After dodging raindrops and navigating her lightweight eight through 1,500 meters on the Schuylkill in Saturday's 87th annual Stotesbury Cup Regatta, Holy Spirit's Kiersten Stone raised three fingers into the air.
Then the senior coxswain looked toward the cameras and told her teammates to do the same.
"Three-peat" they shouted as their parents cheered and cameras flashed.
It was the Spartans' third straight title, and it may have been the easiest. They finished in 5 minutes, 4.01 seconds, and Stone shouted "open water" repeatedly as the team chugged toward the finish.
The term, Stone said, meant that no other boats were close.
"That got them going," said Stone, the coxswain for all three titles. "There were boats nowhere near us. We were all alone."
As the coxswain, Stone sits in the ninth seat without an oar and talks into a headset to tell her teammates what to do. Her coach, Rory Roberts, said she's an experienced leader who shows emotion.
Stone was joined by Cailin McCully, Shannon La Sala, Katie Bainbridge, Tori Light, Caroline Bradley, Nicole Maslowas, Sofia Iaconelli, and Danielle Peck.
Roberts watched the race from the grandstand and was a little nervous toward the finish but said he always is. His nerves surely diminished as the boat cleared the finish, and Stone grabbed McCully's arms and shouted.
"I just said we won Stotesbury for the third time in a row," said Stone. "It was great."
Holy Spirit's senior eight finished fourth in 5:01.38 and was tops among local schools.
An easy win for Prep. Undefeated all season, the St. Joseph's Prep lightweight eight continued its success as it won the boys' race by almost a boat-length.
After the boat crossed the finish line at 4:28.28, Gabe Wells dipped his hand in the water and furiously splashed behind him, soaking coxswain Tom DeVoto's striped shirt.
"It was just a celebratory splash," Wells said. "It wasn't part of the plan."
Almost everything else has gone according to plan for the Prep as it rallied with a new assistant coach guiding a boat that returned just one rower from last season.
Wells said coach Paul Alter did a great job of molding the team and getting it ready for the final stretch of the season.
Wells was joined by Jimmy McCullough, Jakub Kwasniewski, Brant McGuigan, Ricky Lunney, Anthony Angelucci, Liam Madden, and Dan Motz.
Prep's varsity eight finished in third with a time of 4:17.01 and was tops among local schools. Malvern Prep captured the boys' senior quad, and Haverford School finished second in the lightweight four.
For complete race results, go to www.stotesburycupregatta.com.