Yale’s crew program drove up to Boston to participate in the 50th Head of The Charles Regatta this weekend, competing in front of hundreds of thousands of fans.
This year marks the 50th edition of the Head of the Charles Regatta, considered the world’s biggest two-day rowing event. According to the Regatta’s official website, more than 9,000 athletes competed in 61 different race events. Yale had nine entries in total, with all teams performing well within their expectations for the race.
Yale’s heavyweight crew had two entries in the Men’s Championship Eight event. Its “A” boat completed the nearly three-mile course with a time of 14:42.99, awarding it 10th place overall. The “B” boat arrived in 23rd place, with a time of 15:26.75.
Head coach Stephen Gladstone said various national teams participated in this particular event in addition to collegiate programs. Within the top 10 teams, only six were collegiate. Of those six, four were within four seconds of one another. According to Gladstone, four seconds over the entire course is negligible.
“We demonstrated that we’re very much in the thick of the very top echelon in collegiate rowing,” Gladstone said.
Gladstone added that he would have liked to see a better result from the “B” boat but that the selection process is still in its infant stages. It has not been defined who will be in the B boat this spring.
The Yale lightweight crew team participated in four different events. Eric Esposito ’17 was the first to race in the men’s club single. He finished fourth out of 35 participants with a time of 19:58.05
In the Men’s Championship Lightweight Eight event, Yale came in seventh out of 17 total participants.
Additionally, the Bulldogs had two entries in the Men’s Championship Lightweight Fours. The “A” boat started off well but collided with Penn’s boat at under a mile into the course. The Yale crew was given a one minute, 15 second penalty and was thrown off its rhythm. Yale came in at 18:41.75, placing 19th out of 22.
Yale’s lightweight “B” boat fared better. After a not so great start, the crew found its rhythm, said Pavle Krivokapic ’18, part of the “B” boat crew. In the end, the Bulldogs finished in sixth place, only two seconds behind Columbia and New York Athletic Club. The “B” boat’s total time was 17:16.89, placing it ahead of Yale’s “A” boat.
Krivokapic was satisfied with the race, as his particular crew is a very young squad, composed of all freshmen. He also spoke of the tough weather conditions throughout Sunday’s event.
“It was extremely cold all day long and pretty windy. These weather conditions, especially a strong head wind that blew during most of the course, had a great impact on every team,” Krivokapic said.
This made an already difficult race increasingly challenging. Still, Nina Demmerle ’15, the women’s captain, believes that all boats managed the conditions very well.
Teams had an increased incentive to perform well. The Head of the Charles Regatta has been known to attract over 400,000 spectators, and, as this was its 50th edition, the race held an additional aura of charm.
“It was a huge privilege to be a part of it. The crowd of fans was enormous, and everyone was frantically cheering from the bridges and shores,” Krivokapic said.
The head coach of the women’s crew team, Will Porter, stated that fall races have very little bearing on spring speed. Gladstone agreed.
“Our objectives throughout the fall are to increase our efficiency and endurance capabilities. We stage our work to peak in the spring time and not right now,” Gladstone said.
Therefore, teams will continue to focus on conditioning and fundamental form at practices throughout Fall Break in preparation for their next race.
The upcoming Princeton Chase on Oct. 26 will signal the end of the Crew’s fall season.