Rowing for Veterans Ends after 21 Hours

May 16, 2013

Matthew Casey (L) and his dad, Tom Casey (R), on Wednesday evening well into the rowing challenge.
Credit Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

The sun was up, the coffee shop next door was doing a brisk business, and a steady stream of cars and trucks were rumbling south on Tampa Street in downtown Tampa when Tom Casey ended his children's rowing marathon.

The sister and brother team, Shannon and Matthew Casey, began their attempt Wednesday at 11 a.m. to row more than 26 consecutive hours. Their attempt at the record for ages 20-29 was also a fundraiser for Quantum Leap Farm which offers equine therapy to wounded veterans and military families.

But the duo's father called the attempt off at 8 this morning - 21 hours after the start. He told WUSF 89.7 News that his children would have kept going, but he was concerned about their health.

"They were exhausted," Tom Casey said. Dad is no stranger to athletic challenges. For 12 years, he swam in a relay across Long Island Sound. So, he understands the perils of pushing too hard.

The rowing effort was packed up and gone from the sidewalk outside The Element on Tampa Street by 9 a.m.