One major requirement of Benson's regatta is that rowers must attend the party afterward. Navy's oarsmen are glad to oblige. "We had three objectives," says Pero. "One, to have fun; two, to finish the race; and three, to win. So, two out of three ain't bad."
Krohne compares the adrenaline rush he felt during the race with the charge he used to get landing fighter jets on aircraft carriers. And although Thrasher is disappointed by finishing last, he is convinced that they have a future.
"It's going to happen again," he says. "We're talking about getting a boat together for this year's Masters Nationals in Austin, Texas in September."
Omohundro, some 55 pounds heavier than in his Annapolis days, even speaks of a diet regimen. "We found out as much about our future as we did about our past," he says. "In the fall of 1959, we were all the same. No hair, white shoes, scared to death. Now, even though everyone is doing their own thing, we've been brought together again by this sport."
Before returning home, the members of the 1959-60 plebe crew squeeze together against a side boat bay for one last photograph, each man wearing a bright yellow Navy racing jersey and a blue baseball cap. Wide-eyed as a plebe, Krohne turns so he's facing his crewmen, cheeks flushed, and says, "Can you imagine the handicap we'll have at age 60?"