Founder's Day is held each year on Lake Waramaug in Connecticut. Established in 1959, the race is hosted by The Gunnery on its home course. Organizing and running the regatta has always been a team effort; coaches, rowers and over 100 volunteers help to make the day a success each year.
The 60th annual Founder's Day Regatta will take place on Sunday, May 5, 2019.
Information for Coaches
Invitations and registration information for the regatta are emailed out in March each year to all teams that participated in the previous regatta. If you would like to be placed on the waiting list or have any other questions, please feel free to contact Lincoln Turner, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founder's Day History
The regatta was originally funded in 1959 by Mrs. Katherine Conroy, who contributed $5,000 and a large sterling silver trophy, originally called the Founder's Cup to Coach, Rod Beebe, so that he could organize the regatta for the first time. Three schools, Gunnery, Choate and Haverford, entered the event. The first regatta took place on the New Preston side of the lake, over a three-quarter-mile course and was won by The Gunnery. The early years of the regatta were dominated by South Kent School and Buckingham Browne and Nichols. In fact, these runs of victories were not broken until 1976 when Salisbury fired down the course, beating all opposition to lift the Founder's Day trophy. In 1978, with the return of coeducation at The Gunnery, girls teams were introduced to the event with a race length of 1000 meters. That same year, the race was moved from the New Preston side of the lake to Lake Waramaug State Park in Kent. The Salisbury boys team completed a trio of wins, proving the distance change from a three-quarter-mile course to 1500m was no great adjustment. At this point there were eight different schools competing in the regatta. During the 1980's, the regatta grew in size as more schools were introduced to the event. Institutions like Groton, Pomfret, and St. Marks all met with success at the regatta, lifting the boys' points trophy in different years.
In the 1990's, Groton maintained their dominance in the boys' event by winning six out of nine possible regattas until CJRC won the trophy in 1998.
In 1996, Nobles was the first recipient of the Elizabeth "Lou" O'Brien Cup, awarded to the winning girls' team, returning to win the points trophy again the next year. Miss Porter's School won the trophy five times in the next six years, finally falling to a strong Choate team. Connecticut Boat Club was the standout team in the following years. In 2013, a group of Gunnery crew alumnae donated the Katherine L. Conroy Cup to be awarded to the winner of the of the girls first boat final. CJRC was the first recipient of the trophy.
In 2001, The Gunnery boys team won the points trophy again for the first time since the inception of the regatta. In 2007, Gunnery crew alumnus Peter Lorenz ’03 and his family established the George H. Lorenz Memorial Trophy to be awarded to the winner of the boys first boat final. Kent School, the first recipient of the trophy, went on to dominate the boys' racing for several years.
In 2018, The Gunnery proudly celebrated 70 years of boys rowing and 40 years of girls rowing. In 2019, the school will celebrate 60 years of Founder's Day, the second-longest running high school regatta in New England after the NEIRA Championship.
Founded in 1850 by abolitionist, educator, and outdoorsman Frederick Gunn, The Gunnery is a coeducational college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9 through 12/post-graduate. Dedicated teacher-mentor-coaches challenge students to reach their full potential in a home-like setting where character and citizenship are valued as much as intellect and achievement. Individualized attention and high expectations help young learners develop not only the skills and confidence they will need in college, but also the moral compass and love of learning that will serve them well in life. The school attracts ambitious, academically curious students who will both shine as unique individuals and thrive as contributing members of a deeply connected community. By the time they graduate, Gunnery students have become well rounded, grounded young adults with a sharpened sense of who they are and who they want to become.