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Two Atria Senior Living Residents, 101 And 87, Set New Records For Indoor Rowing

DARIEN, CT–In 10-plus decades of being alive, Sid Zacharais has borne many titles: husband, veteran, volunteer, business owner. Now add to that list, “world record-setting rower.”

At 101, Sid is finding ways to remain active, set goals and discover new experiences, alongside supporters and peers. He is among a group of residents from Atria Darien, a senior living community in Darien, Connecticut, who formed a rowing group earlier this year, proving you’re never too old to embrace new challenges.

The resident rowing team at Atria Senior Living’s Darien, Connecticut retirement community recently attempted a series of world records using Concept2’s indoor rowing machines. One resident set a new U.S. record, and another resident set a new world record.

The resident rowing team at Atria Senior Living’s Darien, Connecticut retirement community recently attempted a series of world records using Concept2’s indoor rowing machines. One resident set a new U.S. record, and another resident set a new world record.

The resident rowing team at Atria Senior Living’s Darien, Connecticut retirement community recently attempted a series of world records using Concept2’s indoor rowing machines. One resident set a new U.S. record, and another resident set a new world record.

“These older adults have taken a serious approach to living longer and better by challenging themselves physically, trying new things and maintaining a healthy, competitive spirit,” said Becky Gallucci, Senior Engage Life Director at Atria Darien. “We develop and provide daily programming that meets those goals.”

The rowing group, whose members range in age from 78 to 101, was organized in partnership with Trumbull, Connecticut-based nonprofit Veterans’ Rowing & Kayaking. Over the summer, they took to the water for the first time on Norwalk River, and then competed against another area senior living community during a virtual TeleRowing Regatta.

For their latest challenge, the group set their sights on a series of world record attempts monitored and documented by Concept2, a manufacturer of indoor rowing machines that are considered the standard for competition rowers. Eight seniors participated in the recent event, cheered on by friends, family members and students from nearby Darien High School, among others.

The group was coached by representatives from Veterans’ Rowing & Kayaking and John Pescatore, a former American Olympic rower who served as head coach of rowing at Yale University from 2002 to 2010. All of the senior rowers made fierce attempts, but two emerged with records in hand.

Sid Zacharais, 101, set a new world record of 8:24.8 in the men’s 1,000-meter event. Waldo Jones, 87, set a new U.S. record of 8:22.5 in the women’s 1,000-meter event.

“From the beginning, this group has been energetic and eager to push themselves, and each other,” said Paul Stephen Varszegi, President and Founder of Veterans’ Rowing & Kayaking. “I am proud to work with them and hope we can duplicate the success of this program at our locations across the country.”