Crew & Rowing, Sports

Head of the Class

The Head of the Charles Regatta, hosted annually by Boston University, is the largest two-day rowing event in the world. It attracts more than 7,500 racers from across the globe and 300,000 spectators over the course of the weekend.
For the BU men’s and women’s crew teams, last weekend’s Head of the Charles marked the beginning of the rowing season.’
‘It’s the biggest [race],’ Andrew Fisher, a junior on the BU men’s team who has raced the event since he was a freshman in high school, said. ‘It kind of takes over the city.”
Coaches from the two teams approached the race in slightly different ways. Women’s coach Stacey Rippetoe wanted her team to treat the race as if it were just another day on the water.’
‘We’ve had a few technical focuses and we’re looking to make sure that we hold those together in these conditions under the pressure of competition,’ Rippetoe said. ‘Even though the event is special, our performance shouldn’t be anything different.’
For men’s coach Thomas Bohrer, the start of the season is used to experiment with different lineups and plan for the year ahead.’
‘I want to use this as a building stone for the program,’ Bohrer said. ‘I’m telling the guys not to judge this one race as how we’re going to do for the rest of the season.’
The women fielded three boats Sunday, two in the Championship Eights and one in the Championship Fours. The eights finished 13th and 21st of 38, the four a disappointing 18th out of 20.’
‘The eights, I think, met their potential. They raced well,’ Rippetoe said. ‘The four underperformed quite a bit. The good news is once they take responsibility for their performance, they’re going to be able to do better.’
Saturday featured a sixth-place showing from BU’s Freshmen Club Fours Men in a 43-boat field, and two Club Eights finished 19th and 48th out of 69. Bohrer dominated a field of 51 in the 40-plus Senior-Master Singles race, finishing almost 20 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor.’
‘It was good,’ Bohrer said. ‘[The team] was all on the docks screaming, a couple of guys followed the race on their bikes.” ‘ ‘
In Sunday’s Championship Fours Men, Fisher’s crew finished 13th, while a second boat placed 14th out of a field of 21. The Men’s Championship Eight finished 13th of 37, besting boats from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.’
‘The guys were a little disappointed because they felt like they were going to do a little bit better,’ Bohrer said. ‘We didn’t try to make the fastest lineups. We put boats that were kind of flowing well together, and I think things will kind of change in the fall.’
Pete Stetson, a BU student set to graduate this December, and recent graduate Eddie Walton spent a chilly Sunday afternoon shirtless on one of the bridges overlooking the race.’
They painted ‘B’ and ‘U’ across their chests and colored their faces scarlet and white. Both raced the Head of the Charles earlier in their college careers and came out to support their friends on the team.’
‘It’s long and tough,’ Stetson said of the race. He went on to call it extremely competitive.’ ‘ ‘
Part of what makes the Head of the Charles such an exciting event for racers and spectators alike is the level of international competition unseen in other regattas. The French National Team placed third in the Men’s Championship Eights competition and two Canadian schools ‘-‘- Queen’s University and Upper Canada College ‘-‘- also competed.’
Tim Sheridan, 49, came to Boston with the Mosman Rowing Club, one of the oldest rowing organizations in Sydney, Australia. This was his first Head of the Charles, and he said the depth of competition and sheer size of the regatta made for ‘a fabulous international event.’
Sheridan raced in the 50-plus Men’s Senior-Master Eights competition, finishing third out of 41 entrants.’ ‘
‘Side-by-side, three eights,’ he said of one hair-raising point of the race in which three crews were beside each other coming into a bend. ‘That’s racing, that’s excitement. It’s speed, tactics ‘-‘- it’s’ turning.’

One Comment

  1. Well maybe if rowing was even in the top three for crew teams on the charles……<p/>I mean how hard can it be to compete if Northeastern is the best east of the Mississippi