This weekend, the men’s heavyweight and lightweight crew teams emerged satisfied with their performance at the Head of the Charles in Boston, the most important event of the fall season.
The heavyweight varsity eight placed 11th out of 32 boats in the Championship Eights event, but more importantly, they were sixth out of Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) crews after placing seventh in the 2013 IRA championships last spring.
“Although there were certainly parts of our race that could have been improved, we are pleased with our finish,” heavyweight captain Zach Johnson ’14 said in an email to the News. “The result reflects the excellent work that the guys put in over the summer and shows that we will be among the nation’s fastest crews come next spring.”
The lightweight Elis finished in third behind rivals Harvard and Princeton in the Lightweight Eights event. Though they placed second in the 2013 IRA championships last spring, lightweight captain Matthew O’Donoghue ’14 said that this weekend’s performance was strong.
Yale’s lightweight boat bolted off the starting line and reached the first split with the fastest time in the field. The Bulldogs’ start may have been too fast, however, as Harvard and Princeton finished the second split seven seconds faster than Yale. Both squads would go on to maintain their lead over the Elis for the remaining two splits.
“Every piece we do we learn a lot about the crew,” O’Donoghue said in an email to the News. “This experience will be good come spring season.”
Both the lightweight and heavyweight teams raced boats in fours events, also on Sunday. Yale’s two lightweight fours showed dominance with second and fifth place finishes. The heavyweight four finished the course in 17:28.418 for 13th place.
Lightweight rower Eric Esposito ’17 entered the Club Singles event with the Narragansett Boat Club, having qualified through the club last year before starting school at Yale. Esposito earned a fifth place finish with a time of 19:31.413 to represent his club and school well.
A heavyweight Eli boat also rowed in the Club Eights event on Saturday and raced to a 10th place finish in 15:15.146.
Held annually for the past 49 years, the Head of the Charles is the biggest two-day regatta in the world. It hosts over 9,000 athletes and 300,000 spectators, according to its website.
“The atmosphere at the Charles is always fun,” Johnson said. “It’s an enormous event, with thousands of competitors, so it more or less serves as a reunion for the entire rowing community.”
The heavyweight Bulldogs concluded their fall season with the Head of the Charles and now enter a five-month long offseason before they begin their spring season at the end of March.
The lightweights, meanwhile, are preparing for the Princeton Chase this Sunday, another event that will host every IRA team.
“Such a strong performance through the whole team is exciting,” O’Donoghue said. “We’ll go back to work in search of more boat speed this week and test ourselves again next Sunday.”
The lightweight varsity eight will start at 10:30 a.m. in Princeton, N.J.