IUPUI's Scaleywags Take Over The Canal

Photo by Rachael Chatham

Photo by Rachael Chatham

This Saturday started with an eerie fog misting over the city of Indianapolis, but by midday, the sun was shining and it was perfect sailing weather. Six pirates would come face to face with their competition in IUPUI’s 8th annual Regatta, while thousands of families and students stood by to watch it all.

The IUPUI Regatta is a standing tradition that allows students, faculty, alumni, and other members of the community to come together and support local businesses, IUPUI, and some scholarships. Teams from all backgrounds gather and compete in the competition hosted on the Downtown Canal.

The Dental Hygiene department of Indiana University School of Dentistry put together a team comprised of four students and two faculty members that competed in the Regatta. This was the second team in the department’s history to participate since the competition first started.

Shelby Fenter, Caitlin Lang, and their professor, Dr. Norman L. Stump,  explained how the idea originally came up.

“Caitlin and I were talking with Dr. Stump about the regatta and how we were considering do it and that he should be our captain,” Fenter said. “He said he wanted to do that and then didn’t say anything else about it, until the next morning.”

The next day, Fenter and Lang got an unexpected email from Dr. Stump with a surprise.

Photo by Keeley Miller

Photo by Keeley Miller

“He sent us all the registration info and said he had everything ready for us to sign up,” Fenter said.

Shortly after, Edith Alanis-Guijosa, Korin Rogers, and Dr. Lisa Maxwell joined the group, filling the last three spots of the six member team.

Fenter and Rogers were the only members of the team who had ever competed, with Dr. Maxwell and Alanis-Guijosa the only other members who had even been to the Regatta before this year. All the members of the team were excited to be a part of such a big event.

“The Regatta means a lot to the community and to me personally,” Alanis-Guijosa said. “ I actually am one of the recipients of the annual Regatta Scholarship!”

Alanis-Guijosa was awarded the Stephan S. Davis IUPUI Regatta Scholarship. In 2015, there were nine other recipients of the$1000 scholarship, which was funded through a portion of the revenue from the massive event. For more information on the scholarship and the event, go to the following link. Regatta Celebration Returns.

With the team members decided, their first thought was not on strategy or planning practices… it was about their theme. They immediately came up with pirates. Fenter was sitting in lecture later that week and had her brilliant idea of the team name. They were going to be “The Scaleywags,” a play on scallywags and the term scaling, a skill that the students practice in clinic.

Their student captain was Caitlin Lang, so her nickname was Captain Langky. Shelby was called Fulcrum Fenter, Korin was the Jolly Rogers, and Edith was the Lost Alanis. The professors were Captains Maxwell and Stump.

Saturday morning, the team suited up and got into character. They were now the pirates of IUSD, The Scaleywags. Each member had eye patches, skull-scarves, and some even sported painted beards.

The unanimous favorite costume piece was the black tooth paint Lang had brought, giving the appearance that the girls were missing a front tooth.

“We were under the impression that everyone was supposed to dress up if they were rowing in the regatta,” Fenter said. “It turns out that we were one of the only teams that dressed up and went all out. People had to take a second look after seeing two women with full on beards!”

The Scaleywags were scheduled to compete in the 12th heat with nine other teams; their check in time was to be at 1:00 p.m., but all members had to be present for this to happen.

They were short one member.

Dr. Stump had to park the car but was running late.

If Dr. Stump did not get there in time, the other pirates would have to go on without one of their captains. Moments before the team would be forced to check in with or without all their members, Dr. Stump came running down the hill through the crowds, making it just in time.

40 minutes prior to the Scaleywags having to report to their station,  they mentally prepared and planned their strategy.

Fenter and Alanis-Guijosa were to row first, Alanis-Guijosa in  front and Fenter taking the rear. They would row the first quarter mile, then at the half point, Lang and Rogers would switch into the boat and row the remaining quarter mile of the course.

Several of their other professors had decided to come out and support their students, as well as the families of several of the members. The group went down to the sidelines while the girls went to their starting stations. Alanis-Guijosa and Fenter started strong, battling the other boats at the starting line, but strategy did not prevail against the current and waves of the canal.

The Scaleywags pushed on, keeping their eyes and eye patches on the end of the course.

When the time came to switch rowers, the team had already fallen into last place; however, the pirates never once quit smiling or rowing-other than pushing off the wall after a collision.

“We were a little embarrassed at first, but then everyone’s reactions were priceless!” Rogers said. “The people would crack up and yell for us when we rowed by. It was great.”

Despite their loss, The Scaleywags never failed to raise the crowd’s spirits.

Their support group ran alongside the course the whole time, yelling and cheering. The other spectator’s smiled at the bearded boaters as they passed, children shrieking with laughter. Students who did not know any of the members began to cheer for them. Strangers and friends alike, coming from both sides and all along the canal, began to come together and cheer for the ruffian rowers making their way,  all due to the pirates and their high-seas spirits.  The pirates of the Scaleywag team had taken over the canal.