaited direction.Â But when Marco signaled for the crews to start up again, Marta seemed uncharacteristically distracted.Â Marco rushed over to see what was wrong.Â As he approached, he saw two men on the bridge yelling and pointing to theÂ water, so he rushed to the spot instead.Â Suddenly, it was clear … someone had jumped.
Once Marco got there, he saw a woman just beneath the surface and tried to pull her limp body out of theÂ water.Â Marta and Tiffany moved their boats closer to the spot, and Leo Hergenroeder, bow of the four, and Tim Baxter, bow of the eight, jumped in and swam over to help.
At the same time, the guys in the eight and four yelled up to the men on the bridge to call 911 and advise emergency personnel toÂ meet them at the Thompson Boat Center.Â Marco, Leo and Tim had managed to get the woman onto the launch, and Leo and Tim climbed aboard to keep her from rolling back into the river.
The eight and four headed to Thompson’s to meet Marco, Leo, and Tim on the dock and help get the woman out of the launch safely.Â Once on the dock, Leo stayed next to the woman and spoke to her to keep her awake until paramedics arrived.
Bob Price, PBC president, who rowed stroke seat ofÂ the eight this morning, said, “I can’t tell you how proud I am of everyone. Marta is young, still in high school, but she showed a tremendous amount of maturity and common sense by not starting her crew and in getting Marco’s attention.Â Marco went into instant rescue mode, and was trying to pull the woman out before we even knew what was going on.Â Leo and Tim didn’t hesitate to jump in to help Marco get the woman into the launch.Â And Leo’s actions on the dock probably made anotherÂ critical difference in saving her life.”
Well, a pretty impressive way to spend your morning, guys! Congratulations on a job well-done to our PBC heroes, Marco, Marta, Leo and Tim, and the rest of the Men’s Sweep Team, who acted swiftly and courageously to save a life.
To the woman in the water, we wish you strength in your recovery, and to your family, the best of all things in the future.
Finally, that life ring in our logo makes sense.