The Occoquan Chase is usually a fun little tune up before our big Head of the Charles weekend, but spirits were definitely dampened by the news that Julia Shew, member of Occoquan Boat Club, had gone missing on Saturday afternoon. The course was changed a bit on Sunday so as not to disrupt the search that continued throughout the day for the fit 64 year old experienced rower.
Shew started rowing as an undergraduate at University of California at Berkeley. As a founding member of Cal Women's crew, she raced in the first women's national regatta sponsored by the National Women's Rowing Association held at Green Lake, Washington, in 1966.
In 2007, after having been away for the sport for 40 years, Shew was encouraged to scull again by her instructor at Goldâ€™s Gym in Lorton, also a member of the Occoquan Boat Club. She attended a sculling camp on the Occoquan Reservoir in 2008, and was well on her way to completing a goal of rowing 3,000 miles by her birthday this month. She planned on racing at the Chase on Sunday.
Winds were high on the day Julia Shew disappeared. There is still no word on her whereabouts. Our thoughts and prayers are with her, her husband Karl, and her family and friends.